SEXISTS, FEMINISTS AND THAT SPACE BUS RIDE INTO 2016

SEXISTS, FEMINISTS AND THAT SPACE BUS RIDE INTO 2016

This year has seen a resurgence in women finding their voices and refusing to be shut down…

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This year has seen the transformation of your garden variety, everyday sexist into… The Thing!

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For some of us that are not comic or cartoon  or Manga buffs, The Thing is this mild-mannered young man who can hardly swallow even the water that has been placed on his lips. But watch him ‘rub’ his balls rings together … And he becomes this huge,  destructive troll with anger management problems.

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Sorry wrong picture

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Yup this picture…

So The Thing is the representative of the Nigerian Sexist Troll Cabal. A bunch of misogynistic types with mummy or daddy issues.

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This does not leave out the ‘cultural’ troll cabal like marketing outfits

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Bloggers who have perfected the art of victim blaming by turning stories upside down…

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The sheer El Stupido

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And the most heartbreaking… Parents

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But seriously you troll cabal guys need to up your game because it appears your bullying game is getting old…
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Of course feminists don’t take any prisoners…

Like bang!

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Boom!

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Boom!

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Oh and a quick reminder

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Happy New Year!!!

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This is all your fault…And slaps her again.

This is all your fault…And slaps her again.

You started drinking when you were pregnant with your first baby, a bottle of small stout spread over four or five days to help with the nausea. By the time you had your second, you were up to one bottle every two days. By the time your daughter – your third child – came, you were drinking close to three bottles every day; ogogoro on days you didn’t have money to spend.

Do you know how much blood comes out of a head wound? Plenty.  Especially when you’re hit on the head with a spanner by your husband. This is after you’ve insulted him for hours and torn his shirt because he wouldn’t bring enough money for your daughter’s naming ceremony. It’s been five days since you brought her home, two weeks since you had her, a tiny little thing who almost died, and you should be resting but it is important to have this party.  It doesn’t matter that your husband hasn’t been getting much work as a tanker driver. Other drivers are complaining about his drinking.

When he is asked why he drinks, he says he has a witch at home.
When you are asked why you drink, you say, you are married to the devil.
Neighbours help you when the blood starts to flow. They got tired of separating your fights a long time ago. Too many people had been hit by a stray fist from you or your husband so they stayed away. But today there is blood and so they hold you by the hand – still spewing invectives and kicking– and take you to a nearby chemist.
Your first has been standing by the door all along; it was his shout, mummy! that drew the neighbours’ attention. Your second is in the village with your mother, he was sick before your went to the hospital. The baby is inside your one-room apartment, asleep through the quarrel.

He goes into the room after everyone leaves, you with the neighbours, your husband to his favourite bar. He struggles to climb the bed, forbidden to him because he wets himself every night.

He lifts the baby net gently. He sits there and looks at her for a few minutes.
The slap is sudden, startling her awake; her cry is piercing.

This is all your fault, he says. And slaps her again.

– Enajite Efemuaye

VIOLENCE AND THE NIGERIAN: A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN II

VIOLENCE AND THE NIGERIAN: A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN II

The Nigerian adult graduates from a tertiary educational institute, or takes up a trade. No matter how rich and successful that adult may be, he must be subservient to the military officer’s violent whims and caprices. If for no reason, a military officer parks his vehicle in the middle of the road to urinate by the roadside or chat up an attractive woman, he must wait for the officer to satiate his complaining bladder or coax contact details from the woman respectively. To do otherwise is to risk broken bone and limb, or worse, a trip to a galaxy far, far away.

The military officer has the monopoly of power invested in him by the state, and can do whatever he or she deems fit, rarely with repercussions. If a private thinks a professor with two PhDs has fallen short of his unique code of “respect”, he can ask him to do a few “frog jumps” and if the civilian fails to comply, the military officer may whip some sense into him with the help of his koboko or that most powerful belt, which has the largest brass buckle you will find on a belt, with which he holds his khaki trousers unto his waist.

