You Know I'm Just Joking by Ayomide Tayo: Let's talk about rape and sexual assault

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Obiamaka Orakwue was raped to death in her parent's home

The culture of silence concerning rape has allowed many perpetrators go scot-free.

There are two stories that are trending right now.

The first is the story of a 14-year-old girl who was raped to death in Lagos. The second story is a young woman who was sexually assaulted by a Taxify driver.

These are just two stories from the many disheartening and unheard stories of rape and sexual assault in this country. Social media has brought a lot of these incidents to light but there are too many that have been swept under the rug.

 

There is a culture of silence, a culture of shame, a culture of victim blaming that has stopped many women and girls from telling their stories.

 

The uncle that touches his niece in the wrong place, the male neighbour who buys sweets for a 7-year-old girl only to lure her into his bed, the school teacher who puts his hands under his female students' dress. There are too many perverts and psychos who have been protected by this culture.

Should we talk about the popular social media guy who believes every woman who enters his house must sleep with him? Should we talk about the lecturer who forces his female student to sleep with him for grades? Should we talk about the swines in the market who grab the boobs and ass of women who pass in front of their stores?

Nobody says anything. Nobody does anything because we have been made to believe that is the way the world goes. The theory of women as the weaker sex created gaps from time immemorial that women are to be fondled, squeezed, penetrated whenever. When you read painful stories like the teenage girl raped to death, you have to agree that men are scum. It's not a slur. It's a brutally honest reflection on the nature of predatory men who have been left unchecked by a culture of silence.

The culture of silence has muted our outrage. For chrissake a young woman with dreams, hopes and ambitions were killed because some animals couldn't control their urge. These animals have mothers and fathers who looked the other way. Their parents didn't teach them that touching a woman without her consent is wrong. Their school teachers didn't tell that rape is bad. Their pastors or Imams didn't tell them that rape is a sin. They all kept quiet. And with this girl's death, we are all keeping quiet.

I don't blame women who are victims for not speaking up. In Nigeria, the burden is never placed on the beast of a man but the victim. The Taxify incident has more than proven this. Under the victim's narrative tweets about the incident, some nitwits stated that it was her fault. Others said it served her right for saying she was a lesbian.

This is all a familiar narrative. "She is a loose girl", "what was she doing in his house?", "See the way she was dressed" are some of the disgusting statements from people who promote rape culture.

 

I hereby ask what of female babies who are raped to death? Did their innocent nakedness turn on a supposed family member, neighbour or house help? Can female babies be sluts and whores capable of seducing grown men? The burden of innocence should never be placed on the victim but of the accused.

 

When shall we speak up and defend our women? When shall we protect them? In a sane country, hell would have been raised by the animals who raped that 14-year-old girl is found. Nigeria is a nation of animals and this is a clear case of why I say so.

 

If we cannot speak up against rape and sexual assault then we are hypocrites on Fridays and Sundays. God will not answer the prayers of people who help rapists and mad men assault women and girls. Maybe this is why God has not heard our prayers all these years. We are the same as the men who rip open the underwear of innocent women and girls and descend on them.

How can God hear our cries when we don't hear the cries of women, girls and babies when they are being raped, beaten and sexually assaulted?

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" - Edmund Burke.

Dedicated to all the women who are suffering and crying under a culture of silence, shame and victim shaming.



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