Most of us have by now heard of Nigerian comedian Basketmouth’s unfortunate joke-gone-sour of the weekend, and hopefully followed the discussions that this provoked on various platforms. This post is in response to some of those discussions, where in talking about rape, that old question of victim responsibility has raised its head, ‘what was she wearing’ ‘what did she do?’ I have actually seen a facebook update where the writer states that many girls act coy and if a man needs to get laid, he needs to “go down hard on them.” That people think and talk this way bothers me, and that is what this is about – not whether Basketmouth deserves to be hanged or not.
Has someone ever taken something from you at gun point? You watch them walk away and know you can do nothing. Nothing even as they swagger away. You know that helplessness you feel? Multiply it times infinity, that’s what rape feels like.
I went to a gym once and after the exertions, the instructor offered to massage me. He came so close to my vagina, his hand actually on occasion, brushed my crotch. All the while, he kept up a running commentary on the fact that he knew how the muscles in my inner thighs had been worked and strained that week. I realized on getting home that I felt violated. And sick. This has happened to someone else I know. She had three baths that morning.
And that was JUST a massage.
Some years ago, a friend came home crying. She had gone to make alterations to a pair of pants at a tailor’s and in the name of taking measurements, the tailor kept touching her in the crotch. She’s not a child. But I can just see how she would have been immobilized with the desire to not make trouble, the doubts as to his intentions. But whatever he meant, she felt what she felt. She was mortified at her unwillingness to cause a scene, to misinterpret. She cried anyway.
All these are nothing to rape. Rape is unimaginable.
Rape has nothing to do with sex and everything to do with power.
Don’t get it twisted. A man who is not a rapist, even if his penis is hovering over, even touching a vagina, once he hears NO, he knows it is over. A rapist is the person who knows that force is an option. A rapist is a rapist. A non-rapist will not rape, whatever the provocation. Men watch porn and masturbate, why would a half-dressed or naked woman make you lose your head? You know your options. Do men who see women on beaches and pools rape them? Men watching music videos. . .
If truly rape was about desire, that would mean a smart woman would have to wrap up her brains with a loincloth (no, braincloth) if the man she’s with is a (so-called) sapiosexual. I have this friend. You know what does it for him? A woman in a wrapper. Imagine if he were inherently a rapist. He would attack every woman in a wrapper because he was stimulated? Because his provocation IS legitimate. But does it warrant rape? It does as much as ‘indecent dressing’ does because a trigger is a trigger.
If rape was about provocation, how did the baby get raped? By gurgling up milk and staring wide-eyed at the world?
If rape was about dressing, how does the Muslim woman in a Niqab get raped?
Another thing, we don’t know whether the ALUU 4 stole, raped and terrorized a community. But when they were killed and in so horrific a manner, nobody was asking what they did. It didn’t matter. True, stealing is bad. But when something like that happens, nobody cares what they did. That would not be the time.
In much the same way, when the issue of rape arises, then is not the time to start talk about what constitutes decent or indecent dressing or what a woman does that makes it okay to rape her. I always speak about women being independent, especially financially. But once the issue is rape, then is not the time. It is in bad taste and you have a hard time convincing anyone that you are not a rape apologist.
I wonder anyway why men complain about these transactional relationships. Do you listen to our music? Everything I hear in Nigerian music is about a guy promising to take care of the woman he is in a relationship with. While that is not a bad thing, songs like ‘chop my money’ etc seem to speak on behalf of men. That’s what all the male musicians are saying. Be mine, I will buy you whatever you want, spend my cash etc. Men also need to speak out against this.
We need to check the messages we send out. That is our responsibility, especially if we think or KNOW that somewhere, there is a young, impressionable boy thinking “Basket mouth says if by Date #9 she hasn’t spread her legs, it is okay to rape her.”
Posted from WordPress for BlackBerry.