Time comes for the adult Nigerian to seek a romantic mate; the “need” may arise before tertiary education, the learning of a trade, or after. I know teenagers who were whipped to within an inch of their lives for daring to have “girlfriends” or “boyfriends” while in secondary school. By some miracle, these individuals went on to find spouses. The Nigerian male acquires funds to take Nigerian female out on a date, or dates, secret or otherwise. He “spends on her”, as the lingo goes. Soon, they find themselves at a quiet spot where “things” can happen. Sometimes, it is his parents’ home, his friend’s absent parents’ home, his university hostel room or if he has been smiled upon by his chi, his own home. After spending, spending, and spending, he is told by his peers and society, if you spend money on someone, you have control over their lives.

It is a part of modern Nigerian mores that a woman who allows you to spend money on her, buying her food at fancy restaurants or sundry gifts, MUST provide sex to the spending benefactor; surely, she must know how difficult it is to come by money these days. The Nigerian male takes this peer teaching quite seriously that he corners the Nigerian female at a quiet spot and pointedly asks her for sex, if the delay becomes unbearable. Failure to consent is not really absence of consent, after all, if she did not want sex, she would not have “eaten” his money and come to his house. Her “no” means “try harder”, so they say.

Resistance from the female kicks up memories from adolescent past — “I pay for everything for you, so you must do as I say!” thunders parent from ages ago in the subconscious of the Nigerian male. The conditioning of transactional obedience kicks in. Forceful, screaming consummation occurs, and a girl, a woman, is scarred for life, because a parent has taught a boy, a man, that violence wins — all the time. 
    
Delinquent behavior has since been associated with parenting; it would be difficult to prove otherwise. If one can make bold to suggest that violent parenting renders Nigerian men actual and potential rapists, how is it that women do not become rapists? Psychological experts who have conducted researches into parenting point out commonsensically that male and female children respond differently to authoritarian parenting (in this type, I class violent parenting) and authoritative parenting. A 2009 report titled “The Relationship Between Delinquency and Parenting: A Meta-analysis” (available at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2708328/pdf/10802_2009_Article_9310.pdf) posits that “too strict authoritarian control and harsh punishment appear to be linked to high levels of delinquent and antisocial behavior… These negative child-parent transactions increase the risk of setting a child off on a delinquent path that starts in the early teens, entails many delinquent acts and persists far into adulthood.”

The effects of violent parenting are not restricted to those mentioned previously. It leads to a rupture in parent-child relationship. The Nigerian child is raised in an environment where the communication of feelings, and later, as the child grows, ideas, are severely stifled. A report in Psychology Today states that the “use of corrective violence by parents not only injures the child, but also harms the child’s ongoing relationship with the parent.” (Available at https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/surviving-your-childs-adolescence/201409/parenting-and-the-use-corrective-violence). Statements of ideas by a child of ideas contrary to those expressed by the parent are dealt with by the Nigerian parent’s engagement of the koboko.

Wole Soyinka, in his childhood memoirs, Ake: The Years of Childhood, recalls how Essay, his father, welcomed arguments from the Wole, the child, much to his mother’s chagrin; she preferred the rod. Soyinka’s experience is/was the exception, and few would suggest that the man has not made anything of himself. The Nigerian child learns early that the engagement of reason in disputations is an exercise in futility. Millions of Nigerians are walking the streets with short fuses, undiagnosed repressions and psychological illnesses, unable to communicate feelings and opinions adequately to parents or peers, resorting to silence, vile insults and fists for such expression. An inability to tolerate dissenting views from others becomes ingrained in the DNA.

The irony is that Nigerian laws protect the Nigerian child against physical and mental abuse but these laws are as helpful to the Nigerian child as an analgesic to a cadaver, at least, at this time. Section 212 of the Nigerian Child Rights Act 2003 clearly states that harm to a child is defined as “the use of harsh language, physical violence, exposure to the environment and any consequential physical, psychological or emotional injury or hurt.” The commencement of the Nigerian child’s early relationship with violence also heralds a lifelong relationship with lawlessness because few children are protected by the law enforcement agencies charged with the enforcement of those law. It is my estimate that every adult Nigerian, resident in Nigeria, consciously or unconsciously, breaks at least one Nigerian law per day.

