Why Rape Jokes Will NEVER be Funny

Why Rape Jokes Will NEVER be Funny

AY recently joined the long list of Nigerian Comedians who’ve joked about rape. He made a joke about TBoss’ sexual assault by Kemen on BBN. Thankfully, after his show, he got a lot of flak on social media; many Nigerian Feminists called him out on Twitter for trivialising rape and victim blaming. Even though he was strongly criticised, AY still had a lot of supporters defending his disgusting joke, chief among them was fellow Nigerian Comedian Bovi. Bovi defended his colleague by saying, “You can joke about anything as long as you don’t offended sensibilities” (There is no way to joke about rape without offending sensibilities Bovi).

In an attempt to redeem his public image, AY posted a picture of him with TBoss on Instagram and wrote an “apology”. In his apology, he said Nigerians have misinterpreted his joke [My response: Your joke was pretty clear so they was nothing to misinterpret. You said guys shouldn’t judge Kemen because they understand “Konji” which means strong sexual desire. So, because a man is sexually aroused he has a right to violate another person??], he was inspired to make the joke because Kemen was suicidal [My response: So, you justify sexual assault just to make the perpetrator feel less guilty – he should feel very guilty, matter of fact, he should be in prison. If Kemen is really suicidal (I don’t buy it for one second), he should seek proper counselling and psychiatric help. Your joke just made Kemen & other perpetrators feel justified in their actions. Kemen & co. need to know that “Konji” is not a justification for sexual assault and if you are that pressed find a WILLING participant or help yourself] and that he has a wife and daughters so he will never support sexual assault [My response: If this isn’t the most used excuse in the world. Almost all rape apologist say this when they are criticised by the public (as if rapists aren’t related to females too). Being related to a female or heck, even being a female doesn’t mean one is incapable of being anti-woman/misogynistic (a lot of Nigerian women blamed TBoss for her sexual assault) so you can GTFO with that copy paste apology].

Our society already has a dismissive attitude towards sexual assault. Perpetrators rarely get punished by the judicial system instead, victims are blamed for “seducing” the perpetrator by dressing provocatively, being out at night and so on. Rape jokes further promote the dismissive attitude. This might be a reach but I believe AY’s joke may even encourage a would-be rapist to assault a woman (“After all, AY, a man who is considered a role model in Nigeria understands “Konji” so there is nothing wrong with my action” they may think). So even though AY said he doesn’t support sexual assault because he is related to females (rolling my eyes), his actions did just that.

AY posted a picture of him with TBoss to show that TBoss has forgiven so we should all forgive me. It doesn’t work like that AY; sure, the joke was TBoss’ sexual assault but it affects all sexual assault victims. There are victims who heard that joke and were discouraged from reporting the incident to the police, there are police officers who heard that joke and felt justified in their flippant attitude towards victims & poor investigation of rape cases, there are judges who heard that joke and decided to give lenient sentences to rapist because you asked them not to judge perpetrators. So yes, the joke was about TBoss but it is bigger than her so taking a picture with her doesn’t win you any points AY.

In conclusion, I’m done with AY.

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My Stance on Domestic Violence

My Stance on Domestic Violence

I haven’t written about domestic violence on this blog because I think most people can already surmise my stance on it but for the sake of clarity, my stance is to divorce the bastard and press charges. I know a lot of Nigerian women are afraid of advising women to get divorces because “Divorce is a sin” but I strongly believe that God wants women to be alive more than he wants them to be married. Human life comes first for me; every other man-made institution is secondary tertiary.

Another popular argument used to dissuade victims from divorcing their abusers is that “Children need their fathers”. Now, all things been equal, children do need their fathers BUT if the father is an abuser then the children are better off without him. Witnessing a parent abuse the other leaves children with severe emotional/psychological scars & trauma that may never be healed. So, raising children in an abusive household does more harm than good.

Recently, due to some high-profile celebrity cases (Tonto Dikeh & Mercy Aigbe), there have been various debates about domestic violence on the Nigerian Internet. I do not take part in internet debates because, most times, people just end up talking over each other rather than exchanging ideas. Even though I don’t debate online, I do read the threads just to get an idea of people’s opinions. Often, the comments I read about domestic violence and sexual assault leave me so frightened that I never want to leave my house again; the threads that I read on BellaNaija and some other popular Nigerian blogs revealed that many Nigerians are rape and domestic violence apologists.

