The incidents of rape are on the increase and unfortunately many more women will be raped. Probably some are being raped right now. One story that fascinates me happened a long time ago. I titled it “The Rape of Tola”
The Rape of Tola
Dan had a beautiful sister named Tola. And Gerald, her half-brother, fell desperately in love with her.
Gerald became so obsessed with Tola that he became ill. She was a virgin, and Gerald thought he could never have her.
But Gerald had a very crafty friend (who was also his cousin) Joseph.
One day Joseph said to Gerald, “What’s the trouble? Why should the son of a Governor look so dejected morning after morning? “So Gerald told him, “I am in love with Tola, my brother Dan’s sister.”
“Well,” Joseph said, “I’ll tell you what to do. Go back to bed and pretend you are ill. When your father (the State Governor) comes to see you, ask him to let Tola come and prepare some food for you. Tell him you’ll feel better if she prepares it as you watch and feeds you with her own hands.”
So Gerald lay down and pretended to be sick. And when the Governor came to see him, Gerald asked him, “Please let my sister Tola come and cook my favorite dish as I watch. Then I can eat it from her own hands.”
So the Governor agreed and sent Tola to Gerald’s house to prepare some food for him.
When Tola arrived at Gerald’s house, she went to the place where he was lying down so he could watch her mix some dough. Then she baked his favorite dish for him.
But when she set the serving tray before him, he refused to eat. “Everyone get out of here,” Gerald told his servants. So they all left.
Then he said to Tola, “Now bring the food into my bedroom and feed it to me here.” So Tola took his favorite dish to him.
But as she was feeding him, he grabbed her and demanded, “Come to bed with me, my darling sister.”
“No, my brother!” she cried. “Don’t be foolish! Don’t do this to me! Such wicked things aren’t done in our culture.
Where could I go in my shame? And you would be called one of the greatest fools. Please, just speak to the Governor about it, and he will let you marry me.”
But Gerald wouldn’t listen to her, and since he was stronger than she was, he raped her.
The above story from 2 Samuel Chapter 13:1-8 (New Living Translation) is a true life biblical story of Amnon and Tamar, David’s Children. I just changed the names to get attention to it. It happened about 900 BC almost 3000 years ago. This means that if people were raped then, they will be raped now and may still be raped in the future.
Rape is an agelong sexual assault and unfortunately women are more victims than men. There are more people being raped than are reported globally. This is mostly due to victim shaming, fear of reprisal, fear of family knowing, cultural discrimination, cases not being taken seriously by law enforcement, and possible lack of prosecution for the perpetrator, victimization or outright coverup by family. There is a story of a woman who discovered that her husband was assaulting her daughter (his step daughter). She could not bear other family members to know and so instructed her daughter to remain silent about it.
The whole idea of rape is so repulsive and I hate the mere thought of it with a passion. My focus however is the sexual assault of females particularly children, teenagers or young adults between the ages of 20 to 25. It is sad that babies of less than 1 year are being sexually molested. Recently in Nigeria, an old man of about 76 was caught assaulting a 2-year old baby.
No normal human being would abuse a baby sexually. This tells me that the whole idea of rape is beyond normal and I am careful to use the word “spiritual”. It is only a beast that would pull off a baby’s pants and put his dick into it. How disgusting? Yet this is happening. Unfortunately what we get after the whole episode are cries of “bring the culprit to justice” “take him to court” where the victim go through the whole image shaming all through the court process”.
Maybe, eventually the rapist is sentenced to a life imprisonment or any other kind of judgement. But what happens to the victim?
Will the death or life sentence of a rapist “unrape” the victim and restore her damaged hymen?
Will it restore her broken virginity?
Will it restore her damaged mind and lost dignity?
Will it wipe away the memory of the trauma from her life?
Will it bring her back to life if she had died in the process?
Since most rapists only suffer the consequences after the deed and damage had been done, I choose to look at the rape assault from the preventive point of view. A woman in her middle age in one of our discussions cried out passionately.
“ I am a woman. I have been assaulted, I have been abused, I have been sexually molested I have been raped. Yet how I wish someone had taught me how not to be raped” It was 35 years after she was raped, yet she had not recovered from the damage to her psyche.
A rape victim does not always recover. She lives with the memory until her time is over. Many victims carry the memory to their graves. It haunts them even long after they have started their own family. The psychological damage of rape is irreparable by any mortal man. It takes divine intervention for total restoration of a raped victim. It is a serious matter.
In the African culture and in my country (Nigeria) in particular, when a woman is raped, the society tries to find fault in her and justify the act. Issues about her dressing, location etc would be brought up to justify her being rape. How ridiculous one would ask.
The question then is: Should a victim of rape be blamed for being raped?
My answer is a big NO. Even if she walked naked alone in the dark on a lonely street, she cannot be considered guilty of provoking her own assault. A woman gets raped simply because she is a woman and not because of who she is, what she has done, nor because of what she wears. A wise person wrote the following
She wears school uniform, she gets raped.
She wears hijab, she gets raped.
She wears gown, she gets raped.
She wears a pair of trousers, she gets raped.
HER DRESSING DOESN’T MATTER, IT’S THE RAPIST!!
