WHEN IS THE RIGHT TIME TO SPEAK UP?

Latoria
Posted July 2, 2019 from Nigeria

Following the online trend on sexual assault in Nigeria, most people ask questions similar to the headline. We all know the story. A popular clergyman named Biodun Fatoyinbo was accused of rape by Busola Dakolo, the wife of Timi Dakolo, a musician in Nigeria. This incident happened about 20 years ago and just last week, the victim of a 20-year assault spoke up. Sadly, the accused perpetrator is a known pastor of the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly, COZA.

People ask questions like, what does she want? Why did she speak up now that the man is popular? Why didn't she speak up when the incident happened? The man is a changed man, he doesn't deserve it, does he?  How pathetic! I don't know if those questions are the right questions we should ask but those questions are as a result of rape culture or still, they promote rape culture.

Rape culture is an environment where rape is prevalent and sexual violence against women is normalised and excused in the media and popular culture. That is, rape culture objectifies girls and women mostly and makes them feel less of themselves and less a human and it also makes them vulnerable to being victims. It promotes victim-blaming rather than justification. Therefore, the questions we should be asking are not questions that support this culture.

A victim of sexual assault, rape, especially wouldn't literally open up to anyone. At least, not in Nigeria. I'd explain. An average Nigerian parent has a way of referring back to a child's mistake or problem when they are offended or aggravated by their children. Therefore, a victim of rape wouldn't even think of speaking up to an average Nigerian parent or guardian. Most importantly, victims of sexual violence are victim-blamed. They are blamed for being victims of rape. How wise could that get? If you were the one, would you have spoken up?

Also, the parent or guardian is likely to restrict the victim from participating in activities or going out. Also, they might show too much pity that would irk the victims of sexual violence. Victims of such violence don't want to be pitied! Pity makes them feel bad or worse for being a victim. It only makes them feel worse. Therefore, to avoid feeling bad or worse, they keep it to themselves. They want justification not pity or reference to the situation. Hence, a victim might find it hard to speak up because the environment is not conducive.

For this cause, one of the questions you should ask regarding the rape saga is, was the ambience favourable enough for Busola to speak up when she was assaulted? Would she have been heard? Wouldn't she have been blamed? Really, until we create an atmosphere suitable enough for sexual assault victims to be heard, victims wouldn't speak up. They would keep it to themselves because of the existing environment-- victim-blaming. And that is not healthy. Nursing the pain and all breaks the victim until they speak up. Therefore, if the environment was conducive enough, that is, she wouldn't be blamed and there would be justification, she would have spoken up at that time!

Back to the question, what does she want? Isn't that absurd? Isn't it clear that she wants justification now that she is bold enough to tell her story? Isn't it clear that she wants to relieve herself of the burden she has been carrying all these years now that she has attained a status that she could be heard? Isn't it clear that she wants to give voice to those who have lost their voices to victim-blaming and threats? Isn't it clear she wants to end this trend?

Interestingly, males are now careful. I mean they are careful of how they interact with the females which is just the best thing to do. Isn't it high time we started respecting one another? You don't take advantage of a woman because she's not as strong as you are which is as a result of biological differences! That is not right. She's as human as you are and she is entitled to the same fundamental human rights you are entitled to, so, what is the problem? Why would you see a woman as one who is not human?

Imagine a world where victims are not blamed for being victims but perpetrators are being brought to book, wouldn't rape become dinosaurs? Imagine a situation where there is justification for sexual assault, wouldn't the environment be safe for the females as well? Sadly, victim-blaming has done more harm than good to the society. That is, girls are not safe out there because once they are outside there and it's late, anything that happens is their fault. My question is, what about the boys? What are they doing out late as well? Why would they forcefully have sex with someone because they are girls? How is that related to biological differences? Do you understand my point?

Victim-blaming is a culture which must be restructured. Creating a safe world for both sexes begins with eradicating victim-blaming. It begins with blaming perpetrators and giving them what they deserve because rape is not sex. It's not consensual, hence, it's wrong! The consequences must follow. It might tarry but it will surely come to pass, especially now that victims are giving opportunities to share their stories.

Don't you ever assume consent. Ask what you want always. And yes, there is no perfect time to speak up due to the conditions. It might be when you are already successful and all, hence, don't you try that. Don't rape! Just ask.

Comments 9

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Jill Langhus
Jul 03
Jul 03

Hi Latoria,

Thanks for sharing your interesting post on rape culture and the recent case of Busola. You bring up a lot of interesting points, but I'm wondering if you could clarify how Nigerian parents have "a way of referring back to a child's mistake or problem when they are offended or aggravated by their children?" I'm curious how this is a contributing factor to not speaking up. Also, I wouldn't necessarily assume that Busola is bringing this up now because she is in the right position. We never know what's going on in other people's heads. She may have an ulterior motive. I would hope not because that doesn't help to end the pervasive problem of rape or encourage others that have endured it, or will endure it, to speak up, but like I said, we never know. I do agree, however, though, that prevention and looking at the core cause of why rape happens in the first place is the real crux of what needs to be examined and changed, and also learning mutual respect for all genders, too.

I hope you're doing well, and having a great day!

Suzan
Jul 03
Jul 03

Thank you so much for this contribution. I know that we are all women and we should support each other always. Rape is such a horrid act that shouldn't be condoned in any way but.... The story of Busola for me, there is more that meets the eyes

Jill Langhus
Jul 04
Jul 04

You're welcome:-)

Yes, I agree.

Hope you're having a good week!

Suzan
Jul 03
Jul 03

Clarity of information is always paramount whenever you are making a case. Busola's story as touch as it was left a lot of gaps and if we would stop being too sentimental for a moment, we would logically look deeply into the story. I am not in any way supporting the pastor because there are many like him and they will surely meet their waterloo and I am a strong advocate against any form of sexual violence to women or girls. But we need evidence and facts that will make Busola's story sound much more than just another publicity stunt.

Oluwatoyin Olabisi
Jul 04
Jul 04

Pastor Biodun is a Man I respect so much and so I would not want to comment much. My grouse with Bisola is why did she have to wait for 20 years? Why did she have to wait for few days to Seven Days of Glory?

Hello, Latoria,

Thank you for informing us about the recent rape issue involving a pastor and his victim twenty years ago. I could see that this issue has divided the nation on who to believe or side with.

Thanks again for sharing your points on rape culture. I believe it is a woman’s right to speak her truth and she can decided when she will reveal it. For some, they are brave enough to immediately report what happened. For others, it could take gruelling years to muster the courage to speak.

Z.Elias
Jul 05
Jul 05

Hello Latoria,
Thank you for sharing such an interesting topic about rape where the victims are shushed up, thinking that it’s always their fault.
I encourage all women to speak up no matter what.
I do agree with @Karen that it’s not easy to confesse about it, as rape is more considered as taboo in some communities.
please keep posting more often!

Lisbeth
Jul 07
Jul 07

Thanks for sharing Latoria. Take care

Anita Shrestha
Oct 13
Oct 13

Dear
Thank you very much yes