I woke up this morning to a message from one of my favorite twitter people, Ayodeji Osowobi (@AyodejiOsowobi), informing me that Akpororo had finally apologized for the rape joke. I went on to google the apology and as I read it I had tears flowing from my eyes. Was it because I woke up knowing it's also been a few days over one year since little girls were kidnapped from their school and have been living in captivity in the worst conditions with madmen, most likely being raped on a daily basis. Was it because I was relieved he finally apologized, albeit days later? It was most likely a combination of both. Rape issues and persons affected by it do not receive enough protection in our society.
In a week where the Oba of Lagos threatened Igbos living in Lagos with drowning if they did not carry out his orders, and upon a mighty public backlash, he immediately apologized and his statement immediately disowned by the party he sought to represent. In a week where Kunle Afolayan blamed Igbos as the sole cause of his loss to pirates and upon a mighty public backlash
he immediately apologized. In the same week Akpororo, an Airtel Ambassador, and a Comedian
favored by Christians makes a rape joke, there is a weak public backlash (though I am glad this came from both men and women), little or no condemnation from female celebrities and/or women on power, and no response from Airtel to tweets directed at them, even though they continued to tweet and bother me with their unwanted text messages. Some men on twitter even tried the excuse, “it was just a joke”. How??? I have spoken to persons affected by rape, (I hate to use the word “victim” because I respect the strength it takes to work towards overcoming the effect of rape) they donot ever forget, they constantly work to overcome it.
There is nothing funny about rape. Nothing funny about being forced to have sexual intercourse while your body and mind are fighting it. It is bad enough that rapists do not receive severe punishment under our law, why must we as a people continue to accept rape jokes. It is because of our acceptance of these jokes, and the trivialization of rape as a crime that affects the core of your being that majority of the persons affected by rape refuse to come out to share their stories. The context of the joke even bothers me: he was toasting her and she refused then he was thankful that armed robbers told him to rape her. Really??? He was happy to rape her because she had rejected his advances??? Must a woman accept every male advance??? Does she not have a right to choose who she wants??? Dear Akpororo, my public service announcement to you is this, when a woman says no to a proposal, she is simply exercising her right as a human being, it is not an affront to your person that should result to her being raped.
You’re welcome. In my humble opinion the fact that a man is slighted by a woman’s rejection such that he seeks to punish her by raping her is an indication of weakness and evil on his part. I am confident that we as a people are generally accepting, loving and protective of each other. I see it in the way my generation is more accepting of each other regardless of tribe, sex or creed. I see it in the way people of every tribe come with one voice to attack tribalism and religious intolerance. Why are we not collectively and loudly condemning the trivialization of rape? I am confident that it is a misunderstanding of rape issues that allows its trivialization, or an attempt to sweep it under the carpet because we do not really understand it.
Therefore I plead, before you crack a rape joke, laugh at one, or allow one go on unprotested, google stories of persons affected by rape, they abound on the internet, speak with a person affected by rape, put yourself in her shoes, and I dare you to find the humor in it. Before lawmakers can understand the severity of rape, it behoves us as a people to reject rape in its entirety, including rape jokes. I plead with every fibre of my being to every Nigerian, let us #StandtoEndRape and #SayNoToRapeJokes.