rape

Why Are We So Casual About Sexual Assault?

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A couple of weeks back someone, somewhere, decided to share the gruesome video of a man being sodomised by several men in turns. I don’t know who recorded the graphic video and who thought it was worth posting online, but it was posted all the same and widely shared before the video was pulled down. The man’s crime to warrant such vile treatment, according to the story accompanying the video, was that he had been caught red handed sleeping with another man’s wife. And so these other men, “tasked with maintaining law and order in the community” (personally I think they are rapists and  should spend the rest of their lives behind bars)  were simply teaching him a lesson.

What kind of lesson?! And for someone to actually record it and post it online as if it was the most noble thing to do. These are not people maintaining law and order, according to me. These are heartless criminals hiding behind the veil of gangs, that met out punishment to supposed wrongdoers and in the vilest of ways. My heart went out to that man who despite his indiscretions, had been forced to go through such an ordeal under the glare of phone cameras, for a crime which could have easily been sorted out by the area chief.

Fast forward to a few days back. I think at the start of the KCSE (Kenya Certificate of Secondary Examination)  and this candidate sitting her exams was attacked by 4 men, who proceeded to rape her, on her way to school in the morning. So the story made it to the prime time news. And how her ordeal had been handled shocked me. In a wise move, she had been rushed to a medical facility for immediate treatment and counseling but for some reason, the people handling her case decided that she was okay enough, to still sit for her paper as she was taken back to school to continue with her exams. I couldn’t believe if what I had heard from the reporter was actually true.

This is a young girl, 17 or 18 years old, still a teenager, who had just been raped and adults somewhere, actually assumed that she could sit for her papers just hours after being raped?! That the little counseling she had received deemed her fit mentally to concentrate on her final exams for her secondary school education. Who reasons like that?! Since when did examinations become more important than a person’s psychological state?

These two horrifying incidents are what have led me to firmly believe that quite a number of people still display some level of casualness regarding sexual assault. There are things that a section of people, continue to consider harmless regardless of all the awareness on sexual assault, that they have been exposed to in the past. Sexual assault, according to a definition by Wikipedia, is any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient. Falling under the definition of sexual assault are sexual activities as forced sexual intercourse, forcible sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling, and attempted rape.

It is refreshing to note though, that the aforementioned video was greatly condemned by many who got to view it. That shows that there is still hope in this war against violence of a sexual nature. We need to take stern action against perpetrators of this heinous crime. One of the issues of the Nairobian newspaper, spoke of parents in Western Kenya protecting relatives who had molested minors in the family. According to me, when such a thing happens, the parent should step up as the child’s guardian, put all blood relation considerations aside and have the perpetrator arrested.

Why are we allowing our children to continue living with inflicted scars that they dare not speak about? Do we want those poor children, unfortunate enough to have been molested by a relative, whom the family later protected from facing any criminal charges, to equally grow up thinking it is okay to molest children as adults? Do we want them to take their own lives because they cannot bare the shame and torment that the incident caused them?

It is time that we collectively spoke up against sexual assault. Whether it is sodomy or rape or any of the other forms of sexual assault, it is still sexual assault. No man or woman asks to be raped or sodomised. No child asks to be molested. We need to be responsible adults. We need to ensure that victims of sexual assault receive adequate counseling and medical help. Parents need to clearly state to their children from an early age what is appropriate touching and what is not. The more we treat sexual assault casually, the more the rot seeps deep into our society and that is not a society worth being a part of. This is more like a wake up call for all of us to give sexual assault, the seriousness it deserves and in the process, protect our society from sex offenders.

 

What We Should Be Teaching Our Girls

If we truly desire to have a society of empowered females, then we need to start early by instilling certain knowledge in our young girls.

With all the outward negative influences being advertised as gospel truth, we risk losing the women of tomorrow to these fallacies.

It is about time now that we set the record straight by teaching our girls that;

strongwomenandgirls.tumblr.com

They should always say NO to sexual violation and harassment

According to definitions by Wikipedia, Sexual harassment is bullying or coercion of a sexual nature, or the unwelcome or inappropriate promise of rewards in exchange for sexual favors while Rape, is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual penetration perpetrated against a person without that person’s consent.

I’m deeply saddened to learn that just recently, a certain school in my country nearly covered up a rape incident that happened within the school grounds. It is alleged that a Biology teacher (currently in police custody) defiled a 14 year old Form 1 student. The poor girl was forbidden by the school administration from calling her parents to report the incident, made to wash her garments (thus losing all evidence in the process) and kept in school until the duration for taking prophylaxis for the HIV virus lapsed.

It is further alleged that it was only after pressure from the rest of the students, to take action against the injustice, that the school decided to involve the law. The parents of the girl got to know about the rape incident from the police.

