by Abigail Anaba
Last week, there was a walk against rape in Lagos and Abuja to sensitize people on the issue of rape. Again the question is thrown up: Should the woman ever be blamed for being a victim of rape? The politically correct answer to this question will be no. The woman is never to blame. Why would you even consider blaming the victim of a crime for the offence? No, the victim of rape, either male or female, should never be blamed for the crime.
But, I will ask the question again. Probably not the same question anymore depending on how you choose to look at it. Can a woman do anything to incite rape? This is like asking: can a woman seduce a man? The answer to this question would be yes. There are actions a woman can take that would make certain men believe that she is indeed asking for it.
Before I go any further, let me do a classification. This classification is very personal but it is based on certain observations. I believe there are two classes of rapists. Before you tear in take note that I said two classes of RAPISTS not two classes of people. Both classes are guilty of the same crime.
First there is the group I will refer to as sociopathic rapists: in this category I will put in serial rapists. Men who derive pleasure from taking women by force. Some are even married to the women they subject to this torture. In fact, they may not enjoy sex if they do not take it by force. I will also put in this group men who stalk a woman for the singular reason that they want to have sex with her and exercise that power over her. This is like a vocation to them and it wouldn’t matter whether the woman was dressed in a pudhah or walking the streets wearing g-strings only. Preaching “a gentleman understands that no is NO” is lost on this group.
For this group, a woman is encouraged not to walk dark street corners, or be out alone too late a night, or learn martial arts or carry pepper spray or whatever else she is able to do to be able to ward off such an attacker should he strike. Of course she knows when she gets raped she cannot be blamed but she takes PREVENTIVE measures because at the end of the day no one wants to be a victim of rape. It is better to be someone who warded off a rapist by biting off his penis than one telling stories in court to see if she can get a conviction.
Then there is the other group I choose to refer to as opportunist rapists. This group do not set out to rape anyone mostly. But they do because the opportunity presents itself. For instance, a lady goes visiting a guy even having agreed verbally to have sex, or even he believes she knows its a shagging session and she starts saying yes by allowing him touch her but then says no when it gets down to it. The man is too far gone to stop. Yes, he is still a rapist. Yes, he is still wrong. But he will have a ‘I did it because..” and there are people who would support his actions ( I am not a guy but someone has told me there is a point of no return for some guys. Oh well…)
Also in this group are guys who actually like a lady and would not mind marrying her and they keep thinking about this girl to the point that they force themselves on her when they get the opportunity. The girl may like them too and even make herself available to them but note that she does not want sex. Like the bible record of Shechem raping Dinah. Note that Shechem was a gentleman, but violate her he did. Guilty, he is. But if Dinah didn’t make visiting the people of the land a custom would she have been a victim?
Oh, I have not forgotten the issue of dressing. Again let me say that a lady’s dressing should never be seen by any sane person as an invitation to rape. But did anyone say rapists are sane? Opportunist rapists are just as insane as their sociopathic counterparts and that is why for them a woman would do well to avoid certain actions.
The default for most people is that a boy and a girl who spend so much time together want to get involved sexually. And with virginity being treated with disdain by many, a guy or girl will believe that if you let them hit first base then they should move to second base. Make your stand clear. Have the conversation. If you do not want sex tell him or her well in advance that you do not want sex. Tell them that when/if you say no it means no.
Do not give off wrong signals. Do not through your dress and mannerisms give off the impression that you are easy. Back in bible times, there was a dress that identified women of easy virtue. Today, there are clothes for different occasions. The way you dress to the club is different from the way you will dress to the office or to a day party or taking a walk down the street or to the mall. Do not make yourself a walking target. I could use the illustration of someone who doesnt want to attract thieves not exposing expensives items in their car but I think it has been overused. I will rather ask if you will be thought wise for walking into a bull ring dressed in all red and dainty stiletto shoes? Think of every opportunist rapist as a raging bull and you may just get the reason they should never be tempted with red.
My message to my boys is: when a girl says no, no matter how far gone you are, that is the end. No means NO. I believe my boys are sane and reasonable. I know not all men are sane and/or reasonable so my message to my girls will be: Learn martial arts, carry something to protect yourself but do not do anything that will attract the attention of a human predator. It is better to say it could have happened than let’s get a conviction. No conviction will bring back the loss of self esteem, the anger against the opposite sex, the betrayal and everything else that comes with being a victim.
I never knew I would get to use this clicheic expression. But really, prevention is better than cure.