By Martins Charles Obinna
The stance against rape is imperative and silence on the matter is not neutrality but approval of this heinous act. Like slavery, racism and human trafficking; rape is a continued concern with serious harm to the victim. Painful even is the leniency with which this crime is treated especially here in this part of the world. To say that perpetrators are simply nutheads, is to assume the least. A rapist is and always remains a criminal deserving of severe punishment and should never be associated with the mentally deficient, who are far more better and honourable members of the society than rapists.
If one is to speak of mental concerns in rape cases, ears should be lent only to the victim whose mental health is at stake. On the surface, rape might seem to be a simple act of forceful penetration but in earnest it’s a lifetime scar and in cases of repeated acts on the victim; it is a sore that never heals. The victim is confused, self loathing, fearful and sometimes suicidal, therapy is effective but memories are indelible. Like murder, most victims claim to have died inside, to have lost a part of themselves and frankly speaking, the south Korean government has done well to make sure that perpetrators lose a part of themselves by castration, by the anti-rape movement; We hope to see a similar trend in Nigeria and other parts of the world.
Even more disgusting are the rape apologists, people who claim that rape victims are usually the cause of their own misfortune. It’s not very uncommon to hear them blame it on dressing, attitude and even the circumstance in which the victim had been presented. Perhaps, they tend to excuse the fact that a lot times rape happen to young people especially children in homes and perpetrators are uncles, aunties and trusted older ones, this begs the question — how procatively dressed can a five- year old be?. Even if the victim had a provocative look or as they claim ‘wanted it’, it doesn’t beat the fact that the lack of consent is a strong indication and in case you don’t know an individual below age 18 years is incapable of consent and such sexual acts with a minor is rape according to rape laws.
Speaking of consent, a previous consent in a previous sexual act is not a stamp of continuous consent thus spousal rape is real and a punishable crime. It may sound ludicrous and no matter how many times you roll your eyes or chuckle or claim to have paid ridiculous amount in bride price, if your spouse or sexual partner in the middle of a sexual act withdraws consent or claims lack of interest, it important you respect that decision and walk towards seeking a re-consent. Application of force in such cases is a rape act.
Rape is a serious social concern as it’s effect can be devastating, surfacing even in families and creating an unstable home. Family like we know is the basic unit of any society, unstable families are definitely unstable societies, making rape a social Menace. Thus it is concerning to see the great caricature to which a lot of people have used the word rape. False claims of rape out of spite for a person or as a way to gain unnecessary attention sometimes just to trend on social media. It’s looks like child’s play but in all truthfulness it goes a long way to belittle the claims of actual rape victims and makes the whole movement against rapists appear nothing more than a joke. It’s not without saying that false accusations are serious crimes and has a negative effect on the accused, even as far as suicide acts. To abolish rape, it’s important that we apply all seriousness to the cause and donot use it as a weapon in petty wars of broken relationships.
The fight against rape is real and the win is not far off. To help this, it’s important we refrain from the rape culture of cat-calling, slut shaming and sexual objectification and infact as a progressive I daresay a need for protection for sexual workers is important. Let’s all remember NO means NO and as a good friend of mine rightly put; “a dress isn’t a YES”.