THE SAD THING ABOUT RAPE

MUMBAI: Over a fortnight ago a 15-year-old girl was gang-raped by her friend and three of his friends.

NIGERIA: Policeman 32, rapes JSS 1 virgin girl.

“Was I raped? He was my boyfriend at the time.”

“I was drunk. Does that mean I wasn’t raped?”

“They say it’s my fault. They said I asked for it. I asked for him to rape me.”

“She was just a baby. Did she ask for rape too?”

“She called them a ‘rape’ brigade yet she went back.”

I could go on and on. But what’s the point?

 Rape

Forget about the title of this post. Rape, in itself, is a sad thing. I mean, it’s saddening that even through pleas of “NO! Please don’t!” or through the slurred words of someone who is intoxicated or the worst of all, the silence of a child, some people still choose to stick it into the victim.

I wrote this post months ago but something just didn’t feel good with it. It felt incomplete. It just didn’t sit write. It lacked the emotions passing through me as my hands hovered over my keyboard. So I left it. And then today, Sugabelly’s rape story came up again…the whole story… and I was back to feeling that typa way I felt when I started this post again. So here goes.

I apologise in advance that I might sound angry in this post. I’m not saying I would but I could. This is a heart breaking issue and yes, I do know that I could edit and take out the parts where I come across as angry but then I wouldn’t really be speaking my mind. That’s the point of this post, isn’t it? I digress.

I find it really heart breaking that every single day you see or hear one story about someone who raped someone or attempted to rape someone. It gets even more annoying when you find out the victim is a child. Don’t get me wrong. Raping an adult is in no way acceptable. It’s despicable.  But the thought of penetrating into a child? Or inserting objects into that child? That is downright disgusting.

I was saying rape in itself is a sad thing. The physical and emotional trauma the victim has to go through during the act… the psychological trauma that comes with it and with making the decision of whether or not to tell people…the even greater trauma that comes with people either not believing you or at worst blaming you for being raped. What part is not saddening?

One sad thing about rape is there is almost always an excuse for the rapist.

He was drunk.

 Why did she dress in such a provocative manner?

Why would she walk through that place alone…abeg she was asking for it jare!

 There has to be an explanation …have you asked the person that they said raped her what happened?

 She came on to him.

Ahnahn! How can they rape a man? It is not possible.

Why did she keep going back. Once is rape, twice is not.

Or another favourite of people in our part of the world, He was possessed by an evil spirit.

I mean, really, the extent we’d go to make excuses for a wrong. Evil spirit? Really?

What is wrong is wrong. Rape is rape. There are no two ways to describe it. And the more excuses you make for these monsters, the more you continue to rape these victims. Yes, by making excuses for the rapist, you are yourself doing the exact same thing he/she did to the victim. Imagine the hurt this person is going through and imagine how that person feels when you treat the hurt like a pinch of salt.

And like that is not bad enough, some of the victims get faulted for not coming out to say earlier. Sometime back, someone was saying something along the lines of “How come those women are just coming out to say Bill Cosby raped them? I smell a rat. It’s all a lie jo.” I’m not saying Bill Cosby raped them or didn’t. All I’m saying is do not conclude the story is false because it took years to talk about it.

VC

Why do we end up blaming the victims? How do we even get to that point? Someone just told you his/her life has been ripped apart because one person decided to satisfy his urges forcefully and the first thing that comes to mind is to blame the person?

A six year old girl went visiting her friend. Her friend’s older cousin who was at the house said he wanted to talk to the “big girls” around in the room. The innocent six year old was the first up. It surprised her that this cousin of her friend’s needed her to lie on the bed and pull off her cloth to talk to her. It was weird that he needed to draw the curtains to talk to her or even shut the door. And then he said again, “Lie on the bed.” Her mother had before now told her about this kinds of things not minding her age. Her mother always made her sit and watch ‘Nkan Nbe’.So she knew what this was. She could tell. She wondered in the slit of a send if her friend had gone through this ordeal too.

She was lucky that day. The door to the room was not stuck as usual. So she ran. As fast as her small, chubby legs could carry her. As fast as she could to avoid this terror. He came chasing after her. But she was lucky. She was one of the few who managed to get away.

