I have a week long battle with myself on whether to write about this or just let it pass. A tug of war between speaking up myself to influence the change or to wait for someone else to take the first step. But then I came across a quote from Barack Obama which said that “change will not come if we wait for some other person, or some other time. We are the ones we have been waiting for. We are the change we seek.’’ And it resonated with me hence the writing of this post.
So on the 19th January 2019 a woman who was celebrating her birthday at a night club in Atlanta was drugged & raped on Facebook live and she could be heard crying for help and begging for her assailant to stop but both requests were denied. This really struck a chord with me probably because i could see myself, a friend, a sister and just every other female out there in this lady. Lucky enough for her, her assailant was later arrested by the Atlanta police department. But this got me thinking about all the other sexual predators who manage to get away with such sickening behavior especially in our African community. It got me thinking of the large number of ladies and young girls that never receive the justice they deserve because their offender was never apprehended or if he was caught and he bought his way out of justice prevailing hence walking away free as a bird. Most sexual predators in the African society get away with their actions because their victims are too afraid to speak up about the sexual assault they suffered or endured because they personally know their assailants and these are usually people in high places of power or their relatives.
The idea of speaking up and naming their Uncle, husband, step father, boss, teacher or high profile celebrity as their assailant scares the hell out them and the threats they might have received during the attack don’t make it any easier. Societies’ victim blaming culture also works as a mute button for these victims because usually when someone speaks up about sexual assault, the first question that rises is “What was the victim wearing?”
And if their mode of clothing is not up to par with societies overrated standards then they will say that she asked for it through their mode of dressing or if a married woman speaks up about her sexual assault many will shut her claims down because they believe it is the husband’s marital right hence the wife is in the wrong for even suggesting that she was raped. The victim blaming makes many victims believe that what happened to them is their fault yet that is far from the truth and this makes them think that speaking up with only expose them to further ridicule from the society.
Due to the patriarchal structure of our society most men think and feel they are entitled to women’s bodies, so they see nothing wrong with the things they do which may also include sexually harassing women. These men think that women dress the way they do for their approval and they will be quick to brush off a woman’s cry for help if they think she is scantly dressed in their eyes. Some of these predators are also prior victims of sexual assault that they may have experienced it as children which made them feel helpless and they believe that raping others is a way of exercising their dominance to show that they are strong and they ought to be feared. Some people rape others just so they can spread their sexually transmitted diseases further because they don’t want to die alone or they superstitiously believe that defiling a young girl will be their cure from this deadly disease.
I am also not blinded to the fact that some people could lie about being sexually assaulted so as to earn an easy paycheck through extortion of the would be predators or by alleging that consensual sexual acts were forced so as to destroy a person’s life or career because they know they will easily be believed at the real victims expense even if they don’t provide any solid proof.
It’s our dream to have a rape-free world! A world where our close ones will be safe from pain, mental torture, depression and all our PTSD that haunts a rape victim. Let us ,as the world, FIGHT TO STOP THIS RAPE CULTURE!
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