I was hoping I would be back here with something fun, and light, and fluffy. I was going to tell you a little bit of what I’ve been doing with Good Intentions. I was, maybe, going to let you have a peak into the early stages of my character sketches. I was going to let you know how The (Unnamed) Book Club was going, and share some of the discussions on our book of the month.
But, I’m not.
Over the past few days, I’ve read about 3 rapes. Two fictional from J.R. Ward’s Lover Reborn, and Lola Shoneyin’s The Secret Lives of Baba Segis Wives. The non-fictional rape was the one that happened recently in India.
Normally, I avoid gory news. I don’t think my knowing anything about it does anything for the victims or the situation. All that happens is that I get disturbed, and depressed. So I had been avoiding reading about the Indian rape case. I had noticed mentions of it on twitter, but I never followed the links. Then yesterday, my BFF, Cho, sent me a link and asked me to read and leave a comment. I asked if she had written it. She said no, but that it had made her angry and she wanted my opinion.
So I read it, or started it, then stopped half way. It was upsetting. Doubly so, because the writer was upset, and seemed to be writing on much more than the Indian rape case. The point of the piece that had annoyed my friend was that the lady said Nigeria has a culture of rape, and that women are raped here everyday and nothing is done.
I agree with the writer to a point. There is a culture of rape here, but much more pervasive is the culture of chauvinism. Rape is the fruit of Chauvinism. A culture that considers women as tools and toys. Women are not persons with thoughts, and dreams, but objects of pleasure, procreation or servitude. In both traditional and modern culture, women are second class citizens. If a woman is raped, it is because she did not dress right, she walked down the wrong road, she went to the wrong party/house/room, she trusted the wrong person, or she offended the wrong person.
Why didn’t she make better choices?
If she was raped as part of a robbery, why didn’t she lock the doors? Why didn’t she hide in her room? Why did she come out in her nightie?
Come to think of it, how dare she go around with a vagina? Doesn’t she know that she is putting herself in danger?
So generation after generation, we live in fear. We trust no one. Not brothers. Not uncles, cousins, teachers or friends. We have vaginas. We are victims waiting to happen. But there is a part of me that rebels against this, Scripture keeps running through my brain – God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind. So how can I live in fear of anything with a penis, and still be walking in the fullness of God? Where do the two meet?
I’m honestly befuddled.
Because I live in fear. I have a daughter now who goes to school. Everyday she comes home, I watch her carefully especially when I give her a bath. Is she okay? Did anybody touch her?
Where does it stop?
When will men teach their sons that women are not toys? That stacking sexual conquest on top sexual conquest does not make you a man but a whore? When will men teach their sons not to rape?