When People Say Men Must Rape

I try not to take most things too seriously, but there are issues that get my blood boiling. One of those topics is rape. Women and children continue to be the vast majority when victims of rape are numbered, and I find it galling that our culture would rather blame them or sweep the stories under the carpet, than face the men who perpetrate this hate crime, and deal them full and swift justice.

Now, someone who reads this blog, has written an article for YNaija that seems to be in response to my earlier post, Lets talk to the men who rape, shall we?

In his article, he agrees with my point that a lot of Nigerian men struggle with thoughts of rape, or may have raped before. [This I think is due to the heavily partriarchal culture in Nigeria, where women are expected to be subservient to men, and women's bodies are seen as owned by their men or the society].

But then he goes ahead to blame women, and the victims of rape, stating they provoke rape due to the way they dress to kill. In his opinion, even if you're not raped for dressing indecently, you may cause other decent women and children to be raped. While a lot of people have, deservedly, condemned the article, let's not forget that a Kano lawyer made similar statements in the past, and that several Nigerian men, and even women, think the same way. One article on Naijastories goes on to blame mothers who breastfeed in public for arousing men, and causing rape!

Am I saying we should not rebut the writer, or others of his ilk? NO! I am saying that even as we castigate him, we should look beyond him, because he's just a symptom. We should try to look inwards and focus on the cause - our culture. We might not be able to change everyone, but we can change ourselves and those under our influence, our brothers, cousins, friends and sons. We have a long way to go to change the mentality of men who are brought up to see themselves as Lords and Masters over women.

Rape is not about sex, but about power and exerting dominance, and that is why more women and children are raped than the other way around. Some men even rape fellow men. It doesn't help that in Nigeria, rape and its perpetrators are rarely reported. When they do, victims are maltreated, and at the end, these rapists get off lightly.

So, to all men who think like the writer whether they say it or not - it goes beyond a man being able to exercise self control or about women guarding their sexuality and how they dress. It is about men like you developing respect and empathy for women. I won't ask you to think about if it was your mother, daughters, or sisters being raped. I will say think about if women were human beings like you. Think about rape victims and think about yourself being raped. By a man. A man who is twice your size.

Think about that, and please stop raping.


PS. I want to thank some men who have given the issue of rape in our society more in-depth thought and have spoken out, about how rape affects them, and about how their fellow men should think about rape.

Mazi Nwonwu writes in Rape and the Nigerian Society, about the time his cousin was almost raped in his presence and how, "it took him months to recover from the trauma and took my cousin longer to start seeing me as a ‘man’ again. It was a close shave, a very close shave, one that still makes me shiver..."

Sagaysagay writes in Rape and the Unjustifiable defense of provocation, that any "argument about “provoked rape” is like an armed robber saying he attacks rich people because they “flaunt” their wealth. It is like a corrupt Minister saying the billions of naira he handles in the Ministry tempts him into stealing. Even Ibori wasn’t bold enough to come up with such justification before the UK court that convicted him."

Thank you Mazi and Sagay for raising the quality of the conversation.