Most of the comments I read claimed that a woman’s cheating and nagging were reason enough for her to be beaten. Gentlemen, if your wife/girlfriend is unfaithful, please break up with her or get counselling if you are still interested in keeping that relationship BUT you cannot beat her into submission. “Teaching your woman a lesson” will leave your children traumatised and also possibly send you to prison in Nigeria (Nigerian prisons are hell on earth); is it really worth it?

Am the only one that notices how nagging has become a gendered term? Presently, only women are called nags. I believe calling women nags has become an effective silencing tool because many women don’t demand expectations from their husbands so they aren’t termed nags.  According to the Oxford Dictionary, nagging is constantly harassing someone to do something (Keyword being harassing) BUT harassment doesn’t have to be involved for women to be called nags; a woman can be politely persistent and still be called a nag. Consistently asking your husband for necessities is now called nagging in Nigeria. I’ve heard many men complain about their wives nagging them for children’s school fees/rent or to stop drinking so much alcohol (Before Nkor); If your wife doesn’t get the money from you, where else is she going to get it from?? Also, she doesn’t want you to die from liver cancer.

Most times, the women who “nag” about financial demands are housewives so they have little/no means of meeting those financial demands themselves. Due to the urgency of those needs, they may understandably become impolite in their requests (because no one is perfect). The woman’s rudeness is not a justification for hitting her. You can tell her you don’t like the way she is speaking to you or walkaway. There are a lot of non-violent ways to resolve conflict; it is not that difficult.

Abusers are sane people, they abuse their victims knowing that they can get away with it and most times, they do get away with it. Nigerian society enables abusers; the society and judicial system are on the side of the abuser especially in cases of marriage. In many situations, when the victim reports to the police, they say “It is a family matter so go home and settle it”. Families also pressure victims to drop the charges; guilt-tripping tactics such as “Do you want the father of your children to become a criminal?” are successfully employed.

So, the victim forgives and returns to “normal” life but in order to prevent another incident, the victim walks on eggshells around the abuser to avoid provocation because many people have told the victim that they caused the previous incident by provoking the abuse BUT because no one is perfect, the victim does something that “provokes” the now bolder abuser which leads to another incident.

In conclusion, to stop/reduce domestic violence, perpetrators need to be sent to prison to put the fear of the law in the hearts and minds of would-be perpetrators.

So, you’re not going to change your last name??

So, you’re not going to change your last name??

Some months ago, I wrote about a question that I get quite often when I mention that I am a feminist. I do get a lot of FAQs about feminism so I decided to answer those questions on my blog. More often than not, the questions are rife with misconceptions about feminism; the asker is usually an anti-feminist trying rather poorly to be a smart ass. I rarely get questions from people who are genuinely curious about feminism ideology and politics so my answers are usually very sarcastic. However, I’m going to assume the people reading my blog are willing to learn about feminism so I am going to properly answer the questions and share my little knowledge.

[Disclaimer Alert: I am NOT a feminist scholar but I’ve read a lot of books on the feminist political movement.]

The second most frequently asked question that I receive after declaring myself a feminist is “So, you’re not going to change your last name?”. I suspect I get this question a lot because Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who is my best friend (in my head) and the most popular Nigerian feminist, didn’t change her last name. So, a lot of people incorrectly assume that feminism is against a married woman changing her last name to her husband’s. Feminism is NOT against women changing their last names to their husband’s BUT, it against the system/society that requires married women to change their last names and vehemently criticises them for refusing to do so (Just look at how many people criticise Chimamanda for not changing her last name). Feminists want women to be able to choose if they want to keep their surname or change their last name to their husband’s BUT that choice should be free from socio-cultural and religious pressure because when people are pressured into making certain decisions/choices, then that isn’t really a choice.

Am I going to change my last name? As I have stated in a previous post, I’m not keen on getting married; I’m fine being a spinster for the rest of my life. If I do get married, I will not change my last name. I will not change my last name because I am very attached to it. My father died when I was very young and I don’t remember much of him but he left me his last name; a name that I am proud of because of his integrity, a name that is respected in my state because of his love and respect for his people. I love my name because it is very harmonious and inspiring and I have accomplished a lot with my name(If I do say so myself) so I am going to keep it.

