Rape and sexual harassment and the conspiracy of silence should be a punishable offence either by instituting a law similar to Sharia law on the offenders. I would want to see a situation where an offender who has been proven guilty loses one of his hands to the crime he committed. Call me whatever you want to call me, I do not care and your validation does not put food on my table.
Rape happens to both male and female, but it is more pronounced when it comes to the female while the society and indeed we the citizens are silent on rape cases involving the male counterpart. That aside, If you are conversant with the Nigerian Newspapers, you would see a plethora of rape stories involving mostly men and their daughters, or women and men collaborating to rape children who don’t even have any knowledge of intercourse.
In this Article, I would give my personal opinion on rape and sexual harassment and the culpability the society.
On Wednesday, I was in a company somewhere in Lagos. I was sited with some other visitors and suddenly a loud noise rented the air. At first, I thought it was a fire outbreak, but after moving closer to the direction of the noise. I realized it was a fracas between a Custom Officer and a lowly ranked staff of the company I was in.
I must mention here that the victim is a very attractive lady, that aside, she dresses well, not revealing any part of her body. Even if she put on revealing outfit, she has the freedom to do that. There is no justifiable reason for the Custom Officer to sexually harass her.
It turned out to be that the harassment has been going on for days, weeks without anyone else knowing aside the two involved. The Custom Officer exploited her and took advantage of her against her will and consent.
He has been pressing her “breast” forcefully several times, touching her bottom and the girl has also kept quiet, not telling anyone what is happening to her. It looks like this happens to a lot of rape and sexually harassed victims, most times they do not have the liver to speak out when such evil acts is visited on them.
All she has been doing until that day was just to give the Custom Officer warnings not to touch her indiscriminately again, but all the warnings fell on deaf ears. He repeated that same acts several times later on. Maybe she was also trying to save her Job as the Custom Officer was a close friend of her boss.
That very day, the lady (Cynthia) was making use of the toilet, the Custom Officer was lurking around and peeping at her. Unknown to the Customs Officer, Cynthia had finished using the toilet, she opened the door to the shock of the officer. She immediately raised an alarm which called my attention and others present in the company that very day. She actually shouted “rape” so we rushed to the scene.
After we got to the scene, I witnessed the most despicable act against rape and sexually harassed victims that I have read in papers and heard people talked about on television radio programs. The act is a cover-up of the matter and to silence the victim not to open up the issue. There was immediately a successful attempt to bury the issue within the four walls of the company.
There was also a blame game between the two persons involved. The culpability falls on the founder of the company, the Customs Officer was his friend and they both came from the same geopolitical zone. I don’t need to mention that because rape happens to anyone, respective of their tribes. But the owner of the company started by telling Cynthia not to tell her father about what happened. Cynthia had earlier boasted of how her father will deal with the Customs Officer. Let me also mention here that the Custom man is not the ordinary rank and file officer, he is one of the men that calls the shot at the Nigerian Customs Service. That might be the impetus he is using knowing that nothing can happen to him.
THE RICH VS THE POOR
Talk about how the rich use power and influence to suppress the poor into submission. What happened to Cynthia has also happened to countless number of victims across this country. Immediately such issues happen, there is a speedy combination of efforts to kill the case so as not to rubbish or disgrace the culprit. That is unfair to the victims, it might interest you to know that in Cynthia’s case when that issue occurred, a lady was laughing instead of joining the cause to free her from the claws of the Customs Officer. She might even be the one giving the officer information on Cynthia.
What if Cynthia was the daughter of the company’s founder ? would he rushed to silence the issue?
Days after the incident, I learnt Cynthia had resigned, she only did this because she had the courage to do so. What of countless other victims who their families collaborate with this rapist to carry out the act?
Recently I read in one of the newspapers, a politician in Bayelsa that got a 13-year old girl pregnant. He had aborted for the same girl three times until the last one that got the girl’s womb complicated. All this happened with the knowledge and permission of her mother. The man was dating the mother, sleeping with her, sleeping with her daughter as well. The man was a friend to the woman’s late husband.
The woman probably gave permission to the politician because she needed money against the will of the little girl. These are realities that are currently eating up the society and if we are not careful, we will pay heavily for our negligence and attempt to cover up these burning issues of life.
BAD LYRICS OF MUSICIANS
What of the songs our musicians sing these days that reduces the value of women to just money?
And how these ladies dances naked and the male-musicians cover up their bodies in full.
If you carefully listen to the lyrics of these songs, you will see that those songs are geared towards sexually harassing those ladies. But most times what you all listen to is just the beats so you can dance along.
Our legal system has to be overhauled if we are really serious about ending rape and sexual harassment in Nigeria and the world at large. Until that is done, we will keep having stories that touch the heart like that of Cynthia and others.