-Speak Out: The Reoccurring Reality of Rape Cases-
A while ago, I wrote an article condemning RAPE. Some people took it with mediocrity. I tagged some individual and put up names in comment sections. People didn’t seem too affected and didn’t repost. I spoke up after I heard a horrible rape story. Then a week ago or so, a friend on Facebook cried out bitterly about his 13-year-old cousin being raped. More rape cases were recorded and reported. My heart broke to pieces.
People took notice and started to speak out. Articles started flying up and down. Conferences were held. Activists jumped in front of the worthy cause to fight against rape. Street protests began. The media jumped on it. I had a feeling of uncertainty, sadness in general and I will explain why.
We seem to keep quiet about issues that we are not affected by until we or a close family member or friend experiences it. And that is not what ACTIVISM should be about. For instance, I advocate for total eradication of Female Genital Mutilation but I was never circumcised. I still spoke out. Created awareness. Condemned it. Made my stance clear. Talked about the negative effects on victims.
I have personally met a few victims of FGM and my heart broke when I heard their stories. I had a hard time sleeping well at night after those stories. I imagined their plight. One was circumcised at 14. The pain was unbearable. Almost bled to death. I still have goosebumps when I remember the conversation we had.
Back to the issue of rape.
My first article was focused solely on women as victims but someone called my attention to young boys being sexually molested by older women. I have heard stories too and one time, a male acquaintance opened up to me. His first sexual experience was with his teacher in primary school but I was left in shock when he said he enjoyed the experience and continues to date older women. I told him to seek counselling and therapy.
A lot of us have condemned victim blaming when we are part of the problem. Our problem is hypocrisy. We turn a blind eye to these things. Just last month, 3 secondary school teachers were arrested in Epe for sexually molesting young girls and infecting them with STDs. It took a long time for one of them to speak up even after the symptoms of an STD manifested and was left untreated for months.
How many young people can speak to their parents or guardians or a confidant when they are molested? A few. And the reaction from some parents/ guardians are unbelievable and unforgivable. Your child comes to you with a complain of sexual molestation or assault and you beat her/ blame her. You question why she innocently went to the neighbours house to play. You let her abuser walk away free. You let him sleep well when he should be in jail?
I was ‘almost’ sexually abused as child. One time a family member tried touching me inappropriately. My mom noticed and gave him a stern warning with an arrest threat. He was banned from coming to our house or close to me ever again. It made me feel safe and it was easy to talk to her whenever someone tried to harrass me.
A good friend of mine was a target for abusers when she was growing up. She experienced early puberty. She was blamed for it. She says ” The idea that because I had grown boobs from age 10/11, every sexual overture made to me by a man, I asked for it. Like someone could easily walk up to me and say, “if you didn’t have boobs, you won’t have these problems” and I’d believe them completely”
A society that is supposed to protect her admonishes her for having boobs at an early age which she has no control over. And men have an excuse to molest these girls. Another friend of mine was raped at Age 8 by 4 of her older cousins. They were arrested but she never got over it. Nigerians don’t know what therapy is. She never got counselling and therapy. It still haunts her.
She finds it hard to enjoy sex with men. Always aggressive. She has these anxiety attacks in the midst of men. Can’t go to places filled with men alone. One time she asked me to accompany her to a date. Just one guy and she was scared of being in a public restaurant with him.
We should be concerned. I refuse to be quiet about this issue. Enough is Enough! I can’t imagine anyone abusing my loved ones, I would slit their throats.
These are the reasons why victims never speak out.
- Victims fear nobody will believe them
- Over reaction from Parents and Guardians
- Victim blaming and shaming
- Nobody to confide in
- Fear of the attacker or molester
- Lack of trust
We should never make excuses to justify RAPE. There is never an excuse. Don’t just sit back and do nothing. Join us in the fight against RAPE.
Create awareness. Condemn Rape. Seek justice for rape victims. Don’t wait till someone close to you experiences it. Act now. Be involved.
Barack Obama once said, “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones We have been waiting for. We are the change that we seek”.
- Deborah Oyo
Third year student of Mass Communication