Sidebar: I may hyphenate my last name depending on how cool my intended’s last name is or how much it rhymes it mine. When I was in Germany, I met a guy whose surname is “Von Bismarck” (I think I had a crush on him just because of his surname); I wouldn’t mind hyphenating with that name at all.

About the TBoss situation

About the TBoss situation

So, Big Brother Nigeria is finally over (Thank God). Even though I don’t live in Nigeria, the madness of BBN got to me through social media. I’ve never been into any Big Brother franchise; something about Big Brother makes me uncomfortable. I think it’s like putting mice in a maze and watching them trying to figure their way around just for entertainment (overanalyzing much?? Probably). I’ve never been into the show and always thought it was garbage but this season of BBN really took the garbage to a whole another level.

I can’t believe someone thought it was okay to broadcast the rape of TBoss across the continent (What part of your brain has to be missing to make a decision like that?). What is even more disappointing is that the rapist only got evicted from the house and no charges were filed against him. The showrunners even had the gall to bring him to the viewing centre to watch the finale. The whole situation shows that many Nigerians are very ill informed on consent and rape; many people only consider the act to be rape only when the woman/girl is crying and screaming. Even in cases of obvious physical coercion, the victims are still blamed for their rape. The victims are accused of seducing/tempting the rapist by dressing provocatively, being out after dark, going to a male friend’s house and being drunk. The sad and dangerous part is that the police, lawmakers and elites (Hello, Mr Abati) hold such misogynistic beliefs; which means more often than not, the rapist will get away with the crime and continue on with their rampage.

Just to clarify, It is rape when you penetrate a drunk girl, It is rape when the girl says “No” or “Stop” during the act because you decided to try some porno shit with her without showing or accurately describing the act. It is rape if she said yes to the porno act and halfway in she decides she doesn’t like it and says “Stop”, It is rape even though she is your wife and the holy book says her body belongs to you. It becomes rape when a girl/woman indicates she is no longer interested in a sexual act and you still go forward with the act. It is not quantum physics, it shouldn’t be that hard to understand.

It is also rape when a person is emotionally coerced by a partner into having sex. This type of rape is very common in committed relationships. This is the “If you love me you will have sex with me” situation / silent treatment until we have sex and the guilt tripping into having sex. In Nigeria, one common method of guilt tripping wives into having sex is to tell them that they aren’t performing their wifely duties. Unfortunately, female socialization in Nigeria primes/grooms us to be victims of guilt-tripping; due to our upbringing, we feel very worthless when we are told we aren’t wife material or that we are failing at being a good wife, so we do everything to rectify our “flaws” even when it involves having sex when one is not in the mood.

Rape is a very serious crime that results in serious damage to the emotional wellbeing of the victim. The emotional scars stay with the victim for the rest of their lives. The society should focus on putting away the rapist rather than kicking someone who is already battered. Just like with any other crime, the blame/judgement should be reserved solely for the perpetrator and not the victim.

[PS: I know there is probably an MRA typing “Men are victims of rape too” and I acknowledge that but however, I’m a feminist which means that I focus primarily on women’s issues. Also, statistics show that 91% of rape victims are female so rape is more of a problem for women than it is for men]

National Sexual Violence Resource Center. (2015). Statistics about sexual violence. Retrieved from http://www.nsvrc.org/sites/default/files/publications_nsvrc_factsheet_media-packet_statistics-about-sexual-violence_0.pdf

Wish Away Sexism

This post stems from a very frustrating conversation that I had with someone. It is very frustrating to have discussions with people who don’t know what they are talking about; people who make statements and proclamations that can’t be backed up by any sort of evidence [PSA: Sometimes, it’s ok not to say anything].

So, I was having a conversation with someone about male entitlement and how it reflects in sexual interactions between men and women. I stated well-researched facts on how male entitlement in sex is harmful to women/girls and the person asked me why I always focus on the negative. I was so shocked and disappointed that someone who claims to be a feminist will respond to the danger that many girls/women face daily with such a callous reply.