She was quiet about it. Didn’t say a word. Until she couldn’t take it anymore. So she told her friend’s teacher who in turn told the friend’s mother. Lo and behold! She was flogged with a belt for reasons her six year old brain couldn’t really understand. Had she been wrong to tell?

 She thought she had escaped for good. If only she knew that another was yet to come from someone else and it would only tke the grace of God to be free this time. This memory haunted her for years but unlike the first time, she decided to take it with her to her grave for fear of another beating. It after all just almost happened. It didn’t really happen.

If only she knew that almost counted this time and that it would scar her for life.

That is just one out of the million that go through what is called ‘victim blaming’. Here’s the thing guys, it is one thing to live through the ordeals of rape (the act of it), it’s another ball game entirely to decide to tell someone, anyone about it. People differ and the ways we deal with our issues differ as well. The fact that I decide to tell people that I was raped does not mean my twin would do same. So before you judge a person of not coming out with the details earlier, think again and think of how hard it was to eventually decide to tell.

It takes a lot to deal with the fact that you have been abused or raped. It takes a lot more to live with it. People are scared for life just because of a 5 minute forceful shag. People commit suicide because of rape. Some people can never, ever, see themselves as sexual beings because of one monster (or a couple of monsters). They withdraw from everybody and everything and end up loners. They need love and support. Not blames.

It was Sugabelly some years back…it could be your sister or mother or best friend tomorrow. It could be your brother, your best friend, or your husband tomorrow. This has to end and it has to end soon. It takes a really strong person to voice out in spite of all the hurt. The last thing that person needs to hear is that he/she is being blamed for falling victim.

I should not be scared to dress as I please because someone out there is waiting to prey on me. I should not be scared that my father’s friend or a close relative or my teacher would forcefully sleep with me and get away with it too. I should not be scared that when I do decide to tell what happened, no one would believe me and I could get blamed.

No one should suffer through this pain and not be assured that whoever committed this atrocity would not pay.

Help these victims. Be the listening ear they need. Be the shoulder they need to cry on. Be the one who’d help them bring the monster to book. And by all means, help prevent that monster from committing the crime again with someone else.

Enough of the excuses. Enough of the victim blaming. Until we stand together to put an end to rape, until our voices can rise above all other noise and speak against this evil, until we decide to fight this together, many more shall fall victim and many more shall go scot free.

What society would you rather be a part of?

My name is Ameenah and I stand to end rape.

 

 

 

 

 

photo credits:

https://monalawprecedent.wordpress.com/2015/04/01/article-of-the-week-reform-the-rape-provision-in-the-jamaica-sexual-offences-act/

http://www.whaleoil.co.nz/2013/11/rape-culture-created/

bcgavel.com/2014/04/08/social-media-fights-campus-rape-culture/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ON BEING IRRESPONSIBLE: WHY IN THE WORLD DON’T YOU HAVE A CAR AT 26?!

It’s appalling. Totally irresponsible. Downright disgusting. I really don’t have words that can properly describe the way I see this.

“As a guy, not owning a car at 26 is totally irresponsible,” so said (in not exactly the same words) a tweep. To cheers that rang across the sky…to the waiting hands of Nigerian Tweeps who were waiting for the next ‘scandal’ after SugaBelly and the rape story, she was the perfect prey.  The whole of Twitter Nigeria was turned upside down and downside up. Nay, she wasn’t a prey. She put herself out there.

Of course I have a take….and that’s the reason behind this post. (Hi. I tend to do this sometimes. Explain even things I shouldn’t. Endure please.)

So what so I think?

I think that it is totally irresponsible to think that it is irresponsible to not own a car at 26 as a guy. If you are confused, I apologize. Simply put, I see it as very wrong to say that not owning a car by a certain age makes the person irresponsible.

