The Chrisland sexual assault case is yet another reminder Rape Culture is alive and well in Nigeria

Chrisland

If there is any concept Nigerian women are implicitly aware of, it is the fact that our society will believe anyone over them. We will believe children over women, adult men over women, even the elderly over women. We would much rather believe inanimate objects before we believe Nigerian women on any issue that doesn’t exalt femininity and domesticity. It is why Nigerian women choose to conserve their energies instead of speaking out on any issue, because they will not be believed. They will not be believed no matter how young or innocent they are, because every woman, no matter who she is, no matter what the circumstances around her testimony are, is trying to bring some upstanding man down.

This is the very practice of misogyny, the constant dismissal of women in favour of men and other women who uphold misogynist status quo. This kind of behaviour is especially prevalent when the discussion revolves around rape and sexual assault. We saw it last year during Big Brother Nigeria when Kemen sexually assaulted a sleeping TBoss, who had repeatedly rebuffed him, after he had been cautioned by the people in charge of the show for his predatory behaviour. All it took was one statement from Kemen for the country to return him to the fold and dismiss TBoss’ experience as a mistake or misunderstanding. We were seeing it this year on Big Brother with Tobi and Cee-C, who verbally and non-verbally informed Tobi she didn’t want to be intimate with him, or at least not yet, and he instead of listening and letting her come to him, continued to ‘try’ his luck, as though persistence would miraculously change her mind.

It is happening now in the Chrisland School’s sexual assault case. A 2 year 11 month old confided in her mother, after she was taught psychiatric assessment used by doctors to ascertain sexual assault on small children that she was being assaulted. Her mother escalated the issue and got the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT) involved who arrested the accused, Adegboyega Adenekan. Since then several men have risen up to defend Chrisland School’s decision to retain the services of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria to defend Mr. Adenekan in court and their refusal to acknowledge the accounts of the victim in question. This tweet in particular stood out for me.

 

To accuse a 3-year-old of lying against her caretaker, even though an independent investigator who is a seasoned clinical psychologist was brought by the Lagos State DSVRT to question her, and all the recorded video testimonies all came to the same conclusion is mind boggling. What does a 2-year-old girl stand to gain from a 47-year-old man. What excuse could we possibly slide this under?

We all need to do better. We have to.

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