This is my contribution to 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Say No – Unite to end violence against women.
This topic always gets to me and it has become one of the ones I have returned to write about again and again.
The issue is rape but worse still, it is the justification of rape by reason of what some might call indecent, ungodly, improper or provocative dressing.
This school of thinking that included an Attorney General in Nigeria suggests that the rape victim is almost entirely responsible for their rape because their dressing provoked the rapist to act uncontrollably such that the rapist had to satisfy the jungle animal lust presented by sighting a provocatively dressed object of desire.
Animals, we are not
I could well agree if this happened amongst animals but out there in the jungle animals are not in clothes and essentially they are not human-beings.
In fact, even in communities where nudity exists as a matter of course, I doubt those societies violate the bodies of each other without consent, as human-beings we are civilised and one element of civilisation is self-restraint in the face of serious provocation.
We are equal
Another issue I want to address is that of relationships between men and women in society. From a moral standpoint there is a tendency to dehumanise and objectify our womenfolk with the idea that the male gender collectively and individually automatically have lien over all women to such an extent that men believe they should have control on all issues that affect women.
That is why we still have to content with issues of rights, rape, abortion, trafficking, abuse, harassment, dressing, mutilations and much else with the law almost giving perpetrators the licence of impunity without consequence.
Women have rights
I contend that beyond the primary sphere of influence if there be one that subscribes to the primitive view of the inequality of the sexes, the woman out in the street minding her own business in whatever state of dress she might be in is in her own right an individual, equal before the law and she should be able to make the decisions she deems fit for how she presents anywhere she have the right to be at.
We cannot because we are men attempt to control every woman as if we are husband, father, son, brother, nephew or relation to suit some preconceived notion of some play being honour and dishonour requiring violent sanction.
No licence to violate
Basically, no man by nature, by law or by divine instruction has acquired the right and licence to violate another person for whatever purposes they might want to use to justify that heinous act. This applies to rape, sexual abuse, physical violence or harassment and we need to address whatever allows us to condone any violation forthwith.
In a series of tweets that I have collated into a Storify titled The Rapist’s Manual, the total sum of my compelling argument is found in this tweet - Let me as categorical as I can ever be. There can NEVER EVER be any grounds or mitigating circumstances for rape.
If I were to leave my readers with one analogy framed in a question it would be this – If a woman is responsible for her rape because of her indecent dressing, are you responsible for an armed robber pointing a gun at you?