Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Marital Rape in #Nigeria: My Perspective by Oluwatoyin Ogungbayi

Rape is one, if not the most under-reported and consequently under-prosecuted violent crime. Whether perpetrated by a stranger, an acquaintance or an intimate partner; it produces the most disappointing outcomes if prosecuted. Rape cases are often grueling, emotionally daunting for the victim, a crime of immense cruelty, which demands an enormous emphasis on proof in a court of law.

A quick examination of what rape is:

Rape is anal, oral or vaginal sex without consent. Therefore non-consensual anal, oral or vaginal penetration by a person’s spouse is marital or spousal rape.

Discussions around Marital Rape are guarded, sensitive and often unconcluded in the minds of many. Indeed in some societies some are of the position that it is culturally impossible to accuse a man of raping his wife. The popular belief is that spouses-especially the wife belongs to her husband and he can do as he pleases when he pleases and how he pleases so much so that it is unthinkable to suggest that a husband can rape his wife.

I however beg to differ by emphasizing the fact that the most crucial element of rape is the absence of consent. The relationship between the perpetrator and the victim does not take precedence over this ultimate factor of consent. Does it not therefore follow that lack of consent in marriage is rape? Rape remains rape as long as lack of consent is an element and Marital Rape is a despicable reality that affects a fair share of women whether or not it is spoken about and acknowledged.

Examining Martial Rape in the Nigerian context, we must understand the integral role power plays. Powerlessness for women and power for men is portrayed in Marital Rape because power gives the perpetrator the privilege of control of the victim’s body, absolute control to take, regardless of the victim’s willingness. It is used to punish, exert control over the victim and prove masculinity. This control is given, sustained and strengthened by patriarchy. Given that the society is an enabler of the rape culture through power and the dominance of men in the private and public spheres, it follows that a marital rapist believes that he owns his wife, a property that can be used anytime he pleases however he pleases; he believes also that sex is owed him by his wife. The prevalence of child marriage clearly depicts this unequal power relations and the way marital rape is enabled by the society. This sense of entitlement by marital rapists renders consent null and may be an indication that such men through socialization can also commit stranger rape. If so, the society can indeed be more dangerous for women than we thought.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Dear Rapist by @AyodejiOsowobi

Dear rapist,

Sure you are feeling cool with yourself right now. You have dehumanized another at the expense of your own pleasure. You have hurt another person to make yourself happy. How do you feel now? Are you proud of yourself and expecting an award? Well, we have a message for you, no you didn't win. Those you have sexually molested are now 'survivors' and are speaking up.

Bisi is just a young girl. Her fault for being raped was trusting you. Yes, you were her favourite uncle and she loved to be wrapped in your arms. I believe you felt the 5-year-old busy was 'feeling you.' She wanted you and couldn't say it...

Some excuses are beyond comprehension, How would you feel if she were to be your daughter? Oh wait, some men actually rape their daughters!

Wondering why the image? Well, I met a lady who shared her story with me. "I blessed the day I came into this world because my mother bore me to you. I smiled when you tossed me in the air and said "my baby girl." I was proud to be called that. But today, can I say thesame? You have taken my innocence because you couldn't control your sexual urge. Now, I am a sex addict. Will anyone listen to me when I say a 28-year-old me is addicted to sex because her father molested her? Will they see it from my point of view that I was launched into a sexual world that I wasn't ready for or will they just see me as a slut. That doesn't hurt. What hurts the most is that I have AIDS." she said.

Well, the goodnews is, she got help. You can get help. There are psychologists and (wo)men who help people in your situation. This is a problem you shouldn't be ashamed of. Speak up just like she did about being raped and she has moved with life just fine.

You might feel victmised, but getting help is the best for you. It's better to be free on the inside than cause pain to others and you remain in pain as well. We are angry about your acts, but have forgiven you.

Please speak to Praise Fowowe on 08037269483 and he will help you. He won't judge you as well. When we know you can't harm any other girl out there, she will be fine -- somewhat.

For rape survivors, please do speak up. Your rapist will only win if you don't break the silence. You can speak to us via 08095967000.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Opinion Ed: The 'Beastly' Abusers by @AbimbolaAbiolaa

Given the recent topics of conversations and the outpouring of comments, the subject of rape, spousal violence and abuse comes up frequently on social media platforms. I think that there are a lot of places people come from on the subjects, especially labeling perpetrators as beasts/monsters. So I thought I'd do a little polling with my own interpretation.

Now one of the things that I sometimes struggle with -- and I'm sure that I'm not alone -- is the way that we tend to dehumanize the perpetrators of violence. It's something that I've noticed in the past, and I would not to do it anymore, but it still happens. There's a tendency in conversations about abuse to start thinking of the perpetrators as beasts. It's a very intentional sentiment, there are plenty of sexist, transphobic, homophobic, or otherwise bigoted progressives.

The fact is, even the best of us are only human. Equally important: even the worst of us are human.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Dear Diary: Rape Took Kode's Life by @Toyin1Coker

On the day Kode was raped, I was shattered!!! Not just because she was my best friend, but because I could have protected her… It’s been 7 years already, 7 very tough years but I remember vividly just like it was yesterday. My scars are re-opened each time I read, hear or see a rape victim because I see a part of Kode in them.
On that sunny afternoon, Kode and I just finished swimming at our local pool in our not so elite community, arguing over a bar of chocolate as we walked back home. I noticed some guys walk very briskly towards us and immediately I told her, let’s run! But you know Kode… she is very strong headed she refused… "the streets should be safe enough for us to walk through without getting hurt” she said. I sense danger kode, but she won’t listen. 

As they approached us I ran leaving my best friend behind. As I raced as fast as my feet could take, I heard screams and pleas, it was Kode! And she was in great danger, but I couldn’t stop, my adrenaline rush would not let me. As I got into the compound our families share, our mothers ran out ‘’What happened? Where is your sister? They asked?’’ (We were called sisters, even twins) she’s in danger at quaver street I said. I watched our mothers wail as they ran off. Immediately, I felt a deep sense of guilt, I could not have ran without her. We could have faced them together.
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