Friday, August 26, 2016

Why do Sexual Assault Survivors Feel Shame? A Cartoon Sums it Up.

Almost every survivor of sexual assault or abuse will at one point think, "It was my fault." What many of us don't know is WHY survivors feel shame and guilt or why others around them might blame them instead of the perpetrator. The following cartoon breaks down the reasons why.

To all the survivors out there who are blaming themselves for what happened, here's the psychology behind why you might feel so guilty. I'm crossing my fingers that at least a couple of you will read this and finally feel some solace.

And for anyone who has ever asked, "Why didn't she run away?" or "Why didn't he scream?" — this one's for you, too.

This article was curled from Upworthy and created by Nina Burrowes.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Why Every Hour Matters for Post-Rape Care: The Story of Maureen Phiri

Photo above: Ambassador Catherine Russell and Maureen Phiri
“I was raped, got HIV from the rape, and when I tried to tell my family, they told me to shut my mouth.”
Those chilling words were spoken by 20-year-old Maureen Phiri from Lilongwe, Malawi. As one of the speakers at Together for Girls’ (TfG) “Every Hour Matters for Post-Rape Care” event, which was in collaboration with the World Health Organization at the United Nations Women’s Commission on the Status of Women in March, Phiri courageously spoke about her sexual assault at age 11 and her advocacy to end sexual violence in Malawi and beyond. Sitting alongside representatives from various governmental and UN agencies including Malawi’s Minister of Gender, Children, Disability, and Social Welfare, the Honorable Patricia Kaliati and United States Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Catherine Russell, Phiri told the audience that the man who assaulted her took advantage of her because her family was poor.
“Madame Minister [Kaliati], that man took advantage of me because my family was not well-doing”, she said, her voice breaking, as she was overcome with emotion.
“I was only 11 years old, Madame Minister, only 11,” Phiri said. “He would buy my family food, and I lived with him and his wife, but when she would leave, he raped and harassed me.”
“I kept it to myself, and did not tell anyone but then I was found living with HIV,” she said. “I did not get HIV anywhere else but through rape.”
After telling the audience the horrific details of her experience, Phiri was met with a standing ovation; her story moving many in the room to tears, with Minister Kaliati rising to hug Phiri in a comforting and emotional embrace.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

What to Do After #Rape in Nigeria by Morenike Fajemisin (@Pharmacistreny)

Rape is one form of sexual assault and a terrible act that has defied understanding of the reasons of the rapist. It has also defied any of the ‘tips’ people give for helping future victims prevent it. Rape is when a person(s) has sex with an unwilling person. Sex should always be consensual, that is, it must happen between willing parties. Any sex with a person who struggles to escape you or lies there begging you to stop is Rape. Because most rape victims are women, I’d like to focus this article where the shoe pinches most. In most developed countries, there are (numerous) easily accessible Sexual Assault Referral Centers you can easily locate and run to for help but this is not the case in Nigeria. I hope to at least guide you through 3 steps that can help you avoid some physical scars so you can move on and be a survivor.

I am yet to hear if a rapist who used a condom and while there are just as many emotional and psychological scars as there are physical scars after rape, here are three DIY steps after rape.

Monday, June 27, 2016

#OpeEd: Let’s talk about Rape by Joel Oseiga Aleburu; @JoelOseiga.

I woke up planning to write about my weekend trip to Abuja and about how the sole of my shoe removed at a park in the middle of town only to see a tweet by an on air personality blaming rape on indecent dressing on the part of the ladies. I am just mad right now! So why not let’s discuss RAPE! The truth about RAPE is you never know how delicate and sensitive the matter is until someone you love experiences it. The story of the girl that was gang raped by five boys in ABSU made news both nationally and internationally years ago. What was her offence? She insulted one of the boys. We live in a cruel world but the truth is the Nigerian society encourages rape!

