One thing about using social media: it can be an extension of our thoughts and beliefs from years of conditioning.
That said, social media as an important vehicle in addressing sexual assault and harassment ignited in late 2017, with the #MeToo movement.
Nigerian women had stories of rape to tell, aplenty, and we were forced to reexamine our understanding of sex in the context of consent.
Rape culture doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and the countless cases of rape and sexual assault experienced by women demonstrably come from behaviours and attitudes normalising rape and hence making it pervasive.
Over the weekend, I came across a tweet (though now deleted) that highlighted rape culture.
The account @Baddman20, a male Twitter user who is also – you won’t be surprised – a social media marketer wanted to know how his male followers would respond if their girlfriends declined sex just after spending N300,000 on shopping on them.
— maybe we should start killing men (@pamm_rocks) September 16, 2018
The responses reeked of dangerous male entitlement, the same logic men have applied to spousal rape with the justification of bride price.
Sure, not all men rape, but men, in general, have sustained rape culture through victim blaming, rape jokes, pop music with rapey lyrics, the ubiquity of street harassment etc.
This does not exonerate women that unknowingly participate in preserving this culture, as we have seen women bashing female victims of rape for “dressing irresponsibly” and whatnot.
Men need to do a better job at calling out the predatory behaviour of their friends.
If you see your boy touching someone inappropriately, interject.
If you hear your boy saying something inappropriate, interject.
If you witness your boy harassing someone, interject.
— TONI (@t0nit0ne) September 17, 2018
But this largely has to do with cases of rape predominantly perpetrated by men, and a culture that enables rape to be committed.
Messages like “Real Men Don’t Rape” instead of “Don’t Rape” sustains the myth that some men are good and noble and sidesteps the issue of rape altogether.
Believe it or not, rape culture will be nearly successfully combated if men relinquish views and beliefs fuelling it, considering we still live in a patriarchal society.