by Chinelo Ngene
As she ran home clutching the remaining shreds of her clothes and dignity, she wondered for the umpteenth time how God had let this evil befall her. Unconcerned with the queer looks the stall owners gave her as she passed by, she ran faster, to her, salvation lay at home, she only needed to tell papa what had happened. He would find the bastards and kill them!
Lying in bed later that night cuddling her tear soaked pillow, she realized just how wrong she had been! How could her own father blame her for her misfortune? How could he have said she attracted them with her tight fitting short dresses? And mama, why had she just sat there wringing her fingers? They had said she should forget all about the rape rather than drag the family name through the mud in a quest for justice. Even Adanna, her best friend who she had thought would understand had taken her parent’s side too.
She stared again at the bottle of rat poison, her last thoughts before she gulped it down were; “of what use was living with such a broken body and spirit where everyone blames me for my own violation?”
The above story is an attempt to capture what a rape victim goes through, their thought process and how suicidal they can get.
Sometime in September, the Nigerian internet went agog when the news broke that a girl (said to be a student of Abia State University) had been raped by a group of five boys, also students of said institution at the school on the 16th of August. An hour long video was also released to buttress this. The extremely graphic video showed the girl being brutally raped and beaten amidst threats of killing her if she didn’t stop pleading and let them have their way with her.
Despite the video of the rape being widely watched online, officials in Abia State had declared their short investigations over as the victim had not come forward, and an official statement from the governor claimed the rapists were not ABSU students and the video was put together by his political detractors. What followed was a sustained campaign on social networks to force the police back into action and to uncover clues from the video that might identify the culprits.
The government’s persistent disassociation apart, a lot of men, and women are closet rapists. What do I mean by this? How else do you explain people making jokes of such a sensitive issue as rape? On twitter alone, several trending topics were created in this regard including #RapeherIf, where ignorant people went ahead to outline different reasons to rape a woman. Yet we wonder what is wrong with our generation? An emotionless generation which shows no empathy for the plight of a girl who suffered such bestiality.
As if the inanity on twitter wasn’t enough, the taunts, the snide remarks, the blames and criticisms, followed us when we took the talk to the streets to generate awareness for the girl’s plight and get relevant authorities to look into the case. We were accosted by some men who felt in all rape cases, the victim shares some if not all of the blame. Some of them were heard saying things like: “why won’t you be raped when you dress so scantily?!”
Let me categorically state that if you were raped, IT WAS NEVER YOUR FAULT.
Why should people even be talking about indecent dressing here? Was the girl raped because of indecent dressing? No! She was raped because she allegedly insulted one of the guys, perhaps by turning down the boy’s immoral advance. I implore us all to please condemn this act completely. Those boys are animals! Why should men not be able to control their sexual urges? I don’t see any women going around raping young boys who sag their trousers or wear those transparent tees now do I? Women should be protected and respected!
I am glad that there are still young people out there who diligently fight against rape and violence against women in its entirety both on and off the internet. Youths across the country put this issue on the front burner and refused to let the government sleep on it. Thankfully, the case has gotten to the national assemble and is currently being deliberated. Those scoundrels will face the full brunt of the law.
It is said that the world is a stage and men and women, merely players. Please play your part accordingly.