You don’t go about blaming rape on a girl that dressed “indecently”! Come to think of it, decent dressing is relative! There is no world known standard for what dresses are decent! The issue shouldn’t be “them rape you! Watin you wear??” Most people who get raped end up wallowing in silence because of the stigmatization attached. Nobody wants to hear her side (Does she even have a side in the first place?) ! Let me share a story I read some time ago.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

#Op-Ed: Why the Fuss about Gender Equality? by Laz Ude Eze (@donlaz4u)

Seven years ago while on call duty at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, I had a female patient

referred from a general hospital on account of poor progress of labour. The labour had lasted for more

than 12 hours and we observed signs of obstruction on examination. The woman was weak and the

baby was in distress; a decision of assisted delivery through caesarian section was reached. After

counselling, the woman verbally agreed but the written consent was to be given by the husband. Yes,

you read me right – the husband. The man had a different opinion, his pastor had “prophesied that his

wife would deliver like a Hebrew woman”; so he declined consent. He later bowed to pressure after

hours of marathon counselling and signed the consent form. The operation was successful, but the baby

had signs of brain damage. During post natal care, the woman had started leaking urine from her vagina

(known as vesico-vaginal fistula – VVF). She would have to go through another surgery to repair her

leaking bladder. The baby was at risk of having cerebral palsy which is usually associated with

suboptimal motor function and low intellectual capacity. This pathetic incident can only occur in a

society like ours where women are denied the right to make informed decisions on matters concerning

their body and their health. 

It is no longer news that a week after the celebration of International Women’s Day, the Nigerian Senate

rejected a proposed legislation that seeks to promote equal rights and opportunities for women. The

official title of the bill was “A bill for an Act to Incorporate and enforce certain provisions of the United

Nations Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the

Protocol of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the rights of women in Africa, and

other matters connected therewith, 2016 (SB. 116)”. This decision of the Senate has received knocks

from well-meaning and informed Nigerians. Is it not ironic and hypocritical that the senate refused to

approve a bill drawn from international conventions which the country had signed and agreed to? Is it

not vexatious and insensitive that this happened while Nigerian women are discussing how to guarantee

rights and welfare of women globally at the ongoing meeting of the UN Commission on the Status of

Women in New York? 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The 2016 International Women's Day by @MrSholler #IWD2016

The country today joins the rest of the world in observing the 2016 International Women's Day, but observers say much remains to be done to ensure women are finally playing on a level playing field with their male compatriots.

This year’s theme, ‘Pledge for Parity’ is a call to action for accelerating gender parity because the World Economic Forum predicted in 2015 that the gender gap would not close entirely until 2133, for instance, about 117 years from now.

Gender equality and the empowerment of women is gaining grounds worldwide. There are more women Heads of State or Government than ever, and the highest proportion of women serving as Government ministers and top positions. Women are exercising even greater influence in business. More girls are being enrolled to schools and are growing up equipped with accurate information about their sexual reproductive health and rights, making informed choices and better equipped (with opportunities) to realize their potentials.

Despite this momentum, there is a long way to go before women and girls can be said to enjoy the fundamental rights, freedom and dignity that is their birthright and that will guarantee their well-being. Violence against women and girls persists. Why are we still tolerating a world where the gap is not only one of gender but one of leadership when it comes to women’s rights.

Friday, February 5, 2016

The Bride, The Rapist And a Murderer by Akinwale Akinyoade

Her heart was thumping against her chest so loudly she was surprised none of the bridesmaids or the other women could hear the sound. She looked at the excited faces of the people milling around her and swallowed resignedly, they didn’t understand her plight; none of them knew of her grief. She did not trust any of them well enough to bare her pain, not even her chief bridesmaid who was so excited like it was her own wedding. Even if by chance any of them heard the thumping in her chest, they would probably mistake it as nervousness or excitement since today was her big day. But who could blame them, it was only natural for them to think it was it not? It was after all her wedding and she was supposed to be the happiest woman in the world right but happy was the last word that described how she felt.