It is imperative to observe that the closest this writer has come to being battered by a fellow adult Nigerian, in Abuja, was in a traffic incident in May 2014 with a middle-aged-looking lawyer, no less, witnessed by individuals who knew him and addressed him by the title “barrister”. The peeved lawyer was angered by my rather truthful remark that in the course of his insulting my person, and thundering at me, “Who are you?!” (a question that sounds most vacuous when mouthed during conflict situations by the Nigerian to supposedly belittle his compatriot), he was spraying his spittle all over my suit. The question was succeeded by two quick shoves to my head from the “learned” man, who was obviously stupefied by my mirthful and guffawed reaction to his brute force — definitely not the response he was either seeking or used to. Fortunately for both of us, he was pulled away from me by other road users, before he recovered his wits, or sought to inflict harm that went beyond my personal dignity.

Thus, I often “objectively” (or as objectively as one may be permitted in such circumstances) postulate that the most violent class of educated Nigerians are lawyers, those professionally charged with helping fellow citizens forego violence and have faith in the law. This theory is supported by countless reports of Nigerian lawyers, prominent and otherwise, publicly engaging in violent displays; even SANs are guilty of this failing, as a quick Google search often suggests. An instance that readily comes to mind is the July 2013 spectacle of the majority leader of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Honourable Chidi Lloyd, assaulting a legislative colleague of his with the mace of the house. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_zX388EnB5I. Mr. Lloyd has a master’s degree in law; the all-powerful LLM is part of the alphabets written at the end of his name, in fulfilment of the Nigerian custom.

Adult laws against assault and battery are not well enforced, so children, the most vulnerable component of our society, really stand little chance of being catered for by laws enacted to protect them. The violent disposition of many a Nigerian lawyer is perhaps a tacit admission on their part that their professional calling offers no hope even to them, so the rest of us who are not “learned” stand little chance. One is forced to recall a case recounted to me by a neighbour in my former neighbourhood in Abuja. An incensed, middle-class wife and mother who lived in the same area before I moved in, armed with a pestle, charged at her ward, child of some distant relative, for not performing a particular domestic chore to her satisfaction. The child was killed instantly. The Nigerian Police was duly informed and the lady was detained, albeit briefly. To this day, murderer wife and mother still roams the street, free as air, as free as Mr. Lloyd, one should add. I was told her biological children were observers to this fatal administration of Nigerian discipline. The ideas bred in the minds of her children as a result of this incident are left to the reader’s conjecture.

The true tragedy is that the victim of Nigerian parenting does not recognize their victimhood. It is not uncommon to hear adults brag about the beatings they received from parents and teachers while growing up. “I am a respectful, responsible person today because of those beatings! It prepared me for a tough world!” is a rebuttal to charges of an abused past. Like the Tulsi sisters in V.S. Naipaul’s magnum opus, A House for Mr Biswas, they will often recount epic beatings from their childhood. Raising the point that there are individuals who were not beaten by their parents but who also grew up to be “responsible” citizens will be met with scepticism. They will not admit to having prayed that their beater be sent to hell by God, like Adah, the protagonist in Buchi Emecheta’s Second-Class Citizen, often prayed for her adult cousin “who had the heart to cane her for two good hours with koboko” for stealing money for what she regarded as a good cause — the furtherance of her education.

The Nigerian elite actually views mindless violence as the best way to exact retribution from a member of the lower class who has been “disrespectful” in some way. Fela Kuti termed it “power show”. Thus, the Nigerian social class is stratified not only according to access to the usual characteristics of privilege — money, education, power — it is also a configuration of the unspoken privilege to use mindless violence without question. Stories abound of top government functionaries and politicians brazenly employing violence to various ends.

The Nigerian clergy is also well disposed to the use of holy violence, against both children and adults, as evidenced by the popular Pentecostal pastor, with followers in the tens of millions, who in 2012, slapped a young girl for declaring herself a “witch for Jesus” without Jesus’s say-so. There is a video of this most illuminating incident, freely available online, but no law enforcement agency or state government, though empowered by and charged by section 43.1(b) of the Child Rights Act 2003 to do so, has been brave enough to investigate the incident and almost inevitably charge the man of the cloth to court, a man who has been known to brag openly about the affair https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMUWnmW5jPY. As has been said previously, violence, especially against children, is sanctioned by the church, and God. “If you say that again, I will slap you!” a middle-aged ex-colleague of mine, dressed in the sharpest of suits, tie and pristine white shirt, once shouted at another colleague who dared to question his outstanding educational and professional qualifications; office gossip had it he, the threatening man, was once a “house help” who worked hard to acquire formal education. The “house help” (synonymous with “house boy/girl) usually suffers more than the biological offspring of the parent as regards violent parenting. Formal education is no barrier to this kind of behaviour, as it probably is all over the world.

