When we were Young Part 2 – by Abidemi Adebola “Sometimes our best love moments
“The truth of it is, the shame was not mine, and for all victims in similar situations, it is not ours. The shame is reserved for every creep who has ever touched us inappropriately. The shame is on the abuser, not the victim, not the survivor. It is tragic that so many of us have to survive this kind of crap, and I’m so sorry if it has happened to you.” Rose McGowan, Brave
We move on to the third part of this series. Thank you for staying the course.
The third part looks at how the society subtly promotes rape, debunking the myths of stereotypes attached to justify rape and how we may prevent rape if prevention is possible.
WHY ARE WE STILL ON RAPE?
This is a question I had to deal with for the past few days. It is not entertaining. It is gloomy.
What more does the reader need to know that they do not already know?
Well, dear reader, this is not a problem that started yesterday, so, rape cannot be addressed overnight. There is a need to define, identify in all forms, seek its causes, understand its causes, and find solutions to preventing rape if possible, managing rape in case it happens to us, surviving rape, and bringing all those who help with rape survivors to our attention.
It is an insult to skirt around rape, make the cause trend, then leave the cause without actionable solutions.
STILL UNDERSTANDING RAPE IN A CRUEL WORLD – UNCLEAR DATING CULTURE
Damsel in distress.
All these are fine but are extremely confusing.
Being deemed fairer gender means being handled with care, wrongly taken as weak by some men.
Being addressed as the weaker gender makes one open to an attack by the supposed stronger gender; some of the men.
A damsel in distress always needs help and may need protection, leading to being objectified by some men.
Chivalry is sweet, but it means some men may pretend to get a lady’s attention.
The same goes for gentlemanliness. Women usually wonder why he stopped opening doors after a while.
Wooing means deliberately gaining affection; some men may do anything to gain good favour with a lady. In essence, pretend for a while.
Decency, defined by society, requires that women do not have the same sexual freedom as men. Women get asked, but may not ask, or women are sluts. Men fancy a woman, but she must play hard to get, or she has no value. Women may feel like having a casual sexual encounter but must go into a full-blown relationship, as the society will label them cheap.
But a man is a stud for doing the same thing.
All these factors, while looking good on the surface have bred double personality in some men over the years, and some of these men have become unreasonably entitled. “I have sown some affection, I must be rewarded. I will take what is mine.”
No, you cannot just do that.
RAPE – DATING CULTURE’s SUBTLE DANGEROUS EFFECT. REAL EQUALITY NEEDED.
Women and some men have been clamoring for equality for ages, but in reality, it is only when it suits each gender’s purpose. I agree with equal pay. I agree with equal rights, especially towards education and equal opportunities.
Humans will borrow any ideology just to drive their point home, talking from both sides of their mouths.
One of the main principles of life is labour and reward. If we are equal, then we must be equal across the board. A man has spent x number of days giving a woman attention, spent y amount of money, and pretended over z amount of time to gain her attention, he feels he deserves to be rewarded. The more he spends pleasing her, the more entitled he may get, depending on each man.
If a man felt a woman was equal, he would show his true intentions always, he would be his true self and a woman would be able to easily make up her mind about him, without bribes, and he would not feel bad after a polite no from her. He would have expended no extra energies, so, he is not exactly entitled.
Treat a woman like you want to be treated.
Dear men, You are not an object, you cannot be possessed, and you are not a reward. If a lady treats a man nicely, must she be rewarded by sex with him if he wants or does not? Why can she not just be nice? We can be nice and caring without reward. That’s just being human.
Preferential treatment of a lady by a man to gain her affection is a choice and does not equal sex as a reward!
Some men are on to this already, but other men need to know. It means you seek that which may or may not be rightfully kept from you. There is nothing wrong with that. Respect others. Respect women.
My issue here is that we need to be consistent for equality to prevail across all norms.
When something becomes common, it becomes accepted. Respect women always. Let real equality be common. Let women’s sexual freedom be common, let rape reporting be common.
FAKE ROMANCE CULTURE CAN BE RESOLVED BY RESPECT FOR WOMEN. EQUALITY.
