Is Rape on the Rise? Or Is It Women’s Activism?

I’ve lived in NIgeria long enough to be abe to say that the attitudes and behavior on sex, women and rape have been consistent over the past 30 years. What I think is that there is increased reporting and increased outrage from a growing middle class fueled by increased women’s activism.

That’s considerable progress. The efforts of the past 10+ years have not been in vain. The Nigerian women’s movement has had an impact. There is still so much more to be done but we can look back with a sense of accomplishment as we plan a new strategy.

I read that traditionally in some communities the penalty for rape was to compensate the father of the victim or marry her to her rapist.  A lot of research has done by Project Alert and CIRRDOC into the corelates of various forms of violence against women.

Women are beginnig to speak up and speak out, and the media is picking up their stories. Like this one from Enugu about a group of women that said enough is enough to male impunity. The ABSU Rape Walks in Lagos, Abuja and Abia last week were successful despite disruptions. They certainly rattled the police.

Now we need to make the law work for them.  How we do it is the next big challange.



Criminal Seduction

A man was sentenced to 2 years in jail with an option of fine for seducing another mans wife in Bauchi state. The sentence was made in a magistrate court under the Penal Court.

The issues for women’s rights are many. Not least a complete disregard for the wife as a rights bearing citizen. It needs to be throughtly unpacked and brought to the attention of women’s rights activists in Bauchi.

The Fuel Subsidy and The Revolution

Removal of the oil subsidy will save Nigeria $10 billion annually. How much would we save by cutting the cost of governance especially those jumbo packages that the legislators get? If you add what they receive informally those dudes are collecting what $2 to $3 million  a year? There are like 1000 of them. Then go after the MDA’s. How much do you figure we can save?

El Rufia (not my favorite person but hey don’t kill the messenger) gave a pretty good analysis of the cost of governance in Nigeria. I’m on the look out for corroboration. Still it paints a pretty grim picture. Fuel subsidy has been one of the few ways that the rest of Nigeria have been able to enjoy their own piece of the national cake. Why start a war while a revolution is brewing already?

His write up points out just how weak Jonathan is, last time we had this kind of looting was under Shagari’s presidency, another weak President. Jonathan seems to think that ‘releasing’ money and watching people spend it will jump start an economy. So does my uncle Joe back home. He is a zoologist afterall. Jonathan that is. Thank  ye Lord that Ngozi is back!

That said as a small/medium entrepreneur the increase in interest rates and inflation worries me to no end and I really want to understand in as simple a language as a lawyer can understand what that means for my start up business. I know it just got a whole lot harder but how specifically? But what do I need to do to protect my businesses?

Good Girls Don’t Get Raped

As a student at Imo State University in the 80s I used to hear stories of retributive gang rapes of uppity female students. Somehow they always happened to other girls on other campuses. I listened in wide eyed dis-belief.

It was like a morality lesson for young women: rape was punishment for bad behavior, ‘only bad girls get raped’. If you got raped you must have been ‘bad’. It was the boogey man that ‘kept us in line’ and working real hard at appearing to be ‘good girls’.

We weren’t of course. We went to parties, drank alcohol, had premarital sex and wore sexy clothes. I wonder how many of us didn’t resist or report a rape because we thought we deserved it. Some how. And then eventually convinced ourselves that it wasn’t really rape, that we ‘consented’.

You know you didn’t want to, you said you didn’t want to but he just ignored your protests and went ahead anyway. You’ve known him for awhile, maybe you were even thinking of ‘going’ with him. Maybe this was your first date with him. Maybe everyone says he’s great. Just that you weren’t ready.

How many of us went on to date the guy? I read online one girl is engaged to her rapist. I don’t agree with her choice but I do in some crazy way I think I know how she justified it. One of those things you hear. ‘We’ve done it already, we might as well do it again’.

Almost 20 years later a woman reported a rape at the FIDA branch where I was a member . She was a practicing medical doctor in her early thirties. I noticed she dressed conservatively because I don’t. Dress conservatively that is.

She described how she had gone on a date with a man who took her to his house, drugged her and with his flatmate spent the night raping her. The police did nothing. She came to FIDA for help. They asked ‘what was she doing there in the first place drinking alcohol?’ and dismissed her.

If you get that attitude from a bunch of female lawyers what can you expect from the police?  Its really not surprising to hear the Assistant Commissioner of Police in Abia State Mr. Micloth say the young woman we watched getting raped on the internet either ‘deserved’ it or ‘consented’. Outrageous yes, but not surprising.

Good girls don’t get raped.