Shade rubbed her palms together to steady her nerves in anticipation of that walk down the aisle, the walk that would lead her into a world she could never come back from as soon as she stepped into it. This was a big decision she was about to make. Whatever she did today was going to forever change the course of her life but she knew she was not ready. She stared at her reflection in the mirror making sure that her disinterest in the whole affair was well guarded as the bridal make-up team did their thing to her. She felt like meat ram being prepared for roasting as they expertly worked on her hair while another was adjusting her ridiculously expensive wedding gown.
Suddenly her mother’s sister, Mama Bisi burst into the room to announce that it was time. Shade swallowed the lump that developed in her throat and tears welled up in her eyes as she looked at the woman who had replaced her mother. Shade’s mother died when when she was just nine and Mama Bisi had never for a day allowed her to feel the vacuum of the loss of her mother. Her mind went to her mother, her sweet gentle mother who if she had been alive was sure to have saved her from this madness. Mama Bisi noticed the tears in Shade’s eyes and hugged her gently, smiling in her usual sweet manner. Shade hugged her back and wished Mama Bisi understood her tears weren’t what everyone thought it was. She wasn’t feeling emotional and over the moon because she was about to become a married woman, her tears were of pent up frustration. She felt so alone among all of them. Being the only daughter of one of the wealthiest men in the country was her plague. Although it was supposed to be a life of luxury and contentment, a life most would give an arm to have, Shade knew she would trade places instantly with the lowliest of beggars at that moment than to be called Shade Sukungbade. With a final look around the dressing room, she allowed herself to be led away like a lamb to the slaughter while the excited murmurs and chatter of the women sounded like her funeral song in her ears.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Is the devil to Blame? by @AbimbolaAbiolaa

(Image curled from

Punch Metro has a post about a recent child rape case.

"The boy named Thompson who lived with his family on Oremeji Street had complained about pains in his anus while his mother identified as Adenike Ejigbo gave him a bath. The boy told his mother the man, Amusa Ganiu lured him to a place where he allegedly penetrated his anus. The mother was said to have raised the alarm after which the matter was reported at Alakuko police division"

So what happened to the suspect?

"The lagos state deputy police public relations officer, ASP Aliyu Giwa confirmed the arrest and according to what a police source told their correspondent the suspect didn't deny the incident, he BLAMED THE DEVIL"

At the start of my read which didn't have the same headline as above, I already suspected this typical shift of blame which is frequently given by rapists and criminals who plead guilty to their crimes with a "but" would spring up. This sick excuse demonstrates again that those who commit child rape are committing crimes which came from the brain and multiple deliberate decisions than a "devil" driven compulsion committed by out of control human beings.

Offenders like Amusa committed these crimes because they want to and are meant to take full responsibility for it.

Blaming the devil is not a valid justification for the crime, rape is rape and it is inexcusable.

Monday, January 4, 2016

#BlogPost: She seduced me by Abimbola Abiola (@AbimbolaAbiolaa)

I came across these cases from Akwa Ibom and Lagos, about a 60, 29 and 20 years' old men who were arrested for rape and of how they told law enforcers that they were lured by their alleged victim's sexy behaviour.

So often when people hear this type of defense, some of them will rant about how girls are too sexy these days and therefore bringing sexual assaults upon themselves. This way of thinking is dead wrong. We've always said it, no girl or woman no matter how sexy she is or how she dresses brings sexual assaults upon herself.

This mindboggling cases should also remind us that this type of excuse is just that, an excuse and not a cause.

Their alleged victims were 8, 9 and 11 years old! Imagine.

If this doesn't shock you into letting go of the 'she seduced me' myth, then maybe hearing that this excuse was used by a convicted child abuser when the victim (his daughter) was only three years old, will have you seeing this lie for what it is.

A rationalization for a heinous crime.

So the question then becomes: will you support the rationalization of rapists or will you stand against these rationalizations and put the blame for rape where it belongs-on the rapist?

Share your thoughts via @StandtoEndRape on Twitter. Thanks for reading.

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