One of the unfortunate side effects of over-intellectualising concepts such as rape culture, misogyny and feminism, is that we forget that there are people on the ground, for whom these issues – and their resolution – are a matter of life and death. They have always been a matter of life or death.
We forget that for us to have a discussion about rape culture, we often need a trigger. An event occurs that reminds us yet again that the scourge hasn’t been conquered but even as we empathise with those whose misfortune fired us up, we forget that for that person, their life is irreversibly changed, often in a violent, deeply personal way. We forget that said person can never really drop the burden of their assault the way that we can when things calm down or have stopped “trending”.
If you, like many of us, are guilty of the above, then what you need is a dose of reality and multi-disciplinary artist, Ada Umeofia is here for it. Her heart breaking essay puts things in excruciating focus.
It must have taken a lot of courage for her to tell her story like this, to lay herself bare, and the decades of assault, abuse and rejection she has endured, simply because she was born and exists as a certain gender. It is not the kind of essay one can explain to you.
All I ask is that you read her words, really take them in. Internalise them. Let them guide you the next time you see a woman alone or a street, or interact with your aging mother. Remember she is a person, carrying trauma that you have to appreciate to truly appreciate her.
Read Ada’s essay here.