Here’s where we are. A woman was sexually harassed while she slept. On international television. We saw it. The videos remain. The woman in question says she didn’t know what was happening. Some people say she’s lying but she maintains her stance. The people in charge of the show on which she experienced this clearly suspected foul play, given that they called her in for a private session. They also felt strongly enough about it to make a statement by disqualifying the person responsible, (even though he was set to be evicted anyway) and organizing a session about consent for the housemates (and, by extension, Africans watching the show.)
This is where we are. The woman continues to be mocked and denigrated, but she takes it all with grace. A smile here, a non-committal response there. All the while conveying very clearly – I want this all to go away. And why wouldn’t she? Finding out about something like that is difficult enough. Dealing with the knowledge that possibly millions of people are not only aware of it, but likely saw it happen as well, cannot be anything but overwhelming. Handling that while making work of the rigours of the press rounds required due to the overnight celebrity the show has bestowed upon them adds another layer of complexity here.
But, where we are is Nigeria. A place where comedians (or, at least one comedian) thinks it’s okay to make a joke about this issue, in the presence of the victim. Yeah, we get it, he was worried about Kemen feeling suicidal. Sure. He’s a Christian. He believes in forgiveness. But wouldn’t it be great if Kemen actually, genuinely asked for forgiveness? But we digress. Yeah. Jokes. More questions. More debates. Why would she attend the event? Why would she take a photo with AY? Why isn’t she saying anything? Simple tip: if you want to know how TBoss feels about this stuff, look at what her siblings are saying.
We’re in the same place where a former presidential spokesman deems it fit to write an article ostensibly about the Big Brother Naija reality show, but focusing on denigrating the women (Tiwa Savage – lose weight; Bisola – whorish; TBoss – Jezebelic, Mangoesque breasts, arrogant) or stripping them of their agency (Annie Idibia – an object waiting to be instructed to twerk by her husband.)
But. Finally. She responds. With a clearly thought out statement that not only acknowledges TBoss’ own feelings about this, but recognizes how it feeds into a larger issue that affects our entire society.
And where we are today is that Tunde Ednut (good heavens what a ridiculous name,) a former singer (a song called ‘Catching Cold’ that featured him, I kid you not, in a bath tub at the beach) and current (insert anything you feel like here, because your guess is as good as mine as to what ‘career’ this person could possibly claim to have at this point) deems it fit to repost this message from TBoss on his Instagram, mocking her for speaking out.
Why, you ask? Who knows? Maybe for a bunch of quick likes. A couple of extra followers. To what end? Again, who knows? I mean, there are a million other things one could play around with, for cheap attention, than a woman responding to sexual harassment, but that would require actually thinking, wouldn’t it? At least AY had the excuse of trying to make the other guy feel less like he had to kill himself. And even at that, he apologized. What’s this one’s excuse? Is it really that difficult to grasp that this is a serious issue, not just for TBoss but for women everywhere? Is it only common sense that’s deficient or is empathy really that hard? Or is the little attention these ‘jokes’ are going to get people really more important than the issue at hand?
No. Seriously. STFU. This nonsense is the reason women continue to keep quiet about these things. And when they do speak up, nuisances like this one are the first ones to ask why they didn’t speak up before. Newsflash, it’s because you’re there trying to silence women with your ‘jokes’ when they do try to speak.
But, it’s fine. All of this is in jest and not to be taken seriously. Surely, Ednut will be able to do just that.