For those who don’t know (and for those who know, a reminder won’t hurt) this is the life of an average Nigerian boy/man:

He leaves secondary school at 18(if he’s lucky 16)…he struggles through JAMB (JAMB is a matriculation exam you have to write to gain admission into the University in Nigeria) for like a year or two to gain admission into a University. (If he’s lucky he doesn’t miss any year and gains admission straight up). He gets into school and starts counting four to five years to finish and that is not even putting into consideration the fact that ASUU can mess up at any time. By now he’s 21(if you’re lucky) or maybe 25 because shit happens.

Not everyone is lucky with a job these days and he isn’t one of those lucky few who start their own venture. He goes through series and series of job tests but gets no jobs. How can he when even Ph.D Holders now apply for a driving position with Dangote? He accepts his fate and goes for Masters.

By now, he is 23 or 26. But even the Masters guarantees nothing. He’d be lucky to get a job straight up.

So how in the world can this poor gentleman own a car at 26? Yahoo maybe? He might not be one of those lucky few who are offered 100k and accommodation on the side to do a job that has a little bit of blowing in its job description.

Not everyone has it lucky. So to call young men who don’t have a car at 26 irresponsible is totally uncalled for.  Let’s look at it this way; different people have different priorities.

Some care nothing for the luxurious life of a car owner but instead care about how luxurious their future would be. To this end, they find it better to invest in landed properties or other investments than acquiring a car.

While we are at it, why is it not irresponsible of a woman at 26 not to own her own car? Why is it not irresponsible for a woman at 26 to have a job of her own? Why is it not irresponsible of a woman at 26 to be a liability?

Look down not on a man in a jalopy car. He might be the owner of houses or even business totalling millions.

Judge a man not by his ability (or inability) to own a car. There are a million and one other yardsticks to judge a man’s “responsibility” by.

 

 

 

On Graduating and Getting married

So about three months ago, I officially graduated from Oba Awon University (Obafemi Awolowo University for those who don’t know). While I am technically not officially a graduate because convocation isn’t until next year, I’m done with everything that has to do with reading and cramming for exams. (aww thanks for congratulating me…you’re far too kind).
I’ve been with family…all grades and levels of them for these past months and I tell you it’s been hell. Hell because the only thing I keep hearing is marriage.
“when do we meet your boyfriend, Mayowa?” or “So when are we meeting the fiancé?” or the worst variation “Igba wó lo ma mu Oko wale?” (for those who don’t understand Yoruba, it means when are you bringing The husband home).
To be very honest, I’m tired of hearing this. And although I smile until my facial muscles get tired of smiling, deep down I really don’t get why my greatest achievement in life has to be getting hooked to a man.
Don’t get me wrong, getting married is a big deal and is ONE of the achievements in anyone’s life. But I don’t think the sole purpose of my existence should be getting hooked. And I’m sure a lot of people feel this way too.
A person’s life goes beyond getting hooked. There are dreams to be accomplished… Set goals to be met…A lot more than these pages can contain.
So, no. Marriage is not the most important thing on the list right now. And whilst I do hope to get hooked to some amazing, super patient, adorable guy some day, my life does not have to come to a halt because I just finished a B.Sc program.

Feel free to share your thoughts on graduating and getting married right there in the comment box 🙂TwImg-20140708-151213

LETTER TO MY NEXT

Dear Next,

I most likely would be the most annoying, crazy and stubborn person you’d ever meet. Oh! I should also mention that I could be weird sometimes…okay make that most times. I’m the kinda chic that prefers hot tea when it’s sunny and loves chewing on ice when it’s cold.Plus did I mention my love for garri is out of this world.

Notice how my “baggage” comes before anything else? Well that’s because I want an “Us” that’s well aware of our downsides and thrives in spite of it – An Us that grows in spite of our differences..an Us worth fighting for. I can’t wait find out what your baggage(s) is(are) !

Perfection is only an illusion so you can be rest assured that is not what I’m looking for. We can’t be perfect but we’d be just right!

I’m waiting for you. No more “let’s manage this dude till the real one comes along”. I really don’t know how this wait would play out or how long it would take but I really can’t wait to be with you…to argue and make up..to have fun and be crazy without any awkwardness…to have a “who soak garri pass” contest with you.

