A tribute to Fezeka Kuzwayo by Sybil Nandi Msezane

A tribute to Fezeka Kuzwayo by Sybil Nandi Msezane

Her name is Fezeka Kuzwayo affectionately known as Fez by friends. She was a loving daughter who took care of her mother and did her best to make her comfortable through all they had been through.

I am Khanga
By Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo

I wrap myself around the curvaceous bodies of women all over Africa

I am the perfect nightdress on those hot African nights

The ideal attire for household chores

I secure babies happily on their mother’s backs

Am the perfect gift for new bride and new mother alike

Armed with proverbs, I am vehicle for communication between women

I exist for the comfort and convenience of a woman

But no no no make no mistake …

I am not here to please a man

And I certainly am not a seductress

Please don’t use me as an excuse to rape

Don’t hide behind me when you choose to abuse

You see

That’s what he said my Malume

The man who called himself my daddy’s best friend

Shared a cell with him on [Robben] Island for ten whole years

He said I wanted it

That my khanga said it

That with it I lured him to my bed

That with it I want you is what I said

But what about the NO I uttered with my mouth

Not once but twice

And the please no I said with my body

What about the tear that ran down my face as I lay stiff with shock

In what sick world is that sex

In what sick world is that consent

The same world where the rapist becomes the victim

The same world where I become the bitch that must burn

The same world where I am forced into exile because I spoke out?

This is NOT my world

I reject that world

My world is a world where fathers protect and don’t rape

My world is a world where a woman can speak out

Without fear for her safety

My world is a world where no one , but no one is above the law

My world is a world where sex is pleasurable not painful…

She was a singer with a beautiful voice that could bring you to tears.
She was a fierce feminist and activist who spoke truth to power.
She was a friend and sister who checked on those in her circle without fail.


She is Fezeka Kuzwayo; daughter, sister, friend, activist, feminist, vocalist, writer
Say her name and stop this mislabeling her.
Just because the justice system failed her does not change that she was raped, yes Fezeka was raped by Jacob Zuma and 10 years of her life stolen because instead of solidarity she was vilified and attacked.

Say her name Fezeka Kuzwayo

Rest in Power sis…


We will continue to soldier on
We will keep you alive as we continue with the work started when you refused to be silenced and spoke of your RAPE, we refuse to have history write you as an accuser when you were raped.
You will be missed Fez
#sayhername Fezeka Kuzwayo

The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.
― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

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.

 

… of kisses, rape, and a god of poetry

… of kisses, rape, and a god of poetry

Life is full of stories.

I have been kissed before, forcefully, by a man I was close to.

It happened years ago.

My mum had just died and I drifted to someone close because he was the only one that I felt understood me.

One day he kissed me against my wish, I told a few friends, they laughed, I pretended to laugh, we called him a fag and other names.

Inside I felt dirty, I felt betrayed, I felt life is full of people who will use and use you. For days I watched him move around freely, I remembered others who had the same experience but we kept silent, wounded, afraid nobody would believe us.

He was handsome, intelligent, and had a swag girls wanted. Who would believe someone like that defiled little boys?

It took me years to open my heart to a man, it took me years to sit down and talk to men without that fear hiding in my head. I swore to myself to always stand for those going through such because of what I felt, but these last few days has been hell.

I have been sick and still yet my head can’t just leave these issues. I have cried. I have called, I have tried to know the truth because in issues like these one has to be careful but the truth is always constant, it will always come out, it does not stay hidden forever.

It is often said that ten people can’t lie the same way. As a security personnel, one of the ways to detect lies in a witness is to have the person write his statement again and again and then you pick the truth from it.

The truth is bitter.

But it is a pill I must swallow.

No man should kiss people forcefully because he gives them things, goodness should not come at a price. It is wrong and what is wrong is wrong. I’m broken but one should always stand on the truth.

For those that think I’m an ingrate, I agree, I am but it could be your sister, it could be you…

Life is a funny place.

For those  that chose to speak out, even when people doubted you because of love and loyalty, I say you are my heroes, you have done more than I was able to do.

For snitches, I also say well done. Life is a funny place.

What more can I say, I have learnt. I will heal. Life is funny, life is real. I am no longer disappointed. People will always be people.

Selah.

Oluwasegun Romeo Oriogun

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

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.

.
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.
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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

This is not about Sugabelly…

This is not about Sugabelly…

Women…

Don’t wear short dresses. Don’t wear miniskirts. Don’t wear low cut jeans. Don’t wear makeup. Don’t wear a cleavage revealing top. Don’t wear shorts. Don’t go clubbing. Don’t…

Why?

Because, if you do and you get raped. You’d be blamed because for some weird reason it is YOUR fault that an asshole doesn’t understand the simple concept of ‘consent’ and it is YOUR fault that that asshole has no ‘self control’.

The energy people use to tell the woman to do this, do that, wear this, wear that, don’t go to his house, don’t spurn him so he won’t feel angry and force you…

Why don’t you use that same energy to teach the man the basic concept of CONSENT? Why don’t you explain what SELF-CONTROL means to the man? It is not an alien word. It is an English word so please don’t be stupid by subtly justifying rape under any guise.

Women get raped even when they aren’t wearing revealing clothes. Most rapes are committed by people the victims know. It has nothing to do with what they are wearing. When you realise in your pea sized brain that rape has less to do with sex and more to do with the quest to overpower and dominate then you’d know how useless your arguments are.

I read some things and I just know some men have no business being fathers. It is a crying shame that a man would focus on what the woman did and wore that caused her to be raped. It is fucking annoying. What do you have for brains? Sawdust?

My daughter came to the gym with me one day and saw that they had Karate classes for children. She was excited and wanted me to sign her up but I was dodging because I didn’t have the money but just reading through shit on facebook today, I will find that money for sure. She will attend. As she grows older, I will also tell her to fight and if possible kill any man that tries to rape her. Kick him in the balls. Pluck out his eyes. Maim him. Wound him. End his miserable existence on earth.

It’s better she kills him than for some animals to now start blaming her for it happening. Afterall it’s self-defence.

My stand is Zero tolerance to rape. Zero. No ifs. No buts. Fuck out of here with your stupid arguments. I’m having none of it.

In 1999, I was almost raped. I escaped narrowly. Scratch that, I didn’t escape. He decided out of the ‘goodness of his heart’ to let me go because I told him I was a virgin. Not after he still made me do despicable things to him. So you see, I didn’t really escape. Then today, someone would blame me for even being there in the first place. You are mad. Stark raving mad. I wish a dude would try that shit. I really wish you would. You gon learn today.

This is not about Sugabelly so don’t come here talking about whatever it is the devil is whispering in your ear. You’d better resist him for your own good. It’s too early and I don’t speak stupidese…

Olufunke Phillips