It’s time to bring an end to rape culture

Changing society’s view on rape is key if we want to fight this horrible gender-based-crime. Adebola Aduwo elaborates:

“I loved him. He loved me too. At least, I thought he did. Until he violated my trust and violently had his way with me, minutes after I told him I wasn’t ready to have sex. He was my boyfriend, why did I feel so helpless? Wasn’t I supposed to feel safe with a man I trustevid?”- Survivor

“My uncle raped me several times. I said ‘several’ because I can’t count how many times he did it. He told me to keep it a secret or he would kill me. What was I to do? I wasn’t even 8 yet. So I let him. It hurt but I just got tired of fighting him off. I told my parents about it when I turned 12. They got upset for a few days and that was it. My uncle is still a free man.” – Survivor

“I had a really hectic week and I thought cooling off at the club was a good idea. I met this super cute guy at the bar, we were sipping our drinks and having a great conversation. Well, that was all I remembered. It was a blur afterwards. I woke up to a warm, sweaty weight on my body. Torn clothes, big strong hands, blood and a phone camera. It took a while to understand what was going on. I was weak and I wanted him to be done with whatever he was doing so I could beg to go home. That was just the beginning. There were four of them. And they took turns in raping me. They should have killed me that night. I don’t feel alive anymore…” – Survivor

One would think that following the increased public outcry against these violent crimes, the prevalence of rape would have decreased. Will this day ever come? In the news, we hear stories of men who force themselves on 8-month-old babies and 8-year-old girls. It’s so mildly reported too: “Man has sex with an eight-year-old girl”. NO. That is not sex. That is rape! It is sickening how rape is painted as just another story that should be forgotten after a few days. Rape culture is not normal.

Girls are being assaulted every second by the men they look to for protection. With every sexual abuse case comes a number of underwhelming remarks – have you heard any of these before?

“You weren’t dressed decently”, “Why were you out so late?”, “Stop being dramatic, it’s not as if you were a virgin anyway”, “I didn’t hear you scream, you probably enjoyed it”, “He’s your husband, he owns your body. You can’t call that rape”, “If you force yourself on a prostitute, is it rape or shoplifting?”

Instead, it should be statements like these that come to mind when we shape our attitudes around gender-based violence:

My clothing or lack of it does not give anyone a license to touch me when I do not consent to be being touched. Maybe we’ve had sex in the past but I do not want it anymore. Stop forcing me. I am human, just like you, and if I choose to party or do something as simple as walking to a store down the road at night, I do not automatically qualify to be on your long list of victims. I am your cousin, not an experiment. Stop groping me. My no means no!

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Consent is a foreign word to far too many people and the origin of this entire situation can be traced to entitlement.

Never in my wildest thoughts would I imagine Faa being raped for refusing to have unprotected sex. I came across a number of comments on social media insinuating that she was to blame because she let Bada have his way the first time. Victim blaming is never acceptable and no one ever deserves to be raped.

We are so obsessed with casually discrediting rape allegations and stigmatizing the abused, that we fail to realize how we are turning the victim into the accused, giving perpetrators room to continue with their beastly acts.

Too few people wonder why the sexually violated are reluctant to share their experience. How can justice be served when culture shuns any slight act that makes men feel less superior than they are used to? Where families would rather protect their names from shame, and leave the outcome to fate.

Surviving rape is already deeply disturbing. And yet, dealing with the physical and psychological trauma that comes with it is another daunting task. It’s high time we stopped with the stigmatization and instead, focus on how to adequately punish the perpetrators.

This war is one that has to be won.

  • Rahimah Odunsi

    This is a war that has to be won, no compromises. To think of the way people have accepted certain things as a norm is truly appalling. As I saw somewhere “Na from clap dance dey start”… you find older men asking Secondary School girls out (this I experienced one too many times), family meetings being called when a rape case happens in the family when it should be reported to the appropriate agency. List is endless Adebola ??‍♀️??‍♀️??‍♀️. Where do we start???

  • Oghentega Sakpere

    To be honest, Debola… I’m really scared about the turn every issue in Nigeria takes now, It’s all Social Media: ‘#EndSars #OffaKillings #Rape’ We have our Outcry online, but no substantial result in real life. These survivor stories really have me shocked. Sometimes you find these young sec school girls also asking older men/corpers out. So you are left to wonder where the problem is from. Sex Education? I made it a new year resolution to shun away from visiting male friends because of the things I’ve been seeing on social media. Who can one trust? This one I’ll sit out, cause I can’t even think of a solution. Gosh!

  • Onyinye okpara

    I think Nigeria needs stronger laws regarding rape, sexual harrassment and child molestation. And Victim Blamers need psychiatric evaluation as most of them are either unidentified or intending rapists. There is so much we all could possibly say about the dastardly act but it seems are rape cases are on the rise. What really can be done to reduce the occurrences of rape? Whatever we do we shouldn’t stop taking about it, Rape must be abolished.

    • Onyinye okpara

      I also think we need tighter controls on narcotics and inebriants.

  • Rhoda Ade

    I am still looking forward to a rape free generation.
    One where the female gender will be safe to move among men without the fear of abuse.
    Sometimes, when I hear people say ‘what was she wearing at that time” I get worried the society may eventually not get a solution to this. There are cases of robbery/rape, how should she have dressed at that point?.
    I feel the boy child needs more attention. The society needs to mentally train the boy child.
    #NomeansNo

  • Gbemisola oluwadare

    This war start with building a sensitized society free from gender based oppression and violence. A society that raise awareness about sexual violence and rape. Encouraging victims to speak out and reduce the stigmatization attached. help the survivors legally and medically, punish the perpetrators and improve laws relating to rape and other forms of sexual abuse.

  • Tayo Owonikoko

    I love the part where you pointed out the common excuses….I think those people should be checked into yaba left..for fuck sake why should dressing or most especially moving at night be a reason to be raped..its really sad. As a guy I feel rape should have a medical condition because there are lots of ladies out there who will willingly let u..maybe I am wrong but still it shouldn’t be a reason to rape..for rape in marriage well one has to be very careful about it because it is a sensitive issue.