By Kenechi Uzochukwu
It seems rape, as a topic, is enjoying some measure of attention at the moment. It is all very good for rape, a bit discouraging for rapists and hell for the victims. It does nothing at all for the provokers. Yes, rape is provoked. All crimes are triggered or provoked.
Most believe rapists are insane or depraved persons. This would mean that most men are insane and suffering from one depravity or the other, because all men alive have one time or the other been tempted and have attempted to have sexual relations with an unwilling partner. Rapists are normal people you see every day. They are your cousins and husbands and neighbours and classmates and priests.
So long as sex exists, and hormones and anatomy remain, rape will endure. Men must rape something. If not a woman or child, they will rape themselves. But as women are the major victims, it is left to the womenfolk to reduce the occurrence of this crime. Men in the matter of rape are unreliable. Men do not know and will never know what it really means to be raped. Because if a young man takes a dark, lonely side street on his way back from work and two ladies jump out and proceed to rape him, he most certainly would be taking that road the very next day for a repeat performance.
One hopeful way rape can be reduced is when women cease to attack men through indecent dressing. It has been said before; it has been given as excuse and justification and yes, as a cause. But indecent dressing as provocation for rape bears repeating.
For certain men, raping is simply a defence. For when such men have their sensibilities attacked by the female weapons exposed through indecent dressing and body language, these men will respond to the attack. Every provocation must be assuaged.
But there are unintended casualties and collateral damages to this sexual confrontation. It is the way of the world that the innocent and children always fall victims to events they know nothing about. Those that start fires do not always get burned. How does the dressing of a toddler provoke rape? How does a decent, well covered woman provoke rape? Many times rape victims did not in any way provoke or encourage it, but someone else did. The very indecently dressed lady passing through a side street might be lucky not to be raped, but she has aroused a man standing in the area, the next female passing through same street might not be so lucky. In an area where provocative dressing is prevalent, such as a university campus, sexual tensions are high, and a lot of children in that area are not safe. A sexually aroused man is a time bomb waiting for an opportunity.
Women dressing to kill should bear in mind that they are putting innocent children and other decent women in danger.
But can men exercise self control? Can men look away? Throughout human history how many men have been able to exercise this much chanted self control?
Women know this, although some men deny it: there is very little by way of control any healthy man can have when sex is in the vicinity. As powerful as the devil is, The Bible said, “RESIST him and he will flee”, but of sex, the Holy Book said “FLEE”. We are assuming those who wrote that book knew a thing or two.
Rape must be reduced, but heaping hope on men being able to exercise self control over sex is a waste of time. It has never worked and men will not help. Because the truth is that rape, for now, is a woman’s palaver.
This does not mean that men should not be held responsible and punished for the crime; it does not mean that rape is always a fault of the woman. But does it really matter whose fault it is? If dressing decently can reduce rape, it would be far easier to stage a campaign to encourage decent dressing in women than to expect men to exercise self control.
I will attempt to express the above opinion in another manner for better understanding.
Men get raped too, but rape on women was the focus on the previous piece and it is still the focus here.
Women give men too much credit. And men take advantage of that. Time and again, men have not lived up to what women expect of them. So why do women still hope and trust.
Certain truths are self evident. Any man that rapes has no self control, and cannot borrow it from anywhere. If men have self control like they all claim, why does rape still occur. The fault lies largely on men and not on women.
Most people fixate only on rape when it relates to children. No one can imagine why a man can’t stop himself from raping a child. In that respect, there is some truth. Most men won’t rape a child. But it has happened. And any man who has ever had that thought is not fit to live. But there are other victims of rape who are not children, most of which go unreported and unnoticed. For instance, rape on wives, and girl friends.
Women never want to hear this, but rape can also be provoked. True, not all cases give credence to that, and many victims did not provoke in any way, but indeed rape can be provoked, and provocation usually calls for response. Who says crime cannot be provoked? Who says someone’s flaunting of wealth can’t provoke a robber and in fact encourage someone to steal?
You flaunt your wealth in Nigeria, and you get kidnapped and the ransom measured according to your wealth. Is that saying one shouldn’t aspire to be rich? No.
Is that saying kidnappers and armed robbers should be justified? No. It is not also saying that women should not be free to go wherever they like and walk naked if they like. Rape is mostly about opportunity. Women should reduce the opportunities. Women should remove the advantage men wield. If the crime must happen let it not be the fault of the woman.
It would be wise for women not to go to certain places, or certain ‘male rooms’ alone trusting that men would exercise self control. So many young women have embarked on journeys to visit and spend time alone with male acquaintances? So many girls have left school to spend weekends at a male friends place, believing that the man would exercise control. Such blind trust and confidence is responsible for a good number of rape cases.
The fact that rape still occurs despite it not being provoked in any way supports the claim that men are irresponsibly lacking in self control.
Are we excusing the men? No. Are we saying they should go ahead and rape innocent women because they don’t have control? No. But when dealing with men, their repeated failure to exercise self control especially over sex should be considered. That men do not have this self control is their malady and a disgrace, and it is this lack of self control that should be severely punished. But punishment only comes after the crime. Prevention is always best.
Keep your children close. Keep your daughters from the next door male neighbour, supervise their relations with male members of the extended family, watch what they wear. And stop believing when men tell you they have complete control of their libido, from your experiences, you know this not to be true. Abandon hope in men, save yourselves.