I want to be your friend, your companion, your confidant…your “bro”(That way it’d be You and I over hoes)…and no not bro in the literary bro-zone way. Wanna be my Ted and I your Robin?

We’d listen to each other’s crazy thoughts and not feel awkward about the crazies. My crazy circle is incomplete without you. My friends are looking forward to meeting that last part of our crazy circle….the one person that got through to Meenah.

So you’d best start downing coffee and energy drinks in advance to last those nights we’d stay up just talking crazies.I’ve had enough caffeine to last a lifetime but then again we don’t need stimulants. A mix of the strongest of coffees, the best of energy drinks and the stiffest of liquors can’t match our love..Our 

love would keep us up listening.

So even though I might not have met you yet, I love you. And if per chance I have met you and for some reason you’re in one of these crazy little zones guys I meet seem to find themselves in, you’ll find your way out.I believe you’ll break free..for us.

Yours in all weirdness ,craziness and love,

The Next you’ll never let go of. 

Rolling out 2014- My “Keepsakes”

This is the season everyone is thinking of what they’re not pleased with. New year resolutions and what not…New year new year …etcetcetc..you get my point,yes?
For me, 2014 was different…in every way…things changed..shit happened..shit hit the fan but we tank da Lord. Even with all that happened, there are some things I still wish would remain. So NO, this is not a long list of what I find totally and completely worth changing in my life but rather a compilation of all the things I want to remain, new year or not.
P.S: it took me days to compile this list. Not because of lack of things to keep but because I didn’t know which to remove. YES! I’m Awesome like that 😀

1- ME: Why me? Because epic epicness (I read this somewhere and it just stuck). Everything else might seem like a subset of this, because I am all of those things. The important thing here is the vessel carrying all of that epicness. I am one of the most amazing people I know, end of story. And I’m not in a rush to change that just yet.
2-SELFLESSNESS: I always have been that person who would give all I had up for someone else even though I need them to survive. I could dedicate all of my time and energy and resources to someone else’s project even at the expense of mine or my education or what not. I tried leaving this part of me behind at some point…I did not like the result at all. So let’s just say, we’re back in business. This baby is not leaving me anymore.
3- PESTY NATURE: While I can be sweet and adorable and what-have-you, I can also be as annoying as hell. I am a world renowned pest. It is just hilarious seeing how people’s faces get when I pester them. I know some people want to kill me cos I’m a pest. I love you too guys, Join the long queue of those who want to kill me.
4-STRENGTH: The past years have been serious trial periods. The only reason I haven’t completely fallen apart is this. After my mum and a good friend of mine, I think I could say I’m the only other person I know with this much strength. My ability to just hold things together when shit hits the fan and not even show a sign of weakness still beats me to this day. The downside of this? I hardly let people in. I like to “deal with things” myself and it ends up looking like I’m shutting people out even though that is not the intention. We’re working on that though.
5- MY SMILE: Along with this strength comes the smile. Good, bad, downright ugly? The smile still remains. Whatever the situation is, that smile just helps me get it together. A lot of times, the smile covers all the hurt and anger and pain and whatever on the inside. To all those with soothing smiles like mine, don’t leave that for anything in the world.
6- THE CRAZE: Some people would argue from now till tomorrow I don’t have a crazy persona. If only they knew. My craze never reach some people but kai! If you didn’t already know, you don’t want to see me in my element. And to make matters worse, God decided to bless me with crazy-ass friends. I love you guys! And I won’t trade you off for nada. (Scratch the second part…I’d sell you off for a kobo)
7-MY GIFTS: I write…I sing (well I can)…I’m an amazing actress (yes again)…I sew (well we’re still a work in progress)…I can make people’s hair in my sleep ( I even make my hair myself from time to time)…I’m a Jack of all trades..only that I’m a master of ALL. Is there anything I can’t do? Hmm…I’m probably working on being able to do it 😀
These things mean everything to me and if there’s anything I’m taking into the new year, these have to be it. There’s a longer list but let’s just leave it at this. I don’t want to come across as proud :D.