The media is awash with subtle endorsements of violence of the unnecessary kind. A case in point is Wazobia FM, Abuja, the Pidgin English radio station, which I sometimes listen to, eager to keep my connections to the grassroots intact, if not in body, then in spirit. An immensely popular radio presenter, Expensive, a man with a disgruntled on-air persona and an off-air philanthropic flair, often threatens to “break the heads” of his callers to his call-in evening show “Go Slow Parade”. He accomplishes the “breaking” with the sound effect of the combined sounds of glass breaking and an object connecting with the head of a screaming individual of indeterminate sex. There are different variations to this censure of callers making contributions that do not satisfy the expectations of the presenter — a gun shot, koboko whippings, setting a dog, Bingo, on the caller, all with sound effects. It was once my guilty pleasure, listening to these censures but a close confidant of mine reviles the show for this sole reason and has been known to get into an altercation or two with taxi drivers who refuse to turn off the show when he is their passenger. One can only hope children who listen to this radio show do not accept on a subliminal level that such form of rebuke is perfectly legitimate, acceptable behavior. There is a once-weekly, hour long segment dedicated to children who are encouraged to call in and report errant parents and siblings.

One has been tempted to report such “head breakings, gun shootings and koboko whippings” to the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC). Some callers are known to mischievously call in the presenter just to have themselves insulted this way. Would one be getting in the way of entertainment and “good fun” for some because of one’s moralistic qualms by lodging a complaint at the NBC? Violent television shows come on at primetime on Nigerian television stations. Psychologists are quick to point out the growth in crime rates in the South Asian nation of Bhutan when television was first introduced there in 1999; so, a presence of TV violence in children’s lives may have effects that are not altogether salutary on them.

When I was an adolescent, I recall vividly missing out on the historic telecast of the public execution (read state-sanctioned public lynching) of the notorious armed robber, Lawrence Anini, who was executed just a few minutes’ drive from where we lived in Benin. My incensed father, angry at the state broadcasters for televising such news, promptly turned off the TV until he was sure the broadcast was over. The broadcast of this landmark event was pursuant to the then military government’s policy of broadcasting such executions to serve as deterrence to aspiring and career armed robbers. I am not quite sure if the same behavior exhibited by my father was replicated in other households that evening in 1986. Many parents today in the same economic class as he was then would probably be out trying to put body and soul together at that hour, without time to censor what their children watch on television.   
 
One is constrained to hope for a better day when a truly national dialogue will be embarked on, in Nigeria, about the linkages between violent parenting and societal malfunction. It may be difficult to convince a parent whose expensive leather settee has been ripped open with a knife or blade by an inquisitive toddler that child beating is not the way to go, but a try may be worth it. As a university student, I had a neighbour who was an illiterate bus driver, a Yoruba man whose loud, gruff voice dominated any space his wide girth visited; he looked like he could more than hold his own in any physical tussle. His wife was often tempted to employ the rod every now and then on the man’s large brood of children, but never when he was around. “Don’t you dare beat any child of mine!” he would scream at her, the veins at his neck straining, his body vibrating angrily, whenever such event seemed imminent. His children were some of the most respectful, ambitious children I ever met.

They always bluntly expressed their minds, but in rather respectful fashion. I envied them; as a child, that independence of thought and action was a very distant possibility, as it was for most of my peers. The last I heard, those children were gearing up to go to the university I attended. How did this non-violent father implement discipline? He would scream “omo àle” (that is, “bastard”, for those not familiar with the magical language called Yoruba) at any child transgressor who was the product of his loins. The children’s regular reaction to that two word chastisement was comparable to those of Pavlov’s dogs. When they heard it from his mouth, they behaved, and it was always a quietly amusing spectacle to behold, at least for me. A fight against abusive language aimed at children is another battle, and may yet be a tougher one to wage.

If an illiterate bus driver with no formal education who had never read an academic research paper or studies about the negativities associated with violent parenting could instinctively recognize its ill effects, maybe — MAYBE — there is hope for the yet unborn Nigerian child, if we, Nigerian adults, haven’t destroyed the country irreparably, before they come tumbling into this most interesting and confounding world.    