I have a huge problem with this scenario. Judging by the fact that the school is headed by a female, I wonder why she did not think it wise, to take immediate action that would have clearly helped the girl. I wonder why yet another female, made sure that this girl washed her garments therefore destroying all the evidence. I’m not in the business of pointing fingers and until the verdict is clear in this case, I shall leave it that.

However, I feel angered that a young girl’s innocence had to be robbed just because someone somewhere, had the audacity to not control his carnal desires. I feel like the whole approach to this situation was totally wrong. By making this girl keep quiet about what had happened, it was unfortunately being instilled in her that perverts can be excused as long as they are in authority.

We need to teach our girls to say NO to any forms of sexual harassment or rape for that matter. It doesn’t matter whether it has been carried out by God forbid, a relative, religious leader, an older friend of the opposite sex or a stranger. Rape is rape and sexual harassment is sexual harassment. We need to teach our girls to speak up when someone of the opposite sex touches them inappropriately or in a way that makes them uncomfortable. We need to get rid of that fear in our girls, to report something they feel bordered on sexual harassment or violation.

That way, our girls will clearly be able to distinguish between gentlemen and perverted individuals. They will be able to know that a man who respects a woman, does not force himself on her, neither does he touch her inappropriately without her consent. They need to know that gentlemen exercise self control and do not give in to their desires to touch and grope, like to quote the Bible, the heathen.

There’s a very thin line between being sexy and exposing themselves to perverts and ridicule

Nowadays when exchanging nudies and pouting in skimpy attire for selfies is the norm, our young girls need to know that there is a very thin line between being sexy and exposing themselves to perverts and ridicule. They need to know that once they have sent that nudie to that boy they supposedly fancy, then they should be prepared for any type of consequence.

Young girls need to know that their bodies should be respected by them first before any other person can accord them any respect. That once they have shared something on Instagram or Facebook or sent something to someone in an uncompromising situation, then it’s out there. That other person can decide to share it with the rest of the world or to prey on this young girl.

An increasing number of teenage girls are engaging in online dating and while there’s nothing wrong with trying your luck out on dating sites, we need to teach them that at their ages, they are still very vulnerable. All kinds of people sit behind their computers on a daily basis, posing to be people they are not. That good looking teenage boy whose profile picture on an online dating site may make you want to melt, could actually be a 60 something year old sexual offender preying on you.

The seemingly innocent requests to send him a selfie of yours in a bikini or a nudie, could just be a ploy to entangle you with something more dangerous than you could have ever imagined. Indeed, many sexual offenders have been known to forge friendships with unsuspecting teenage girls, in search of validation and approval via social media, only to lure them into their dens and violate or even murder them afterward.

We need to teach our girls that the celebrities they see online, posting selfies and photos of themselves on a daily basis are actually well protected. They rarely leave their houses without well trained bodyguards in tow to protect them. Their houses are fitted with the latest, sophisticated security equipment to quickly sense an intruder. They are on a whole different level from our young teenagers, something that they rarely disclose when posting their “sexy” photos online and details of their lives.

Our brains are our most powerful tool

We should teach our girls that despite the seemingly urgent need to pursue vanity, what we posses in our brains shall always be much more important. Looks fade, trends come and go, we age, but our brains keep on acquiring more knowledge as we carry on with life. The education we acquire from books, nobody can rob us of it. Our creativity and talent is God given. We may not be the most popular girl at school or even considered pretty, but that gift we have is much more precious than a thousand words of validation from our peers.

Our young girls need to know that they can look up to the likes of Malala as role models and not only the Miley Cyruses, Kylie Jenners and the likes. They need to know that they are not too young to do something for the benefit of girls their age. They need to know that what others think of them does not matter as long as their brains are intact. After all, they are strong women in the making.

Now I’m fully aware that I have mentioned we several times. The we is actually me and you who are more informed than a teenage girl. These are our mothers, our older sisters, our older female cousins, our female teachers, our female guardians and just about anyone, even if not female, who can teach a young girl on just how to be a strong future woman.

Young Women Need To Change Their Mentality First In Order To Succeed.

So everything is now back to normal, I presume, after a weekend’s visit to our country, from the President of the United States, Barack Obama.

I particularly liked something he said concerning women yesterday, when he addressed the nation from the Safaricom Indoor Arena. He cautioned us against treating women as second class citizens. Something that many feminists are very familiar with in their common quest for gender equality. He further mentioned that when you educate a woman, then her offspring will surely be educated.

It was indeed very refreshing to hear someone speak so passionately about the need for women to be respected and protected from FGM, early marriages, Sexual Assault as well as Domestic Violence. These are injustices that happen on nearly a daily basis in several parts of the world. I have read chilling stories of women from the DRC who have had to endure continuous gang rape from soldiers.

