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Read Letter

Rape in “A” Minor

My dear Jil, yes, I have followed the Sugabelly story. Your friends keep sending me materials to read. Some will believe her, some will be ambivalent, some will disbelieve, and some will condemn her, deliberately. My legal training already tells me what the lines of attack will be. It’s going to be her credibility. In pursuit of that, expect attacks on her mental and emotional state, as well as her economic motive. There’ll also be talk of political motivation – “the work of enemies,” to use Nigerian political parlance.Here’s a young lady saying she endured a terribly abusive relationship with a political scion. And this being Nigeria, religion will also intrude. What with some interested parties already swearing oaths! You’ll be lucky if ethnicity doesn’t find a way into the ring as well. It’s the Nigeria way of burying her head in the sand. But at some point that truth will come out. It always does, and with a band of corroborant corroborators. Truth is stubborn. 
The young man deserves fair hearing. That’s as it should be. And so I can’t take sides but the side of truth. It’s the principle of audi alteram partem – a Latin phrase meaning, “Let the other side be heard as well.” Luckily, the accused gentleman has put forward a defense through his PR team. He’s tried to blunt certain question marks. He’s tried to address the issue of sexual exploitation of a minor for example. He implies she was 18, not 17. (And so the fact of relationship is not being contested. I’m relying on his widely publicized and circulated interview). The issue in contention is the veracity of the claims of terrifying abuse by the young lady. Nothing else is in issue. We have to look at the probative values of all the statements made so far, be it the blogs or cache of emails.

What has got me pondering though is the level of detailing in the young woman’s story. There are so many specifics. With such detailing we’re either looking at the ugliness of truth, or at an extreme talent in creative embellishment. Is she telling the truth or is she a creative genius? Are the lines between reality and fantasy blurred in her? You’ll have to decide for yourself, but those details must be interrogated. They’re the cobblestones to truth. But there’s a larger context to the issues – several things thrown up. There is of course the unfolding but rather interesting study of the values of your generation. There’s also the challenge of a society that does not use a mirror. And those other things we spoke about. One online medium refers to the details of this matter as 50-Shades-of-Greyish. Those details, if true, kill any romanticized illusion about 50 Shades of Grey. The psychological reality is ugly. They also raise the specter of what is called the Stockholm syndrome. Look that up. What this whole drama has done is to force some issues into the open – the things we won’t talk about. At some point society will be forced to confront issues of rape, abuse, misogyny and objectification of women. If we don’t confront those issues now, I’m afraid the future is going to get rather ugly for society.

The facts suggest we have an epidemic on our hands. Out of the woodwork are emerging an amalgam of abuses… Cases of pedophilia, of uncles preying on nieces, aunties preying on nephews… Pulverisers of delicate innocence. There is also the stubborn constancy of domestic servants preying on entrusted minors. These are repressed stories and memories people haven’t had courage to disgorge because of the structure of society. And there are societal aberrations we strangely appellate “culture”. I got a letter the other day from a woman married to a gentleman whose family has a strange matrimonial rite. Apparently in that family the father-in-law has to sleep with the bride before the groom does. And they call it culture! What type of culture is that?! (I praised the bride for her refusal). The groom and his mother were in the know, though the groom was uncomfortable, even ashamed of the practice. And there are stories of fathers defiling their daughter with the full cooperation of the mother, to keep her marriage.

Then there are those gang rape videos posted on the net. It’s becoming a fashion of sorts. That someone can post a gang rape video says a lot about the values of our society – our tolerance of criminality. That people can then download these rape videos in large quantities even says more about society. In 2014, the popularity of Nigerian Google searches for rape videos on a scale of 0 to 100 was above 80. The man who uploads rape video is as sick as the society that tolerates such digital endeavour. What have we become when psychological fringe elements undertake the definition of our values as a society? We no doubt have a rape epidemic, but the larger epidemic is the tolerance of deviancy. We are our epidemic. And you have all sorts of bizarre justifications for rape in society.

Worryingly we tolerate the logic of those who arrogate to themselves retributive vigilante right to rape. They claim to be “correcting” the values of women in society through rape, attacking women who dress a certain way. These are the Spidermen of rape. They insult intellect with justification of rape as corrective measure of morality. The idea that a woman deserves to be raped because of what she’s wearing ought to trouble sane people. And we must wonder why the same people won’t rape bare-buttocked insane women on the streets if it’s all about dressing! It’s even more worrying that there is an attempt to make rape and attack on women normative. And now we have a sickening lexicon – R&B (Rape & Beg). And rape videos have become blackmail materials. Some online commentaries actually justify and support the raping of women. Such effrontery is our indictment. Both the rapists and the justifiers of course need a certain type of evaluation – of the psychiatric variety. We must all speak up against rape and abuse. The victim you ignore today may be your daughter tomorrow. If we don’t speak up against rape and sexual abuse, nobody’s daughter, sister, aunt or mother is safe in society.

Please don’t stay in an abusive relationship. The psychological wear and tear is horrendous. Relationships ought to be healthy. When a relationship is not healthy it does psychological damage. And we see the ugly bulbous head of porn once again rear itself. This story alludes to consumption of abuse porn. Unfortunately porn is the primordial tutorial for many young men on sexual relationship with women. Since it degrades women, no wonder we’re witnessing relationship and sexual anomalies. It’s why I tell you, go for wholesome relationship – one full of loving expression and appreciation. We’ll talk again soon. Your mentor, LA.

© Leke Alder |


Tags : Rape

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