Bolaji Olatunde is a writer and novelist. His Twitter handle is @BOLMOJOLA. His Facebook page is “Bolaji Olatunde (Author)

Silence…

Silence…

The first time you tried talking about your rape experience, it was with your reflection in the mirror. You knew it happened; knew how, knew when, knew with whom. But you filed every scene in a bowl, took it to the darkest corner of your soul and left it there. You had heard the terrible names and labels they gave to the ones who built up courage, found their words and said something.

“Slut”

“Ashawo, ynash dai scratch am.”

Forcing them to believe that it was their fault. That the skirt they wore exposed too much flesh or the jeans moulded their curves and waved their figure before the eyes of men.

“Na her dai wear short thing, why man no go follow am?”

When you heard Mama Basira talking about the rape victim you and your mum had seen on News Line sometime ago, you disappeared into your room, shaking at her words.

“Wetin she dai do for man house? Na her carry herself go.”

You could imagine her saying those words to you, putting a comma and a full stop as though it was a movie and she knew where it began and how it was going to end. You wondered, if your mum would reply as she did now, nodding her head.

“Girls of nowadays, their leg no dai stay one place.”

You wanted to tell them that sometimes, the devil is the one who barges through the doors and rains his terror on you. You wanted to tell her that your legs were in your room when  Pelumi, the driver had walked in and not the other way round. But you fed your voice to silence, giving yourself to the darkness and nightmares for years. Until today, when you shoved away the  denial  and agreed with your subconsciousness that you had been raped.

“I was raped”, you kept saying to the cold eyes that stared at you from the mirror. You wanted to tell your mom. Of course, Pelumi was long gone but you wanted to unburden, to narrate your fears and let the world know. But you knew what your mother would ask, as she did concerning that rape victim, where people like Mama Basira would place their interest.

“Why she no talk since?”

And beneath that question, lies years of your torment and anguish.

Shade Mary-Ann Olaoye

VIOLENCE AND THE NIGERIAN: A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN I

VIOLENCE AND THE NIGERIAN: A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN I

The Nigerian is a violent person. It is a wonder why “violence” has not been inscribed into Nigeria’s coat of arms, along with other words like “progress” and “unity” and “faith”.
The Nigerian’s relationship with violence begins early in life — you will not get what you want unless you are violent. A severe smack by a Nigerian parent to the person of an unwitting pesky baby, the momentary pause in the baby’s movements, the facial expression of betrayal on the baby’s face, succeeded by an explosion of a combination of cries of pain and helplessness. The Nigerian parent, undeterred, fails to register the protest of betrayal and smacks some more, simultaneously placing a single finger across his or her lips and shouting at the uncomprehending child to be quiet or “chop” more licks of the backhand.
This, is Nigerian Parenting 101, ordained by personally by God (or the Nigerian variant, as cynics are quick to point out), who does not mind the parent taking a bribe here or there, or doing something else not to be mentioned in certain types of company, to take proper care of their baby. Parent wants child to be quiet and will not stop smacking until child is quiet or stops the act that prompted the smacking. The child may comprehend in good time, as the months and years go by, violence’s importance in getting what one wants in the world, and internalizes this most valuable lesson.
Adolescents will however always be adolescents — forgetful breed that they are. Many babies will forget this lesson with the passage of time, some will stand up to their parents, either unknowingly or knowingly (perhaps after they have been told like I was told by a close friend when I was a teenager — “If you’ve not started disagreeing with your parents, you have not started growing up!”) The spanking gives way to full blown “discipline” which some unduly scrupulous lawyers whose heads have been filled with Westernisms may otherwise term “assault”. “I feed you in this house! I pay your school fees! You must do what I tell you! You must agree with everything I say!” is the admonition that accompanies the blows from the Nigerian parent to the now growing child. Sometimes, “I will kill you in this house if you don’t do what I tell you to do!” is the icing on the cake, the real yellow card, which for some becomes the red card and means of quick dispatch to the great beyond. This, is Nigerian Parenting 401, advanced level. These blows are dealt with a wide range of objects — brooms, clothes hangers, the koboko (the weapon of choice of the Nigerian society’s disciplinarian at large called the Nigerian military officer), iron rods and cutlasses (both said to be favoured by some officers of the Nigeria Police Force during “interrogations”), pestles for pounding yam, electric wires, the list is almost endless.

