Sunday, 29 November 2015

This Past Week

According to the Merriem-Webster dictionary, rape is unlawful sexual activity and usually sexual intercourse carried out forcibly or under threat of injury against the will usually of a female or with a person who is beneath a certain age or incapable of valid consent.

There are two crimes which I think deserve capital punishment: Rape and Premeditated Murder. Unfortunately, in our world, rape isn't even considered a crime in many places. I read an article in an old newspaper about a man who, after being detained because he raped a woman, was released on bail and went straight back to rape the same woman. He got out of prison three months later, and you don't need to be a genius to know what will send him back to prison in another few months. We read these things on the pages of newspapers and they feel so distant; but they actually happen close to us  and the frequency with which they do are a major cause for concern.

Here's a scary statistic:

"A United Nations statistical report compiled from government sources showed that more than 250,000 cases of rape or attempted rape were recorded by police annually. The reported data covered 65 countries. 
The attitude of the police in many countries often discourages victims from reporting rape: one study in Turkey (1999) found that 33% of police officers agreed with the assertion that "some women deserve rape" and 66% agreed that "the physical appearance and behaviors of women tempt men to rape."

This past week on Twitter NG, a story surfaced about a rape case where the victim alleged that the accused took advantage of her love for him and didn't just rape her, but also got his friends and family to do same. It was a very detailed account and very many times it was gory and unimaginable. Of course, as expected, the accused has come out to deny it and has said he is not and was never a rapist and whatnot. 
I'm interested more today in talking about reactions than in trying to figure out who is a rapist or who is not. I read some tweets and my heart broke. Even though it is difficult to imagine a human being do those things to another (underaged) human being, we need to understand that some human beings are not human beings, some human beings are monsters.
The thing most people seem to be forgetting is the fact that the victim at the time was just a little child: gullible and stupid and impressionable like all children are. How a man, an adult man has sex, consensual or otherwise, with a seventeen year old is beyond me. I don't intend to go into the illegality of having sex with a girl who cannot give consent because she simply does not have a consent to give. It really does not matter if she agrees or not, you are raping her because she is seventeen years old. But I digress, let's look away from that. 
There were a series of particularly disturbing tweets from an individual who claimed to be the wife of the accused, these tweets were disturbing because it was difficult to come to terms with a woman wishing that another woman would get gang raped. There is something very sad about it. There's a lot of talk in this century about making conscious efforts to attempt to subvert the patriarchal paradigm, but with thoughts and then tweets like that from a woman, I fear for our generation.
There's also been a lot of talk that the victim is concocting this rape story, that it all happened inside her head. Because of the antecedents of this victim, this is quite a powerful argument. However, tweeting about a JAMB score or jewelry is one thing, writing a detailed account of serial rape is quite something else. It shouldn't matter just yet whether she's fabricating her stories, that is not for any of us to decide as none of us were actually there when it happened. Or when it did not happen.

This past week, the drama in Kogi state happened. There was a lot politics involved, and that meant a lot of people didn't really grasp the whole idea. It was mostly sentiments flying about. And a little stupidity as well: like saying the best option for replacement is the son of the candidate who died; to borrow the language of a friend, that's quite daft. If we decide not to be sentimental about it, we would find that the situation is really not that complicated. The Supreme Court, which is the highest court in the country, already decided in 2007 during the Amaechi case that electorates vote for parties and not individuals, and we know that in order for the constitution to be adhered to, every governor of every state has to first contest in a primary election within his or her party and win. It is not hard. The problem Kogi has is perennial. And it stems from the fact that we are extraordinarily one-dimensional. Our thinking is conveniently contained in 'the box' and it doesn't bother us. 
I can't see any serious change happening in Kogi state unless we make conscious efforts to change ourselves and our thinking first.

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