Why do I always focus on the negative?? Well, I focus on the negative because the experience of females in Nigeria is negative (that is not to say we don’t have positive experiences). We are trained from birth to be subservient to the men in our lives, we are groomed to be polite even to our abusers, we are blamed when we are raped, we are blamed when we are cheated on, we are blamed for provoking the man when we are victims of domestic violence, we are coerced to exchange sexual favours for employment, we are shamed when we are infertile, our genitalia is mutilated to ensure that a man gets to marry a virgin and the list goes on; I can publish an Encyclopaedia on how the life of a female is negative in Nigeria.

I am sorry (not sorry) if highlighting the discrimination that my fellow Nigerian women/girls face makes me a negative person (or whatever adjective people are using in place of “angry feminist” these days) but I will continue to advocate for the rights of women in Nigeria and if you don’t like my “negative” approach then…..(fill in the blanks)

According to this person, my approach to feminism was too negative and they were going to adopt a more positive approach to fighting for women’s rights. I asked this person for the alternative method(s) that they are/would use to fight against sexism and no alternative was given but instead, they told me that I ALWAYS talk about the problem and NEVER offer any solutions (This is textbook anti-feminist derailment tactic); which was not true (#alternativefacts) because, in my previous discussions with this person, I had offered several solutions to the problem that I mentioned.

Also, and more importantly, to fight/cure any social problem, one needs to make a proper diagnosis. To fight the social disease that is sexism, its cause, symptoms and even mode of transmission have to be identified for the disease to be treated properly; incomplete diagnosis will lead to incomplete treatment. As many feminists scholars have lamented, patriarchy has spread its tentacles to every facet of our lives and the full extent of its damaging effects on the lives of women/girls is still unknown and under-researched because people have shut down feminist social scientists by calling them man-haters, angry feminist and negative people. So, focusing on the “negative” is essential to raising the consciousness of people especially women to the harmful effects of sexism.

Also during the discussion, the scientifically unbacked idea of positive and negative psychic energy was brought was brought forth as a reason for me to change my method of operation (sigh!!!!). The whole idea is that if you think positive thoughts, positive things will happen to you and if you think negative thoughts then negative things will happen to you. The truth is everybody will have positive and negative experiences in life regardless of how positive or negative they think; We have little to no control on when and how these events will occur. I think people come up with such beliefs because it can be very heartbreaking to accept that we have no control over the things that happen to us and so they decide to believe that our acts/thoughts will protect us from bad circumstances and situations.

To be honest, since the person I was discussing with is a Nigerian, I was surprised that they didn’t suggest that we pray away sexism like we’ve been praying away corruption for the last 57 years (Look how well that has been working out).

In conclusion, institutionalised discrimination cannot be wished away.

Women can be sexist too

So, I haven’t posted in a while because my school has resumed so I have less free time now but I shall make an effort to publish posts fortnightly unless I have midterms and projects.

This short post was prompted by a long comment that I made on a BellaNaija post a while ago (Yes, I comment on BellaNaija posts- make fun of me if you want). The post was about the negative reactions that Dabota Lawson got for congratulating Melania Trump on Donald Trump’s win. There were several comments by women critiquing Dabota’s congratulatory message/shout out to Melania on Instagram. In response to the negative comments by women, one commenter decided to type “Women shaming each other. Okay”. I wrote an epistle as a reply to that comment but the basic gist of my reply was that “women supporting each other” is not what feminism about.

Somewhere along the line, someone decided that the definition of feminism is women supporting each other which is incorrect and even a hindrance to the achievement of feminism goals. Once again, feminism is a political movement that aims to establish political, economic, personal and social rights for women. Women can be classist, racist or sexist, so denouncing the problematic acts of women is not antithetical to feminism. [By giving a shoot out to Melania Trump, Dabota was indirectly endorsing Trump, a man who is an unapologetic KKK and Neo-Nazi sympathiser and the criticism she got for it was not unwarranted. So, in that instance, feminists did not owe Dabota our support.]