Adolescents can be quick learners too, actually, although they may be quick to dispose of old knowledge. If they have younger siblings, their parents have laid down a wonderful template for bringing younger siblings under control. “That story is not true!” younger sibling says to older teenage sibling. “You dare not disagree with me!” older adolescent sibling rebuts and gives younger sibling a thorough beating for daring to think for himself, just as his or her parent before them. The chain goes on, and may be reinforced when they see parent get into fisticuffs for a thing as mundane as two cars bruising each other, with parent at the wheels of one of the cars, mundane in the sense that reason should always trump force in such disputes. The lesson at this stage of the child’s development is clear — force shall always be better than reason, in the Nigerian scenario. To engage reason is folly, the Nigerian adolescent learns fast.  
The teenager becomes an adult, a man or a woman, after eighteen, or so says the law. This man or woman, will be called boy or girl, until he or she has children because a person who has no children of theirs, or is unmarried, has no mind of his or her own (it is the Nigerian way). One way to escape this denigration is to grow ancient features as quickly as possible. Only old people are permitted the privilege of a mind, and respect, although these features may not earn one stripes with the Nigerian armed forces; violence from them knows no discrimination. Elderly men are known to have been dealt koboko blows from time immemorial, by soldiers, for some offence as earthshaking as parking wrongly, or overtaking vehicles at military checkpoints. 

If the teenager, going on adulthood, is lucky to have tertiary education at a state-owned school, they may meet lecturers happy to entertain views divergent to theirs — a most unlikely event, even for those privileged enough to attend private tertiary institutions where it is widely reported that independence of thought is tacitly discouraged. There is a small respite from violence at this station in life, because many universities make expulsion a penalty for violent students, but as usual, this applies to those who have no godfathers. Elections into student union bodies are not for the faint of heart.

If you an aspirant who is apprehensive of being caught out as a violent individual, you can always have a crew willing to get its hands in the mud on your behalf. In the late nineties and noughties when I was a university student in Nigeria, no serious contender for any office at the national level of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) went to the national convention of that body without an assortment of weapons and charms to physically overcome the other. Many of those who occupied NANS executive positions at the time are now to be found in many political “high places” of today, including the National Assembly of the country. There was cultism as well, not the American brand of fraternities, the type of fraternities that killed difficult university lecturers and fellow students. The number of students who went on to graduate from these schools based on their abilities to muscle their ways through, become absorbed into the workforce due to educational attainments they cannot intellectually defend, and then climb to the top of the ladders of their organisations, corporate and public sector alike, will be an interesting statistic to behold, if an international or local NGO with or without a cause can manufacture a figure that will become the official standard. 

– Bolaji Olatunde

For women who walk on the dark-side

For women who walk on the dark-side

This is for you… Yes you on those high, high heels. Your bright red lipstick, your body fitting clothes showing plump backsides, bouncy breasts, you’re enough your dreams are valid
For you trawling the streets of Ayilara, Ikeja, Mokola, Agbani Market in the dead of night,  turning tricks… You are human, your dreams are valid
This is for you on Teevee, twerking to the beats of violence, your Brazilian weaves, 12inches of lashes of nails, you’re enough, your dreams are valid
This is for you, yes you of the dark desires, BDSM, fantasies, role plays, you that like them plenty, like them rough, like them period. You’re human you’re real, your dreams are valid
This for you that don’t fit in, you don’t like sex, you don’t like kisses, orgasm is just not your thing,  you’re enough your dreams are valid
This is for you who loves other women, you like them wild you like them pretty you love to wipe their lipsticks off with tender kisses, you’re human, your dreams are valid
This is for you my beauty queen,  named as one sex but you know it’s not true, toss your weaves my wo-man my pretty you’re human your dreams are valid
This is for you my warrior princess your kombat boots, your low cut hair, your swagger, bow-tie, skinny jeans,  you’re human your dreams are valid
This is for all my girls that walk on the dark side, the edgy, the non-conformists, the girls wearing tats, piercings, nose rings…
you’re enough your dreams are valid…

– Ayodele Olofintuade

Why did your sister not shout when she was raped?

Why did your sister not shout when she was raped?

