Sometimes back I wrote a post about how blind internet activism surrounding rape accounts for just noise online but a conversation with a dear friend has made me reconsider my approach. So instead of just complaining about what we are doing wrong, I will focus this morning on what we can do right.
As regards to the perpetrators of rape the only solution is prevention. I do not believe in the idea that someone can somehow be educated out of raping. If you didn’t naturally understand the fact that it is wrong to rape or got somehow conditioned into it, then that’s pretty much it for you. So ladies please be careful who you invite over or go over to. It is a dangerous world out there. Rape happens to men too but I’m not about to toe the overly political correct line and act like it is comparable to female rape from a statistical or social perspective
When prevention has failed the next step is cure and justice. The main problem with rape is that the society stigmatizes the victim as well as the offender. People do not want to be seen any differently because they were raped before. Just think to ancient Rome where older men would have sex with little boys in the course of training them how to become men (yes this used to happen on the regular), those boys had no stigma because it was happening all around. There was no one to stigmatize them. Society must change the way it views rape victims to unburden them of the stigma they currently live with.
Due to this stigma attached to being raped most victims are scared to report the crime, and the nature of arguing rape cases doesn’t help this matter as it is often two people’s words against each other when it isn’t a clear cut stranger rape case. Perhaps an anonymous helpline or website ensuring confidentiality will be a starting point to give rape victims somewhere to open up to for psychological rehabilitation if the person cannot get over it on their own.
One cannot over emphasize the need for support from friends and family but this is not to say rape victims should be treated like something is broken in them. You know how when toddlers fall over and they don’t cry until you tell them sorry with your sorry face. It’s not the same thing, but you get the point. People want to be treated normal, not over or under sympathized with.
Rape already carries a life sentence in Nigeria so publishing the names of rapists isn’t exactly a priority but the public shaming will serve as a deterrent for anyone considering committing this act. The road is long, but no one said life was easy.