When I was organising the #SayHerNameNigeria protests last year, my mind kept going back to a conversation I had the previous year with my then 7-year-old cousin.
In it, she confided in me that a teacher of hers had been molesting a few friends of hers at school. That in turn led me and a few other aunties to give her the heartbreaking talk that is often a rite of passage into womanhood in Nigeria.
The talk is one every Nigerian woman gets as soon as they are old enough to spell. It is one where we are reminded that we live in a society where our pain as abused women would always be placed secondary to a man’s reputation.
I wondered while protesting, why a seven-year-old should have such violent language already cemented in the lexicon of her mind just for her safety.
But is there really safety?
In all ramifications, this year and in particular, the months of June and July showed me that there can never be precautions against rape except telling abusers not to rape, molest or assault.
It was therefore an honor when YNaija invited me to guest edit this multilayered series on the many faces of rape culture seen in Nigeria.
In Fatimah Adeiye‘s essay for instance, there is the debunking of the stereotype that Muslim women are immune to rape on the basis that their faith enjoins them to be modest.
There is also the exploration of the intersections between rape culture and period poverty especially seen and experienced by rural girls.
Throughout this month, there shall be interviews, documentaries, films and a podcast exploring the question of how we as a society can collectively unlearn and most importantly heal from the trauma that rape has done to women and girls.
As September winds down, I ask you to lay down your guards and what you may have been taught regarding rape culture.
Welcome once again.
– Angel Nduka-Nwosu