More rape victims are assaulted by people they know. Stranger-rape is in fact not as common as the one your brother did to your daughter or the one your neighbor is currently doing to your kid sister. So, why did your sister not shout when she was raped?

She was never permitted to ‘own’ her sexuality. She could not even admit that it existed let alone have a choice in what to do with it. Her pre-marriage duty was always to dodge those penises otherwise she had herself to blame. That is why she was born, have you forgotten? So when she goes home with a friend and his penis decides to get swollen that day and he wants to put it inside her, it is her fault because she was there. She caused it. Her breasts jiggled and her vagina called out to him, wanting scratching.

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So he takes what belongs to him and at this point she has become a slut and no matter how she fights and fights him in the process, this is all her fault, what is she doing in this house, who will believe she never wanted this, can a girl not come to play video games without getting fucking raped, I will not shout, I will not shout, he will soon stop, he will realize this is wrong, he is the church youth leader, he is the student union secretary general, he is daddy’s best friend’s son, surely he will stop soon, silly boy – I know he will stop soon, look at his bony chest that sprouted hairs only last year – he will soon stop, the ceiling-fan is white, the ceiling is dirty, he will stop soon, why is that cobweb hanging so low, will a spider fall in my mouth, will it taste the tears that have gathered at the base of my nose, he is not stopping.

When your daughter was raped, she did not shout because sometimes when the person is being violated the soul takes a back seat, not wanting to fully acknowledge the horror, keeping the body comatose, willing it to be all over.
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When your niece was raped, she did not shout because she would be blamed for not succeeding at ducking. She would be asked what she was doing in that office, that house. She didn’t shout because she wanted it to be all over, quickly, and maybe they could all go back to pretending it never happened.
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She didn’t shout because he had rage in his eyes and she knew he would bang her head against the wall if she protested too much and she would soon be a corpse lying in the bush with no one to avenge her death.
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She didn’t continue shouting because when she started shouting and screaming, he beat her up and she realized she would need some energy to survive this assault. So she kept quiet through it all, hearing herself sob in her mind, and waiting for it to end.
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She didn’t shout because she loved him and rationalized that his actions had to have been of frustration, or maybe his bad friends put him up to it, he would beg for forgiveness soon so what would be the point in shouting and ‘disgracing herself’, when this would all end well eventually. All is well that ends well. It will be well. It is well.
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She didn’t shout because every time another victim had shouted, she was blamed for being raped. Strangers and friends ripped her sexual life apart, and her name was tarnished forever.

Sometimes the victim is not even sure she is being raped. She is fourteen after all and she reads Mills and Boon and she ‘knows these things’. She feels certain she is in love with this thirty-year old family friend and he has promised to marry her as soon as she turns twenty. Her parents who think him the perfect mentor for their daughter have originally delivered her into his hands. She is going places and she needs a guide like him – successful, cerebral. And take her places he does. He takes her to his bedroom every evening and mentors her by stuffing his penis in her mouth and bathing her face with his sperm. He wipes her face with putrid socks. And then he cries.
.
He cries when he tells her he loves her and cannot wait for her to grow up which is why he is not putting his penis in her vagina – he is doing the decent thing by putting it in her mouth instead so that he can save her virginity for their wedding night. He begs her not to tell her parents because they would never understand – who understands it when young people fall in love? She is in love with him, right? He knows her father is a strict one and it will cause a lot of trouble for her if he ever finds out.

She is confused. This is not how Mills and Boon describes it. Harlequin romances usually have sixteen year-old heroines but she is fourteen, and here she is, her mouth tasting like plastic, her breasts hurting from his attentions and her head spinning. She comes back for more mentoring because she cannot stay away without raising questions. What will she tell her parents if she shirks her daily mentoring classes? Plus, she thinks she is in love with him and her love is enduring. Is that not what love is? Patient and enduring.
Very soon he will stop behaving in this way that confuses her and hopefully six years will pass very quickly and they can be married.

Then he gets married six months later and stops mentoring her. She is heart broken. What could she have done wrong? Was she not good enough? Maybe he just could not wait anymore. It is all her fault for not being ready. Maybe she should have given him proper sex? Everything is her fault. Then she grows up and one day it hits her – “I was raped”. Over and over and over and again. But who really cares? After all “did he put it in your vagina?” and “why didn’t you bite him?”, “why didn’t you shout?”.

Nkiru Njoku