One particular story stood out for me, of a Female Activist from the same country, who got gang raped as a result of her Activism. She is currently in one of the refugee camps in our country. It was heartbreaking to read about the kind of horrors that women from war torn countries have to endure.And especially women trying to advocate for change.

Indeed, I felt very lucky to be a Kenyan and from a country that has endured relative peace since Independence. And as much as ethnic clashes happen in certain parts of our country, as well as the 2007 post-election violence, majority of the women in Kenya have been safe.

I believe that the President of the United States had a very strong point in suggesting that the rights of women should be respected. He seemed particularly impressed by the young women in our country, with an entrepreneurial spirit as well as a zeal to champion for women’s rights. As a father to daughters himself and the president of a Superpower, he indeed understands perfectly the contribution of all genders to a society.

However, I think that the young women of this generation in our country, need to first change their mentality in order to be successful. When compared to other nations in the world where oppression of women is rampant, it is evident that Kenya is way ahead on matters gender equality.

Nowadays, literally every home in Kenya would love to have educated daughters. Educating daughters in more recent times has stopped being seen as a waste of time. And educated women in our country, have gone ahead to do amazing things as evidenced by the likes of, Nobel Peace Laureate Wangari Maathai, The Honorable Phoebe Asiyo and the first Kenyan woman judge, Lady Justice Effie Owuor among many others.

With changing times though and an over emphasis on vanity at the expense of intellect, an ever increasing number of young women, is no longer interested in being recognized for their extraordinary strides and contributions they have made to the society. This phenomenon is worsened further by the emergence of the socialite trend as well as the excessive glorification of celebrities.

Young women of this generation, whether educated or not, have been led to firmly believe that with the right looks and physique, then instant success will land at their doorsteps. Focusing on a specific area of specialization in their quest for success is dismissed as drab and uninspiring. This outlook has become deeply entrenched in the young women of today, that they do not imagine themselves taking up a venture that is considered for the “lower, uneducated class”.

It is evident in our country at the moment, that unemployment levels are particularly high. Most of the lecturers who taught me a couple of units in Campus, would occasionally encourage us not to anticipate for employment as soon as we graduated. Each one of us is gifted in certain areas and according to one Myles Monroe, we go to school to perfect our giftings. Our lecturers’ point was to utilize our giftings as well as the knowledge we have since acquired in school, to be able to gainfully employ ourselves.

But who wants to work so hard at self employment, when a sexy body, further perfected at the gym, numerous invitations to social events, a rich boyfriend as well as a horde of selfies on social media, can make you the money you would like to have. The society of recent years, teaches young women to exploit their vanity to their maximum benefit. It teaches young women that sitting behind a desk in the corporate world, driving the latest car model and living the good life is all that entails to be accorded the “successful” status.

Many young women have since ceased to exploit their talents. They would rather stay in uninspiring jobs than take up a business venture, that may need them to start low, may be unpredictable financially in the initial stages and may demand a lot of dedication from their part. Most of these successful entrepreneurs we see today started from somewhere. And if you follow up on their stories, they may have started from the lowest point that you could ever imagine. It only took a step of faith and zeal on their part, to be where they are today.

World leaders such as President Barack Obama and the likes, may ramble about the need for young women to be empowered and educated day and night, to no avail if at all the mentality is still the same. If young women are not willing to stop viewing other occupations as those reserved for the classless and uneducated in society. If young women want to take the easy route to success by using their bodies and looks to that effect. And if young women decide to pay attention to what other young women think of them.

As a young woman, I believe that the path to success starts when we are willing to focus on something we know we are good at, no matter how challenging it may seem. When we stop bothering with what society says about women in general. And when we open our minds to other different, possible prospects other than what is being portrayed to us as the trend.

Have a thoughtful week!

Speaking against sexual violation of women.

Sex is a beautiful act: sweet and memorable.

However, the beauty of sex is at certain times trashed in the event of rape or forced sex amongst couples or people who know each other.

A section of the opposite gender, seem to have a huge problem understanding why a woman they took out on a first date, bought her drinks, got her drunk, took her up to their room and had sex with her in her drunk state, may feel offended or even sexually violated the morning after. They may even accuse her of acting childish yet she is a grown up who had full knowledge that in the setting they were in, the previous night, sex was inevitable. Another smaller section believes that when a woman shows up at your doorstep visiting, you just have to get into her panties whether she wants it or not. Apparently, after you start the deed, she will automatically enjoy it and will only be seeming to say NO because she doesn’t want to seem too eager. After all, women have been trained not to act too eager in the event of sex. Those men who still believe that when a woman says NO she actually means a YES. And you might think that in modern times this notion amongst some men has finally disappeared. Forgive me for bursting your bubble but sadly, from the look of some unfortunate situations, it hasn’t quite faded into oblivion.

