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I am overly sensitive about the plight of women and children: women because they are at the mercy of society’s dictates and children because they are quite helpless and need protection. I am also known to easily get into a rant about issues that touch me, be they direct or otherwise. As a result, I can be totally jaded when issues surrounding women are brought to fore.
Having said that, I want to say I’m totally normal and clear-eyed as I type this piece. Also, I hold responsibility for every word that appears here.
On twitter a few months ago, a guy said women who got raped had themselves to blame. The sky turned red for me at that point and I couldn’t see past the bloody curtain. I asked how women could cause something of such life-altering magnitude to happen to themselves. He said provocative dressing was a reason why women were raped. I asked him to explain how women who wore niqab were then raped; how they used their ‘provocative dressing’ to seduce their rapists. (PS: A niqab is a piece of cloth worn by some Muslim women to cover the whole face except the eyes.) He said that women who wore niqab were never raped. At that point, I knew I was talking to a dunce!
Rape has never been about the victim. It has (and will always be) about the power the rapist wields or want to wield. That power doesn’t care about the victim. It chooses anyone and proceeds to mete out untold pain to them. Women who have been raped…in fact, everyone who has been raped, has had to coil up in shame and hide. They cringe from the sheer effects of it. Most rape victims are so scarred after that they totally clam up and shut off sexual relations. It seems that the more violent the rape, the less likely the victim is to talk about it. Society has also effectively found a way of putting the blame at the survivor’s feet, thereby increasing instances of shame-laden silence. So, when a woman in a niqab doesn’t come out to say she has been raped, that doesn’t change the fact that she has been!
Back to the deliberately dense dude. Seeing that he was unwilling to get off his obviously dead horse, I asked him to tell me how a three-month old baby could have dressed provocatively enough to make a man rape her. I also asked him to explain how a 4-year old could have provocatively lured a man to dip his finger in her vagina and fondle her until she bled; how a 13-year old who kept screaming, ‘Uncle stop! Please!’could have been the wanton seductress. He said in such cases, the rapist was sick and needed psychological help. I gave him a good tongue lashing, insisting that a man who raped kids was no ‘sicker’ than a man who raped grown women!
I’ve heard of totally good girls who got raped on their way from school, church, the office etc. I’ve talked to girls who got raped by that close ‘friend’, brother, cousin, uncle and even father! I’ve seen pictures of girls who boarded buses in India, who got gang-raped by as many as seven men, leading to an eventual death. How did these girls ‘seduce’ their attackers?! How did they provocatively lure them?!
Now, if rumors are to be believed, the Chibok Girls who were kidnapped by the Jamā’at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da’wah wa’l-Jihād insurgent sect – or Boko Haram as they are widely called – are being constantly raped and married off to their captors. Can one of those rape-apologists tell me how those girls wantonly sought their abductors/rapists?!
It is bad that society makes it hard for women and children who have been raped, but that you attribute the rape to the actions of the survivor is pure wickedness! Can you imagine the pain that comes with forced entry into a vagina or anus? Can you imagine how dreadful the act is to the survivor, not just physically, but emotionally and psychologically too? Do you know how many victims have had to commit suicide, or led totally lack-lustre sex lives because of that one incidence of rape? Do you know the trauma rape victims suffer…and keep suffering for life?!
The time has come for people to stand up for those 2-year olds whose ‘uncles’ forced their penises into their vaginas. We need to fight for the 8-year olds carrying babies of their own; babies whose gene pool is the same with their granddad. We cannot continue to shut up while 13-year-olds are married off to 65-year-old ‘grandbands’ and most especially, we need to bring to justice all the sons-of-a-gun who force themselves upon women and children!
Rape is a crime against the humanity of the victim. Sometimes, these victims become survivors. Other times, they never heal from the trauma. However, at no time is a rape the fault of the survivor. It begs to be repeated. At no time is a rape the fault of the survivor…no matter what they wear, say or do.
As for all rapists and rape apologists, I feel castration is a fitting punishment but not necessarily enough. I hope the justice systems gets you and punishes you appropriately.