The rapes that we forget:Stop the victim blaming and look for justice for the women in our lives…..

RAPEverb   /reɪp/ [I or T]

Definition: to force someone to have sex when they are unwilling, using violence or threatening behaviour

Wikipedia: There is no single theory that conclusively explains the motivation for rape.

Victim blamingterm

Definition: holding the victim of a crime to be in whole or in part responsible for the crime. In the context of rape, this concept refers to the Just World Theory and popular attitudes that certain victim behaviors (such as flirting or wearing sexually provocative clothing) may encourage rape. In extreme cases, victims are said to have “asked for it”, simply by not behaving demurely.

 

-He locked the door. He turned to face her. “Like you said, we don’t want anyone coming in on us.” He reached under Liberty’s head and produced a roll of duct tape hidden under the cushions. He cut off a length and sealed her mouth. He pressed down and spun the roll around her wrists…

..Liberty’s muscles refused. Her legs were bound. Virgil leered above her. Hands searched her body.

No. Don’t.

Her skirt rose up.

Don’t.

Pressure.

Pain.

Pain.

Pain!!

If you tell anyone, I’ll kill you.

He left the room. Liberty laid on the couch until the final school bell rang. She struggled out of the restraints and cleaned up the mess of herself.

Only when she saw the bloodstains on the couch did she cry.

Where could Liberty turn to for help? To the police? To the school? She understood nothing of the law. But she did know she was acting against the rules by first talking to a boy and to eating lunch away from the lunchroom. To her friends? She had none. To her parents? Girls who let that happen to them had been asking for it, she was taught. To God? Her parents told her He didn’t exist.

Liberty could only rely on herself. She retreated into herself, and stayed there. – A rape scene excerpt from  John Oystein’s novel

 

I know any woman reading this, has either been a rape victim, downplayed a story of how she narrowly escaped the ordeal, was in an uncomfortable situation where her ‘possible rape alarm bells’ where going off even though luckily nothing happened or knows someone close to them that has gone through one of those horrifying experiences.  I’ve learnt recently that one in four women report that their first sexual experience was forced-Amnesty International report.  For most, these traumatic experiences have either been bottled up within the victim or gone no further than a close friend’s ear in the hope to forget it, knowing that even if reported, it will still be blamed on her, or even worse the fear of sarcastic ridiculing and mocking, jokes like ‘kulika agasajja’, a comment that a work colleague made to Ndagire, a Ugandan journalist that was gang raped last year.  She later committed suicide.  Rosebell’s blog has more on this terrible incident.

For me, such a story as well as the most recent story of the Indian girl gang raped and left for dead on a bus, is a constant reminder that no matter how educated, how successful, how independent, how powerful we get as women, it only takes a moment of being caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.  We are not as emancipated as we’d like to think.  Men still possess and wave a dangerous tool of oppression over us: rape continues to aggravate discrimination against women and girls.

 

Even more disturbing is the fact that it might not always be a stranger.  More than 55% of rapists are men we trust: our fathers, our brothers, our uncles, our boyfriends, our teachers, our neighbors.   Men who make dealing with the trauma and humiliation of having had your body violated even harder because if someone so close could have raped you, you surely must have been asking for it somehow.

don’t even want to get into how hard it is to get a rapist arrested; I’m not even talking conviction here. How victims are left facing inadequate responses by police, having to pay for the cost of police transportation to arrest the accused, forensic examination fees and other expenses related to the investigation. 

But I’ll talk about the poor men that have been forced to blame the woman for what happened- ‘she brought it on herself’ is usually what they say.  Why else would a man forcefully penetrate her vagina over and over again? She must have refused to give him ‘some’ of what is owed to him, or her skirt was so short, he could see her shiny wet vagina beckoning him to punish her for her indecency. Those slutty ungrateful women!

I don’t pray a lot but I did pray for those poor men that have to go through life with such women, that are forced by the woman’s lack of demure to rape her. What a heavy burden to carry around. I pray such men never have wives, girlfriends, mothers, daughters that some other poor men are also forced to rape. I pray they never have someone they care so much about be raped by another man and castigated because she had to have brought it on herself.

No man should have to see someone so close go through such an experience, just like no woman should have to be raped, let alone be blamed for it.

Now, can we have some meaningful action done about rape already? Outrage shouldn’t wait for incidents pushed in the lime light. Somewhere around you there is a woman who has been raped, living silently with the trauma and deserves justice.

 

PS: I know my mind seems to be allover the place, but a topic like this is hard to have a direct chain of thought about.

Little Note to the Cheating Man With the Lousy Excuse…..

Today,I take us back to 2012, back to a random night in december on my part, back to one of the episodes of NTV MEN, a popular TV show that has 4 guys lounging in Sheraton hotel, talking about relationship dynamics and basically giving the ”guys’ side of the story.”

