The conversation on rape and sexual harassment was – and still is – the linchpin of the #MeToo Movement and on Nigerian social media, the campaign has given women a platform to share their experiences on rape while also pivoting towards combating rape culture. But sadly, there is still a cultural push-back that manifests as victim-blaming, the idea that women should be held responsible for rape if they wear short, revealing clothes or spend the night over at a guy’s house, or consent to sex and then withdraw it.
Victim-blaming, also, has been used to invalidate the rape experiences of sex workers, and this is due to the dangerous belief that a woman who sells sex as a service is automatically inviting rape upon herself. Nigerian feminists on Twitter, God bless them, have spoken widely and quite exhaustively on rape and how rape culture continues to perpetuate it. Recently, a tweet from @ebelee_ went viral for using rampant police brutality in Nigeria as an analogy to explain why it is wrong and dangerous to blame women for rape. Instead, we should blame men who rape.
See how SARS harass Nigerians & we are raging & protesting against them instead of telling innocent Nigerians to stop carrying iPhone or having dreads, tattoos or piercings ? Yeah that’s how it works with assault/rape. You don’t caution the victim, you address the assaulters.
— A babe. (@ebelee_) April 14, 2019
The tweet illustrates how we don’t blame men for ”fitting” a profile that that leads to their brutalisation and dehumanisation by SARS. Men, because they are the ones who predominately are victims of the horrors of SARS brutality. Bearing that in mind, why should we blame women for rape when, say, they follow a man to his place after a date? Furthermore, the tweet has spurred other feminists to draw parallels between sexual assault and police brutality, in order to disseminate the message that cautioning women to ”avoid” being raped is ridiculous at best. Doreen Nwoke (@Okemzuruoke), on Tuesday, made a brilliant thread about this:
I know this is quite a sensitive topic to touch, but I think it’s time men started telling themselves the truth and began sharing responsibility for the SARS/police brutality they get themselves into.
— Nerve Bender (@okemzuruoke) April 16, 2019
Of course, Nigerian men didn’t disappoint.
Absolute fucking nonsense
— Ayo Paul Shittu (@Ayo_Shittu) April 16, 2019
Last week I met one police guy that helped me change my tire and gave me 2k to buy fuel. Most of these men have the wrong mindset, that’s why they keep meeting the wrong police. https://t.co/J85Jz58ck3
— Feminism for bad bitches (@Anyaato) April 16, 2019
Please can we change the #endsars tag to #endsomesars? Some innocent policemen work in SARS and you’re hurting their feelings. You can’t demomize an entire division of police. It’s mean and its generalizing. #notallsars
— Chivie, Misandrist and Occasional Man-Eater (@Chivie__) April 16, 2019
Men routinely say #NotAllMen when women discuss their ordeals about rape and other sexist microaggressions, chiefly to derail the conversation and insidiously protect the image of masculinity. They hate this broad generalisation that puts ”good men” in the vile bracket with rapists, but these same men won’t combat rape culture in their workplaces, or when they have drinks with their buddies. The same truth holds for the #EndSARS campaign. Granted, there are good men in the police force, but still the blood-sucking menace of police brutality persists. What are the good policemen and women doing to end this nightmarish reign of SARS? Does it even matter if there are good officers in the force?
Which is why we say #EndSARS, and not #EndSomeSARS. Hopefully, men (and women) will drop the victim blaming when women come forward with their stories on rape, and channel energies towards stifling rape culture.