A man has to spoil a woman, gift her items all the time, pretend to love her when he just wants to get “some”! He has to give her preferential treatment always. While this doesn’t mean he should possess her, do not be surprised if he feels he does! That is our society!
Old-fashioned dating rituals and ways dictate a man woos the woman and then owns her!
I do not blame anyone in particular for this culture. We inherited it.
We need to know that this dating culture started when women had absolutely no rights and were mere objects for men to manipulate, use, and discard, then focus on the shiny new one. The age where the woman of the house would warm the bed of any male visitor that passes the night at such homes.
I am just asking that our women be set free. With the freedom to express sexuality of both genders, there is no need for fake devotion as a means to get a woman’s attention. A man and a woman can respect each other and be upfront with each other.
A woman can be saved heartache in case a man just wanted sex and vice versa.
The culture made some men cunning liars and predators and some women, helpless pawns, and preys.
I am saying, maybe if we do not doublespeak on dating culture, we can prevent and purge possessiveness, abuse, and rape from our society.
For example, we all know of the stereotype of the huge ”bridal price” investment that is “supposed east Nigerian wedding culture”, and how relatives and even parents “turn face” whenever such an expensive bride is brutalized by the monster who calls himself a husband. A bride is an object.
Tradition or not, no one should be objectified that way. No life has monetary value.
Yes, I know, but have you ever observed change without challenges? We can no more delay.
For me, some men are crude, hence their inferiority needing to be masked by manipulation, control, or forced control of women, and while most women are refined and more intelligent, but at times subscribe to the dated societal dictates of being inferior to men, because it’s the way it has been.
Nothing justifies rape, forced control, or abuse. Just see a shrink. We can all heal. More pain is not the answer.
I trust women, due to their superior natural and emotional intelligence, to co-exist with men without having to emasculate men. There is nothing to fear.
Rape and forced control only damage our society.
STOP TAKING BY FORCE, WHAT CAN BE WILLINGLY GIVEN. TRUST WOMEN. RESPECT WOMEN.
RAPE – DEBUNKING THE MYTHS
Dissociation can occur during rape. “I cannot believe this is happening to me”.
Memories may be fragmented especially immediately afterward. They may consolidate with time and sleep.
A man or boy who is raped may be stimulated and even ejaculate during the experience of the rape.
A woman or girl may orgasm during a sexual assault. This may become a source of shame and confusion for those assaulted along with those who were around them.
Much like male erectile response, female sexual response is involuntary, meaning that a woman need not be aroused for her clitoris to become engorged; mechanical stimulation is all that is necessary. Arousal and stimulation are distinct things. Stimulation is a physical response to a stimulus. Women and Men can be physically stimulated without feeling aroused and thus causing an erection.
Please read more rape Myths here
PREVENTING RAPE – IS THERE SUCH A THING?
Together, we can prevent and stamp rape out systematically. It will be daunting, but we must start somewhere.
PREVENTING RAPE – THE COMMUNITY
Our society aids and abets rape and rapists. Rape can have lasting, harmful effects on victims and their families, friends, and communities. The goal of rape prevention is to stop it from happening in the first place. The solutions are just as complex as the problem. Please find below…
No single agency of government can address sexual assault prevention alone. Portfolios across all levels of government, including education, health, justice, and crime prevention, as well as the non-government sector and community stakeholders, each have a significant contribution to make.
Listed below are ways that we, as a community can stamp out rape.
Promoting social norms that protect against rape bystander approaches.
Mobilizing men and boys as allies. Boys should join their efforts in putting an end to all forms of sexual abuse against girls (and boys) and learn to respect the rights of girls. Raping a girl does not prove that you are a man, if anything, it proves otherwise.
The Education Ministry parleying with dedicated NGOs to allow Sex, Rape & Consent education in our school curriculum from primary schooling upwards, and home support for parents.
Being good examples, rape starts from roles of parents observed by kids.
Teaching social and emotional skills to prevent rape.
Teaching healthy, safe dating and intimate relationship skills to adolescents
Promoting healthy sexuality.
Empowerment-based training and opportunities to empower and support girls and women.
Strengthening economic supports for women and families.