On this particular night, I remember, I was home, folded up in the chair,  just flipping channels looking for something funny and light to watch, something to accompany the lazy good feel the wine I was drinking had already put in motion. Given that most local stations air tele novellas at that time, MEN seemed like such a great alternative. When they introduced the episode topic why men cheat, I prepared to roll my eyes, and roll my eyes I did people. I also dropped my jaw a couple of times, laughed out in utter disbelief, stood up in protest and hunted for my pen and pad. So much for the good feel.

What did the men say that for the length of the show stole my groove?  The same thing men everywhere say about them cheating; it’s in their nature, they can’t help it, women are to blame if the guy does it, and so on. The guest on the show, whose name I can’t actually recall, even went ahead to advise men to make sure they don’t get caught(I know, right!).

It’s incredible how men go out of their way to justify their cheating, to make their cheating more acceptable than a woman’s. God forbid the woman should cheat.

I’ll start with that escapism argument that men have to cheat because it’s in men’s nature to cheat. Our poor African men who have been tied down by the white man’s concept of monogamy and can only escape its painful claws through a fling or two or seven on the side. That’s the biggest joke I’ve heard since that black Santa at the zoo when I was young attempting to sell ‘HO HO HO…’ to Ugandans.  We’ve all watched TV, Santa is for white children and we are all human, if it’s in men’s DNA, it surely couldn’t have missed the women that came from the rib. We are all capable of doing it, but it doesn’t mean we should go a head and do it anyway.

Here are a couple of things I’d like to say to the men and their lousy line of thought. It also goes out to the top in a gay relationship and the butch in a lesbian one:

1. That boat sailed a long time a go. We are way (over two decades to be exact), past the stage where men can get away with validating or justifying eating the chicken gizzard and the eggs, having the cool chair, physically abusing their partners and cheating, had the absolute right to talk at village meetings for the women, just because they have balls we are not even allowed to kick.

2. Cheating is wrong. Period.  No man or woman should cheat and neither should come up with ridiculous justifications for it(at least women got that memo). But since we are throwing around those ones, it brings me to 3.

3. I think women have a better chance at running with the argument that it’s in their nature, that nature that the entertainment industry has reduced women to. With the way women have been objectified and our bodies reduced to mere sex props(you only have to watch Gal a bubble by Konshens for proof), we are the ones who shouldn’t need an excuse to cheat. After all, we can’t be expected to dream up the mad skills men expect us to have. How else should we be the freak in the sheets and the lady on the street if not by practice.

And yet, we still don’t use the excuse.

4. The argument that you see temptation everywhere and are too weak to control yourself is just bogus if you ask me.  I for one, see temptation everywhere. I watch rugby-that lovely indecent game with big sweaty men tackling each other while their bulging muscles have to be tucked into those little shorts – that’s temptation, I have pictures of David Beckham as an underwear model-NAKED,

courtesy of google

I see hot men around me but I don’t look for every opportunity to hit on them, let alone get into their pants.

That said, I think all men need to be careful the picture they try to portray, careful that women could use that card too in a reverse situation.   I think men just cheat because they can, they lack commitment and as a way to show dominance in some imaginary power struggle. Men need to be careful because with the balance of power between men and women changing, with more women becoming the family heads, with more independent women making the decisions in the family, they become the dominant partners and they too are then open to the idea of cheating because they can, because they want to show who’s boss, because after all that’s one of the ways the power struggle is won.

Just thought I should share this particular piece with you, especially considering how heated the talk around the Anti-homosexuality bill has been in Uganda, share the feelings of an LGBTI activist in Uganda. 

Desmond Tutu
“Churches say that the expression of love in a heterosexual monogamous relationship includes the physical — the touching, embracing, kissing, the genital act; the totality of our love makes each of us grow to become increasingly godlike and compassionate. If this is so for the heterosexual, what earthly reasons have we to say that it is not the case with the homosexual?
The Jesus I worship is not likely to collaborate with those who vilify and persecute an already oppressed minority. I myself could not have opposed the injustice of penalizing people for something about which they could do nothing — their race — and then have kept quiet as women were being penalized for something they could do nothing about — their gender; hence my support for the ordination of women to the priesthood and the episcopate.
Equally, I cannot keep quiet while people are being penalized for something about which they can do nothing — their sexuality. To discriminate against our sisters and brothers who are lesbian or gay on grounds of their sexual orientation for me is as totally unacceptable and unjust as apartheid ever was.” -Desmond Tutu

Opimva

By now I think you have heard that my beloved country Uganda- the Pearl of Africa is not largely remembered for the atrocities allegedly committed by the late President Field Marshall Idi Amin Dada, but by the Anti Homosexuality Bill or “Kill The Gays” Bill. It is because of all the faces homophobia has worn over the last 3 years. I remember that day in 2009 when I walked out of a meeting to take a phone call only to be ambushed by press asking me what I thought about the “Homosexuality bill” that had been tabled in Parliament.  “Huh?” I questioningly thought. My comment was that “I haven’t seen the bill, but I believe there’s no need for such a bill”. I never imagined the magnitude of its effects on my life and the movement both negative and positive. It has generated debate we never imagined in less than…

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