We often train our daughters to protect themselves from being victims of “RAPE”, but I believe it is time parents and guardians also teach our sons that a girl’s “No Means No”. You will be amazed at the number of girls that were abused or raped as little girls, teenagers or even grown ups by those they are close to. I have seen and even heard of instances where these girls were blamed for the ordeal; some were told they must have seduced the guy/man to have done what he did. Despite several organisations being set up for abuse and rape victims, very few actually focus on the most important thing which is teaching our sons to respect a woman’s opinions, feelings and emotions enough to not force her into doing something.
There are quite a number of organisations standing against rape; some were established to help rape victims. I am a strong advocate and supporter of most of these causes and take time out to attend events in this regard, but I still believe very little attention has been given to the root causes of these incidents. Growing up, I remember how my mother will worry herself sick whenever I returned home later than expected from events, lesson centres or church. I remember the countless times I was warned and advised on ways to make sure I wasn’t a victim. I believe millions of mothers do this all over the world. A lot of mothers tell their daughters to avoid being raped, but have they taught their sons to respect a woman’s opinion and body? Have they taught their sons that a woman’s “No actually means no?”
According to Frederick Douglass “It is easier to build a strong child, than to fix a broken man”.
I had quite an unhappy Sunday last week and regardless of how much I tried, I just couldn’t get my mind off it. A friend came visiting and we got talking about some projects she was working on and she decided to show me a video of a lady being raped and brutalized by group of men at Abia State, Nigeria. It was really disheartening, I watched as she bled and begged each and every one of them and they just wouldn’t stop until she passed out. Who does that? How could someone be so ruthless to another being with no remorse whatsoever? And as I was still in shock, someone said, “How did she get there sef? What did she go there to do? What was she looking for in the first place?”
Really? Now it’s her fault for getting raped. What about those who didn’t go “there?” What about those who had their innocence taken from them at a tender age, often by someone they trusted: fathers, brothers, uncles, friends? Startling as it might seem, that is often the reaction of the society when these things happen. All over the world, there are countless cases of rape daily and it hurts that as the years go by nothing has really changed. Mothers should teach their boys to never lay a hand on a woman, to never ever use sex as a weapon against a woman. They should teach their sons about compassion, teach them that we really are the same in the sight of God and the fact that our gender differs does not make either one of us superior to the other but instead makes us unique in our strengths and we’re built to complement each other.
And to those who have gone through this ordeal, please seek counsel and visit a rape recovery centre. You need to heal in other to be who and what God wants you to be. It’s not worth it carrying such hurt and regret, blaming yourself for what happened and wishing you could turn back the hands of time and that it never happened. It did, and until you heal you would spread the venom to others because a hurt and broken person hurts and breaks others. I want you to claim your body and victory back! As traumatic as it can be, it does not define you, regardless of what the society and people around you say.
About the Writer: Eniola Adeniji is a woman after God’s own heart, a motivational Writer, Speaker, Fashion and Photography addict. She is also a Business Developer, Social Media Manager and the founder of Woman Of Value. She blogs at ennmae.wordpress.com