I was reading a certain article recently concerning the New Delhi rapists who assaulted gravely and raped a 23 year old woman before throwing her out of a moving bus. For those who kept up with the story, they know how the deed sparked outrage and demonstrations in India condemning sexual violence against women. However, when one of the rapists was recently interviewed by a certain journalist, he seemed to express no remorse at all and actually claimed that had the victim not fought back, then she could still be alive by now or something of the sort. How sick can that get?

Back home, the media has been awash in the past couple of days, with the story of a parliamentarian who is alleged to have raped a 29 year old married woman who had the intention of doing business with him. Now i did not want to talk about that incident too soon on my blog, because of the conflicting reports with people now starting to choose sides. Others believed that the married woman was at fault for hanging out with a man, who by the way happens to be her husband’s friend, at 10 in the night. Yet others believed the rape claims leveled against the said parliamentarian. Well, the DNA tests were taken and the results came out positive and frankly, i still don’t know what to make of that story until the final verdict, as the case is still ongoing in our local courts.

Many times we have also joked with our girlfriends about incidents where certain men took us out on first dates with the intention of getting kinky as the night progressed, and how we came up with all sorts of crazy excuses to get out of the situation. One spoke of how she had to feign stomach ulcer pain to the extent of vomiting so that she could be dropped back home safely after a night out with some men friends. Another feigned a diarrhea bout. Others had to come up with imaginary dates so that the man would remain eager, as you managed to escape this time round from having to sleep with him and probably for good.

A sister of one of my roommates when i resided in the hostel, was unfortunate to escape with cuts on her fingers after a man she and her friends decided to hang out with, got violent when they couldn’t have sex with him and started throwing beer bottles at them in his house. As if to add salt to injury, he threw them out of the house past 1 am leaving them to their own devices and they ended up spending a night in a hotel lobby where the receptionist was gracious enough to allow them. The reason for all these gimmicks is usually the fact that some small section of men believe that women have to pay for the dates and good times with their bodies. And we have therefore resorted to arming ourselves with extra cab money while going out on dates with people we don’t really trust their intentions with us, in case things get ugly.

I am all for the `carrying extra money’ idea as a way of trying to protect ourselves. But as a woman, at times i find myself concluding that we could avoid those dates altogether where we feel like the man wants something we can’t give from us. I’m sure some women have not been that lucky to get off easily and ended up feeling dirty and violated afterward because of the deed. The sad reality is that many fail to report these unfortunate incidences because they firmly believe that they are at fault for going out with this man or for actually taking themselves to his house. According to them, nobody took them there forcefully and therefore it would be hard to prove anything nor to get anyone to believe their claims. I don’t blame them whatsoever in feeling that way. I actually empathize with their predicament.

However, let me make it clear to all and sundry that forced sex is equivalent to rape. Just the fact that one of the parties wasn’t willing qualifies it to be rape. It doesn’t matter whether you took yourself to his house or to his car willingly or not. A man who forces himself on a woman without her consent is actually a chauvinist who has misplaced notions of sex and downright malicious. He is lacking in any ounce of morality and probably battles self esteem issues and therefore deserves to be punished for his deeds and i really wish that was very possible in situations such as these where the women feel at fault. It is high time we called a spade a spade and not a big spoon and outlined clearly what is equivalent to sexual violation of women. It is so sad that when women get raped some people take it upon themselves to point fingers at how they were dressed and where they were walking at the time of the incident or in whose company they were in as a justification for the rape. Instead of empathizing with these women, society sometimes castigates them and further wounds them.

It is for this reason that i at times feel that if women are in a position to protect themselves in certain situations, then they should. Women are equipped with strong instincts and i thank our heavenly father greatly for that. It is that same instinct that warns us beforehand of a man’s ill intentions when he is asking us to meet him somewhere or to go somewhere with him. It doesn’t matter how much acquainted with that man we are. If we feel it within that something is not right, then we better forgo the date or whatever plans we had planned with him. It is better to be the dull girl who misses out on all the fun than the girl who readily agrees on a weekend out of town with some obviously `sex hungry’ man, only to have him force himself on her. Any man who feels the need to be paid for drinks, food and excursions or trips out of town with a woman’s body is only a perverted misogynist.

It is high time that everyone understood that rape is never the victim’s fault and neither is forced sex. It is also high time that women understood that there are indeed men out there, who respect women and would never force themselves on a woman even when in privacy with her and not the misplaced notion that all men are after sex. It is only then that they will have enough confidence to call forced sex what exactly it is and not to feel like they deserved it.