She stays in her house, she gets raped
She’s in a bus, she gets raped.
She’s in the club, she gets raped.
HER LOCATION DOESN’T MATTER , IT’S THE RAPIST!!
She’s 18, she gets raped
She’s 8, she gets raped
She’s 80, she gets raped
HER AGE DOESN’T MATTER, IT’S THE RAPIST!
She’s nice, get gets raped.
She’s rude, she gets raped
She’s funny, she gets raped
She’s humble, she gets raped
HER ATTITUDE DOESN’T MATTER, IT’S THE RAPIST!
She’s chubby, she gets raped
She’s skinny, she gets raped
She’s fair, she gets raped.
She’s dark, she gets raped
HER APPEARANCE DOESN’T MATTER, IT’S THE RAPIST!
It is true that there are opportunist rapists who take advantage of a girl’s vulnerability. But that notwithstanding a rapist is one at heart. He is a time bomb on the way to explode and will definitely explode whenever the opportunity arise. Where or if there are no opportunities, he creates one. A rapist is an emotionally sick bigot who ought not to have been born.
I wish someone had taught me how not to be raped!
Of course, there is no school where this is taught. There are also many underaged victims that simply cannot be taught even if there was a school. Nevertheless, I agree with my friend that there must be some form of preventive remedy to reduce the spate of rape in our society today. This remedy is not just for females who are victims but much more for all sexes. The course should be titled “HOW NOT TO BE A RAPIST”
It must also be mentioned that like the Rape of Tola, most victims are raped by close associates such as members of their families (uncles, cousins, nephews, fathers), friends, colleagues who had nursed the idea for some time. This implies that rape is often premeditated. What then or How then can I not be raped? While I agree that this is not a solution to preventing the rapist as we must move from talking to the victims to dealing with the rapist, we must however continue to answer the questions of how not to be raped because for now this is the only variable that can be controlled (to an extent).
In answering this question, I like to state that it comes with responsibilities. Firstly as a mother to her daughter, sister to sister, mentor to men-tee, leader to the led or follower etc. Religious organisations and schools must begin to teach both sexes on how not to be raped as well as how not to be a rapist. We can no longer be silent and watch the lives of our young ladies go down the drain. We must not wait to carry placards long after the deed had been done and the damage irreparable. It must be included in school curriculum. The society must condemn it and stop staying on the fence. Parents (particularly mothers) must continually talk about it.
- How for instance does a mother protect her daughter from being raped?Guide her with your life
- You cannot allow your daughter share a bed with a boy irrespective of the age (they grow so fast now)
- You cannot allow a male domestic staff care for your daughter
- The moment she is able to say ‘dada’ or ‘mama’, education becomes crucial at all the level of growth.
- She must know what and where her private parts are. There are lots of books on this. Don’t just buy the books, read them with her.
- She must be taught to set boundaries.
- She must know that over 80% (my statistics) of male sex can be rapist if they have the opportunity to do so.
- Dress your cutie decently, while you want her to wear those nice skimpy stuff, then get a dog or be close-by all the time.
For our teenage girls:
- They must be taught to protect themselves with things like pepper spray
- They must avoid lonely paths and walk in lighted walk ways
- Avoid meeting strangers alone particularly at night
- When possible, avoid walking alone. Walk with someone, or walk in areas where other people are near.
- Avoid shortcuts through parks, vacant lots, and other deserted places.
- Don’t hitchhike or accept rides from strangers.
- If a driver stops to ask you directions, avoid getting near the car or just walk away.
- If you are being followed, go to the nearest business or residence for help.
- If you are harassed by the occupants of a car, simply turn and walk the other direction. The driver will have to turn around to follow you.
- Hold your purse close, not dangling, and avoid carrying extra money or valuables on your person.
- When you return home, have your door key ready so that you can enter without delay.
- Don’t walk or jog at night wearing headphones
- Be assertive
- Trust your instincts and be sensitive.
The above preventive measures notwithstanding, we must begin to focus our attention on the rapist.
Reimagining the Rape experience
Rape must be treated as cancer. The past excuses are no longer tenable. No woman irrespective of her colour, age, disposition deserves to be raped. It is time to deal with the potential rapists, the future rapists and the likely ones. The point of treatment is from the root. The foundation must be remodelled because “if the foundations be destroyed what can the righteous do” (Psalm 11:3). There are many sick guys out there whose foundations are faulty and whose minds are reprobates and are completely polluted. While we continue to educate and sensitise these ones, we must be careful not to raise a more sick generation of rapists by attacking the foundation.
Finally, the need for a paradigm shift in dealing with rape is our cry in this season. It is not so much about the victim, since she gets raped anyway. Our focus should shift to the rapist.
Enough of telling our girls all the don’ts’, let us begin to tell our guys as well.
Enough of all the preventions, the society must rise up and take more seriously the education of the male on how not to rape. The same way young girls are taught and protected, our men should also be educated on how not to rape. While i agree that male children and young boys can also be victims of rape (i honestly do not downplay this), there are more females damaged and murdered daily as result of rape.
Let us replace Don’t get raped with DO NOT RAPE
Adenike Babajamu (June 2020)