Strengthening leadership and opportunities for girls.
Creating protective environments, improving safety and monitoring in schools.
Establishing and consistently applying workplace policies.
Addressing community-level risks through all local government authorities.
Support victims/survivors to Lessen Harm through victim-centered health & legal services.
Register sex offenders. Shame them. Post photos so communities can know them.
The Law needs to review rape laws, so rapists can be brought to book.
DEAR FRIEND, YOU CAN PREVENT RAPE
The key to keeping your friends safe is learning how to intervene in a way that fits the situation and your comfort level. Having this knowledge on hand can give you the confidence to step in when something isn’t right. Stepping in can make all the difference, but it should never put your safety at risk.
Create a distraction. Do what you can to interrupt the situation. A distraction can give the person at risk a chance to get to a safe place.
Talk directly to the person who might be in trouble.
Sometimes the safest way to intervene is to refer to a neutral party with the authority to change the situation. Call in help if needed. Call agencies that handle domestic violence, abuse, and sexual assault in your area. In Nigeria, in Lagos, call the DSVRT (DOMESTIC SEXUAL AND VIOLENCE RESPONSE TEAM) dsvrtlagos.org on 112 toll-free emergency line or 08137960048 to report cases of rape, domestic violence, defilement, child abuse, neglect, and other sexual assaults perpetrated or in progress.
In Abuja or other parts in Nigeria, call NAPTIP (NATIONAL AGENCY FOR THE PROHIBITION OF TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS) on 0800CALLNAPTIP (08002255627847) toll-free.
You can also reach out to many NGOs championing the cause, such as
Media Concern (MediaCon)
Women Against Rape, Sexual Harassment and Sexual Exploitation (WARSHE)
Women At Risk International Foundation (WARIF)
It can be intimidating to approach a situation alone. Enlist another person to support you.
Your actions matter. Whether or not you were able to change the outcome, by stepping in you are helping to change the way people think about their role in preventing sexual assault.
Never look the other way. It makes you an accomplice.
RAPE DATA BANK
After reading an article about two brave rape survivors in India who maintained their anonymity by using social media, Snapchat suddenly seemed like the perfect fit – it’s an innovative and modern platform that millennials are familiar with. The app’s facial and voice-disguising software allows you to disguise your identity to the level you are comfortable with while capturing your raw emotion and strength.
We need to open a website, or partner with existing rape support websites to report rape crimes.
Tell your story.
We need rapist registers. Sex offenders’ register. We need data. We can save others the pain.
We need to create data banks for rape. Report your story online. On social media. On sites of NGOs supporting rape victims/survivors. To the DSVRT if you are in Lagos, to NAPTIP if in Abuja.
The aim is to amplify voices and build a database of rape for Nigeria. Most choose to remain anonymous, which typically gives their story less ‘power’ in the world – ignorant people tend to feel that not being named comes about when you’ve got something to hide, rather than for any of the hundred other reasons you might not want the world to connect your name with the horror done to you.
But together, as a collective, it becomes harder to dispute. When there’s a volume of stories there, we can start to find patterns – common triggers, coping mechanisms, and tools. We can learn how better to support survivors, and we can use their different experiences to unpick victim-blaming (e.g. if sexual violence happens when you wear a short skirt, how do you account for the rapes of women wearing trousers, jackets, or anything else?)
This is the end of part three. In the fourth and final part, we will treat managing rape, surviving rape, and discuss the resources and agencies that champion rape victim/survivor support in Nigerian, so we all know exactly who to reach to report rape and secure rape survivors’ support.
I wait to hear from you. Encourage survivors to share their stories. Believe them. Listen. Feel. Support. Help.
About the Writer
Deji Sowunmi a proud owner of glistening, glowing, beautiful dark caramel skin, sometimes a good husband, not so shabby a dad.
An architect, interior designer & decorator by day, and a lover and seeker of greatness for all mankind by night.
He is a long-suffering, unapologetic arsenal fan who uses his club’s antics for high BP resistance training, a lover of the arts, and a general student of life.
Deji Sowunmi may not take himself so seriously but takes rape extremely seriously.
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