Women are raised to view each other as competition for male attention in our male dominated society and so it is refreshing to see women not tearing each other down. I also acknowledge that “women supporting each other” is a tool for accomplishing feminism aims because men often overlook the competence of women in the workplace and society in general (gender bias is real) and so it is usually left up to women in positions of power to give other women a chance to shine but as I previously mentioned, women can be sexist too: For example, the women who perform FGM rituals on girls, the female landlords who refuse to rent houses to single ladies, the women who blame victims of rape and sexual assault and so on.

I strongly believe that all Nigerian women/girls have some form internalised sexism due to our upbringing but some of us are making a conscious effort to unlearn our internalised sexism but others have accepted it and now enforce it on other women.

It is the responsibility of feminists to denounce discrimination against women/girls regardless of the sex of the perpetrator.

Dear Anti-Feminists,

It recently occurred to me from reading the comment section of BellaNaija and from interacting with anti-feminists that many people are ill informed about the ideals of feminism. Just to clarify, feminism is a political movement that aims to establish political, economic, personal and social rights for women. From my discussions, I believe a lot of people who oppose feminism learn about feminism from anti-feminists; they don’t even know the ideals of the movement that they so vehemently reject. It is ok to oppose any political movement or ideology but it isn’t very intelligent not to know the actual ideals of the movement that you oppose.

Nigerians often use the excuse of culture and religion to dismiss feminism as a foreign ideology/movement. I simply ask those “keepers of culture” who are somehow Christian/Muslim (Yes, Christianity & Islam that are used as a basis to reject feminism are also an imported ideologies/systems) to read about Queen Amina of Zaria, Nana Asma’u and Emotan. Before the Europeans invaded our lands and forced their culture and religion on us, they were women who dared to be more that what society told them they could/ should be, there were women who fought against their subjugation; we all have that one ancestor that ran away from home to escape an arranged marriage. So, feminism is really not that foreign to Nigeria, also PSA: Culture is not static; it is subject to change. When evidence shows that certain cultural practices are dangerous or offer no benefit they should be dropped.

I hope people will stop using that “It is not our culture” argument from now on but even if it is a foreign movement what is wrong with that?? Nigeria has adopted several foreign beliefs and systems; democracy (even though Nigeria is democratic in name only – that is a topic for another day), religion and our current formal education system were all adopted from foreign countries. If a belief or system being foreign is basis enough for rejection then I suggest we close all the churches and mosques in Nigeria (No, Right?). Nigerians are willing to accept foreign ideologies and systems so why is feminism the exception?? I wish the people who use this shaky argument as an excuse will just be honest about why they don’t support the movement.

Another group of ill-informed people often reject feminism because they think feminist are trying to be men (Huge Sigh). First of all, Feminists are not trying to be men!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We just want equal rights as men; We want girls to be sent to school just like boys, we want women to earn the same salary as male coworkers at the same level, we want to be able to rent an apartment even though we are single or even get medical treatment without a husband’s permission.

Secondly, we acknowledge that there are biological sex differences between males and females that cannot be changed but we don’t want those differences to be used as justification for hindering our rights especially since it has been proven that those differences do not make women/girls any less capable than men/boys. We have breasts and we menstruate but how exactly does that make me unsuitable to inherit my parent’s properties/ go to school/ earn as much as male coworkers and so on. (It doesn’t)

The last group of people I am going to address in this post are the “My mother is in charge of my household so there is no need for feminism” people. This group of people claim that there is no need for a feminist movement because they haven’t personally experienced gender discrimination (Selfish much). To them I reply “Congratulations, you are one of the lucky ones”. These people remind me of people who defend PHCN [Power Holding Company of Nigeria] because they’ve had somewhat constant electricity for a week even though the rest of the country is experiencing serious power shortages. It is undeniable that there are women/girls who are denied certain rights and forced undergo certain inhumane acts like FGM and child marriage just because they are girls and it is unbelievable and quite sickening, that people will dismiss the movement that aims to protect the affected women/girls just because they aren’t personally affected.

I believe this post is going to have a second part because I have heard so many fallacious arguments against feminism that can’t be addressed in one post.

PSA: Pleases stop calling FGM “female circumcision” because it minimises the cruel and inhumane nature of FGM. The clitoris and sometimes the entire vulva is removed and the victims experience severe psychological trauma and most times physical pain and bleeding during sex for the rest of their lives. Male circumcision although unnecessary is still unharmful and it doesn’t affect the function of the penis.