On Rape Culture: I have Stories To Tell #GenerationEquality
It's the international day to end violence against women and the UN Women's keen attention to #EndRapeCulture is needful in my opinion.
On this one, I have a lot of stories to tell. Of mute women teaching their hearts to love and adapt to a world of 'roaming beasts' among people.
Bottled up anxiety when she meets someone new, "what if he is lying when he says he cares about me?", "maybe he has another agenda up his sleeves. Why does he want me?", "Must be like the last one", I always get myself into this mess, better stay on my own before I get more things to bawl about for hours, close to death only to be silent about because being raped by someone I care about is my fault'.
"I should not have been there in the first place", her recurring retort.
It's a never ending stream of bitter thoughts for women who have faced abuse and UN reports have shown that 3 out of every 4 women abused were hurt by someone they love. As coined by my favourite play ever made, the woman "raped by invitation" does not have a say, she does not deserve justice. How does she begin to explain that she allowed this man into her home or walked into his own willingly, that she grew fond of him, that they went out to dinner and laughed at similar things. That she expressed her frustrations to him and he held her close dotting the air between them with promises of "you're going to be okay". When home is the torture house. When comfort is the danger zone. How does a woman explain that she loves him but he raped her. That the stranger she was protecting herself from never came, he was right there, all along on the wrong side of the door.
Warm nights turn cold for millions of women in Africa. Stop a random girl in the street but be polite, her jabbing stare and prolonged sigh before she walks away has a reason. But if you find one like me, ask her what it's like to love, be broken , clean up in silence and love again at the risk of being abused. It's an endless stream of hope and anxiety.
Every new relationship prospect is suspect, maybe boys just love to stomp on flower beds, will a girl like me be more tender? Will she understand the dark circles, maps around my eyes when I laugh deeply from my heart? Every bout, a well of tears condensed.
On this matter of #endviolenceagainstwomen I have stories to tell. Albeit incoherent but of a million and two girls in one. Ask them what happens when they trust, no one really wants to know how she picked herself up. Wiped off her maskara smudged face and pulled down her dress with bruised fingers and quivering thighs, a job well done.
Ask her how she lay still, begged him to wear a condom as she spread her legs apart for hell to have its way on earth. In pieces of silence. But if she ignores you, if she walks away as you call out to her in the street let her be, she is protecting herself in a society that has declared her voice a crime.
Shame is the companion of this girl you cat call. Shame walks her down street corners as she begs for her life, shame in the board room, shame at the bar, shame in the class, shame at home on her knees begging her father to forgive her, shame in the night as she contemplates, "a pill or a baby". Shame on the operation table, shame with the DandC tools, shame when he says she is too tight for the operation, shame when he pulls his pants down to open her up. Shame on the monster, shame on the beast who hates flowers.
If she walks out on you let her be.
On this matter of #nomeansno I have stories to tell. Of a girl too many. "I love you but I'm not ready", since when did bodies on bodies become proof of affection. If love is a gift then why is she paying? If rape is a dream then why does she feel it?
If she opens her mouth to speak to you, you better listen.
"No is the first word I will teach my daughter and I will show her how to match her No with flight and fight". If she says this to you, listen.
There is violence here and it goes beyond low cut dresses. The general entitlement one feels towards another's body, " what are you hiding?", "What have we not seen?", " This one is young and helpless, let's teach her a lesson."
Rape is an invading mindset that breaks bodies and shatters souls. So, we say 'No' in a thousand ways until we need say 'No' more.
-why she does what she does.
In Nigerian I stand for the implementation of the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act (VAPP) 2015
Let's end this menace.