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Let’s Talk About Rape by Dhee Sylvester

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Let’s Talk About Rape

I’m effeminate. It’s a tag that has been placed over me so many times I’ve decided to embrace it because to keep denying it would be implying that femininity is a thing of shame. Moreover, there’s really nothing wrong about a man being effeminate, because women after all are beautiful creatures.

I love women even albeit I’ll never call myself a feminist. I probably should have been a woman even though I’m quite comfortable with the fact I’m not. When my grandma told me some years ago that I’m a man with the heart of a girl, it took me a while to understand she wasn’t calling me weak, or questioning my sexuality.

I also want to have a daughter as my first child. It’s no secret. I’ve never written about myself being a father to a boy because I’ve always wanted to have a girl first. But one thing that scares the butterflies out of me is bringing a girl into this world only to have her raped by some man who has no idea how much she means to me.

The fact is, the most committed but least reported crime anywhere in the world is rape. In the first quarter of 2016, the WHO published a report stating that 1 out of every 3 women would suffer some form of sexual violence before turning 18, and 4 out of every 6 women would suffer sexual violence in their lifetime. Damning statistics, and we should all be concerned that those figures aren’t going down.

I have more female friends than male friends, and I know how I feel each time they tell me their sex stories. There’s always that uncle, that cousin, that pastor, that boyfriend, and in some cases, that father who at some point in their life held them down and raped them. For a fact, most of my female friends have either been victims of rape or have had an experience of someone trying to rape them.

It’s stories like theirs that make me feel uneasy about raising a daughter, because do all you can to protect them as a father, creeps would be creeps, and a perverted mind would always seek ways to indulge in acts of perversion. It also doesn’t get any easier when the men that ought to help you protect your women are also harboring intentions to rape them (according to a report by Pan Afri Med Institute, 52.0% of rape cases in Nigeria involve the victim knowing the rapist).

The Latin expression (rapere) from which the word rape comes from literally means, “to seize”. And this sometimes gives credence to the idea rape is essentially an act of control, which I don’t totally agree with it because I believe rape is primarily a consequence of the rapist lacking self-discipline and control.

But no matter how much we advocate against rape, we should never also forget the big elephant in the room in the name of sex. Sex, more than anything, is the root cause for rape. And this I blame largely on how sexualized the society has become.

It’s never unusual for me to log into Facebook and find most of the post on my newsfeed being about sex. This means a lot of people care about sex, a fact that has the tendency to also create a false notion that a lot of people are having sex. Do I think people talking less about sex would reduce cases of rape? No, but I think there’s a connection between sexual freedom and the rise of sexual violence.

Yes, people should be free to talk about sex, yet people should also be sensible enough to talk about it in a way that the act isn’t portrayed as the primary aim of human relationships and existence. And while I understand that even in some conservative society sexual violence is an issue, I still maintain that a society where the citizenry respect the sexual dignity and sensitivity of each other would always have less cases of sexual assault and exploitation.

Joseph Stalin might have been thinking from the perspective of a nihilist when he said, “No man. No problem.” in relation to the state of the world, but I also think a “No sex. No rape.” ideological standpoint isn’t so bad a thing when you consider how much damage the desire for sex has caused. This is why when I think of rapist, I don’t see monsters. I only see perverts who cruelly subjected themselves to the whims of an inhumane impulse.

There’s no justification for rape, and there should never be regardless of the circumstance or gender of those involved, but I also believe there’s no justification for how important we make sex look each time we write or talk about it.

Coin toss!

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