AN OPEN LETTER TO RAPE APOLOGISTS/ENABLERS

Dear rape apologists/enablers,

I have observed you over the years give reasons why people (females) get raped. You have spent years making excuses for rapists and giving advice to females on what to do to avoid being raped. You have feigned blindness to the fact that your advice and admonitions have not yielded any positive results. They have failed to change anything and it is time to do things differently.

Back in primary school, my 9 years old classmate got raped and you asked her why she did not say no when her over 30 years old teacher, an adult, decided to defile her. You did not stop there; you continued to use that incident to shame her anytime she made a mistake as a child.

My friend’s 2 years daughter was raped by her uncle and you asked my friend why she left her baby in the care of her brother. You even went ahead to help the rapist to go into hiding when my friend gathered the courage to report to the police. You told the police you did not know his whereabouts when it was you who gave him money and asked him to run away.

When I nearly got raped while collecting data that afternoon in 2005, your response to me was why I went into that house to conduct the interview, when you knew I was only following the sampling design and I was not supposed to skip that house. I told you about it hoping you would do something. But no, you let the rapist be, waiting to prey on another girl.

Recently when Uwa got raped and killed in a church, your excuse was why she went to church to study. You refused to let even her soul rest so you continued to say she deserved what happened to her because according to you she was dating two roommates.

You are the mother who defended your rapist son after he had raped the girl you brought from the village to help with chores in the house. You insinuated that she threw herself at your son because of your family wealth and you sent her packing after raining insults on her family.

You are the imam, pastor, Member of Parliament, chief and family head who went to plead on behalf of the rapist and told us that he is human and bound to make mistakes. According to you, someone can mistakenly force his penis into another person’s vagina. You are just like the police officer who agrees that a rape case should be settled at home when he/she is supposed to protect people.

You are the father who forced your daughter to marry the guy who raped her in the name of protecting your family name. Your relationship with your friend who is the rapist’s father is more important to you than your daughter.

It is you, the one who seizes every opportunity to bad mouth and tells people how “cheap” and “used” the rape victim is anytime she passes by. You even do that to your friends, church members, your neighbour’s daughter and even your step-daughter. You did that when that young man expressed interest in marrying her.

You are Okey Ezeala and his friends who rationalize rape as pay back to relatives of rapists and people whose actions or inactions led to someone being raped. By your logic, rape happens to enablers of rape, so your relatives will also be raped since your comments fuel rape culture. According to Okey and his friends, you are the cause of all the rape going on because of the things you say and do when rape happens.

When people get raped and you say things like;

“Oh but what was she wearing? She must have been indecently dressed.”

“Where was she? Why did she go out that late?”

“Why did she visit him alone? She called for it.”

“Was she even a virgin?”

You are telling us that it is okay to rape certain kinds of people: i.e. indecently dressed females, females who visit us alone, females who go out late, non-virgins….

Now let me draw your attention to how ridiculous you sound when you make those comments. I am a Muslim and my sisters who wear the maxi, long, black attire which covers their whole body (the burka) and sometimes even their faces (niqab) also get raped. And I have been impatiently waiting for your theory on why that happens. Why does rape still happen in the so called Islamic states where the dress code for females is jilbab/burka/niqab? Are they still not covered enough in these clothes?

You have heard about sexual fantasies right? Some people sexually fantasize about people in military uniforms, skirt/trouser suits, school uniforms, robes and all other attires you can think of. Do you think it is wise to tell these people to stop wearing those attires because there are individuals who are sexually attracted to their way of dressing and may rape them?

You have read/heard about how the Taliban and Boko Haram take girls from their homes and schools and rape them. You also know about the several robbery incidents where women/girls are rape in their homes. Barakat, a Nigerian University student was recently raped and killed in her home. Were these girls/women in the wrong place?

I am sure you have also read/heard about the many alleged sodomy cases against the Catholic Church. It happens that it is boys who serve the priests. There are no girls (vaginas) there but some priests still find places to stick their penises into. Do the boys they sodomize dress indecently or provocatively? Or maybe those boys have curvy hips and big behinds.

When I was growing up, my dad reared sheep and one afternoon we caught a guy putting his penis in the anus of one of the female sheep. Dear rape apologist, can we please hear what advice you have for the sheep on appropriate dressing and behavior. I guess the sheep was in the wrong place at the wrong time right?

I hope you now realize how ridiculous you have been for the many years that you tried to justify rape. And as I mentioned earlier, it is about time you do things differently. You should stop making excuses for rapists. Stop telling rapists that it was not their fault they raped someone because they lack self control. In fact, let them know that self control is a virtue everyone must work towards achieving. Stop making those comments that create the impression that it is ok to rape some people.

In whatever capacity that you can, make sure rapists are punished for their crimes. Stop getting in the way of their prosecution/incarceration. You put other people at risk when you do that.

The rape victim does not deserve what has happened to them and you compound their suffering when you heap blame and shame on them. Stop telling victims it is their fault they got raped. Stop telling them to hide. Encourage them to speak up and when they do, do not embarrass them.

Most importantly, as a society, we have objectified the bodies of females especially, hence the gross disrespect we show to females. We see a female human being and all we see is her vagina, breasts and buttocks. We seem to forget that, like every other body the female body contains a heart and brain, thus is capable of feeling and thinking.

We should unlearn this toxic behavior and learn to respect other people’s bodies. We should teach ourselves to respect the body of the baby in diaper, the boy who serves in the Catholic Church, the boy and girl who is memorizing the Quran under our tutelage, the house help in our home, the mad woman on the street corner, the prostitute…..even the dead body deserves respect.

If we respect bodies that are not ours, even when we stumble upon an open vagina/erect penis in our rooms, we will seek consent or steer clear of it. And whatever action we take in that situation should be our sole responsibility.

Thank you for taking time to read my long letter and it is my hope that my words have hit you in the right places to make you want to do something to protect the vulnerable in society.

Yours truly,

#IcantPretend

Sahadatu Ali

[email protected]
NB: The Writer is a Migration Researcher, Tutor and Gender-Activist.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here