A for Apple, B for Ball, C for Consent

A for Apple, B for Ball, C for Consent

One of the most controversial issues that could be raised anywhere in the world is that of sexual molestation or rape.

A victim would claim to have been raped and a lot of people would ask what would be considered legitimate questions, not because they’re being nasty, but due to the fact that they honestly, truly do not understand why allegations of rape or sexual molestation can be leveled against another person under certain conditions.

It is true that there’s a lot of information out in cyberspace, and a legitimate question should be, why can’t you find out? But we cannot all be the same.

In a country like Nigeria, issues of rape or sexual molestation is very tricky, because the prevailing culture, is such that women, children and the sexual minorities are fitted into certain stereotypes that makes them vulnerable to abuse.

But beyond ‘morality’ we all know that this shouldn’t be the norm.

Horror stories abound about religious leaders, teachers, lecturers, fathers, mothers and other figures of authority raping, abusing or molesting other people. But taking reactions broadly, both on and off cyberspace, the prevalent idea is to first blame or shame the victim.

Questions like, ‘what were you doing in his/her house?’, ‘why were you dressed like that?’, ‘why didn’t you scream?’, ‘why wait this long before saying anything?’ or ‘You are his wife/girlfriend/lover/sex worker so how can you claim you were raped?’, ‘When you were eating at Mr Biggs, collecting gifts/contracts/jobs/favors/money from him/her, you didn’t think there would be a price to pay?’

The transactional nature of relationships in Nigeria makes these questions, almost sane and proper.

But these questions are NEITHER sane, nor proper because of one major word, this word is called CONSENT.

According to Encarta Dictionary Consent can be defined as giving permission

1. give permission: to give formal permission for something to happen

·  As soon as they met Robert, her parents consented to the marriage.

2. agree: to agree to do something

·  She consented to appear as a witness.

Microsoft® Encarta® 2009. © 1993-2008 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

You are a university or polytechnic undergraduate. You are broke. You’ve called your parents and your mum or dad says they are broke too, but they are expecting some money tomorrow and will send it to you as soon as it lands in their account. Meanwhile, one of your friends, who is as broke as you, says she/he has some uncooked beans left in his/her locker. You check your stove/gas and you still have some left, so you ask your friend to give you the beans. You start cooking, just as the delicious smell of beans fills your room, your gas/kerosene, finishes. You run over to the room next door and BEGGED them to let you use their stove. Long story short, your beans is finally ready. You dish the food and as you were about to start eating you discover there’s no water, so you rush out to buy a sachet of pure water. By the time you return to your room, your roommate, who had been out all morning had just finished eating ALL your beans.

Now take that feeling of hurt, betrayal and willingness to commit murder, multiply it by ten, then apply it to someone who has just been sexually molested.

There is nothing wrong with asking, at every stage, just to be sure. No harm in asking about kisses, ‘Is it alright if I kissed you here?’ no harm in finding out, ‘is it alright to touch your breasts? How do you like your breasts touched?’

No harm in asking questions.

More importantly there is no harm in stopping whenever your partner says stop.

People mean stop when they say stop!

Consent is the difference between good sex and  rape. That simple word makes life uncomplicated, helps you keep relationships.

‘Yes’ or ‘No’ can determine whether your name will forever be linked with ‘sexual molester’ or not. It is the difference between having to explain yourself and nobody knowing about your sex life.

Consent is a sweet word, you should try it… everyday.