What are those things you want to take into 2015? Do share them with us…use the comment box

UNSUNG HERO

1998: “E gbe mi sile o…E stop kini yii” I always laugh when I remember her screaming these words as the roller coaster at the Amusement Park, Apapa went up high. She was scared of heights and this roller coaster was a terrible idea.
November 7, 2012: I’d forever remember her words to me. “You don’t pray for me do you? When last did you?”
November 13,2012: There she was…lying still…not breathing, not moving. The very last time I would be setting eyes on her. The only thing I could think of is why? Why now? Why her?
If I had known the last time I would see alive was when I went to the hospital, I would have spent every single moment after with her. I would have damned my MTH test and just stayed by her side.
But that’s not all I remember when I think of my mum. I think of how amazing she was in life and how amazing she is in death.2 years after she’s passed, I’m still waiting for that one person that has something against her.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying she was an angel. She had her own good and bad days but she was the epitome of everything good. Wonderful wife, amazing mum, adoring sister, loving daughter, Patient and understanding nurse…what else is there?
I remember her working me to the bones on some things I thought were not important and she kept saying I would understand in future. I was hurt and angry at why I had so much pressure on my neck. Well I do now. In the last 2 years I’ve been dealt blows I never thought I would ever be dealt and I’m out stronger ,thanks to her. Yes, I have wife, a mother and home maker added to my title now, not just that dreamy kid with a pen and paper.
She taught me to be selfless. To listen. To be the greatest gift the world has. To hold fast to your faith. I can’t even finish the list of all she taught me.
Do I wish she lived longer? Maybe. I would have given my right arm and leg to spend more time with her. Death took her away just when we started bonding- not as mother and daughter but as friends.
But looking at it from another angle, Maybe her leaving was just best. I couldn’t stand her going through any more pain.
I wish she had spent much more time with us. We all hurt just remembering her. I wish she had enjoyed life and living. Her selflessness would not let her address her own comfort before other people’s. All that unfortunately is wishful thinking.
I do pray she’s at peace and that Allah grants her Jannah and protects her from the torment of the grave.
I love you mum. No words of poetry or beautifully constructed lines can explain how much I love and miss you.

UNDISPUTED LESSONS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE DOWNRIGHT SILLY

I started this post sometime last year but for some reason I never got around to finishing or publishing …but then here goes.

So my mind has, for some reason, not been at rest since the UNDISPUTED awards. This might seem a little far-fetched to some but its the truth. I learned a lot from that little “episode” ; some good, some bad and the others,well ….let’s leave it at that. Here’s a small list of those lessons:
1-Remember those things you always  wanted to do but for some very awkward (and now that you think of it probably silly) reason you never got around to doing them? Well now is the time to start. Time really waits for no one. People might rubbish your dreams, people might put you down but do not for any reason accept defeat before you set out. In fact, never accept defeat. Keep at it and the sky’s only going to be a stepping stone.
2- Even the smallest of your actions can touch someone’s life. The hours I spent at that award ceremony gave birth to this blog. And even though the first post came in months after, it doesn’t change the fact that just that event pushed me to “act”. Never underestimate the power of your actions. You never can tell which one would push someone to commit suicide or which would help a person succeed.
3- Appreciation goes a long way. It wasn’t “just an award”. It was a “Your good work has been noticed and here’s a token of appreciation. Keep up the good work”. Here’s one thing I believe, the people that got these awards would want to work harder. Always show appreciation no matter how little the task you see someone is doing. That little “well done” could make that cleaner you see wiping glass do such a good job your teeth’d be shining in the glass.
On the final note, this might come as silly but hey, we already said the silly part from the word “go” yeah? Its directed more to the ladies. Biko reduce your yanga every once in a while. You never can tell who that boy “chyking” you is o. Some chics were really regretting not paying heed to a guy that came on to them. He apparently happened to be an “OAU celeb”….Not to say you should go after a guy cos of his name or anything. But then, every once in a while it won’t hurt to actually say hi without attitude when a guy says hi to you.

That said, this sums up the little I remembered from what was supposed to be on here. Pardon my memory and the shortness…I mean,its been over a year. Have yourselves a blessed day :*