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.

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.

Misogyny in Nigerian Schools

Misogyny in Nigerian Schools

I have been thinking about my secondary school experience a lot lately because of my blog and I realised that there were several problematic things that were accepted. I remember there was a female teacher who used to make girls wipe their lips whenever it was glossy. It didn’t even have to be lip gloss: she asked the girls to wipe their lips even when we used Vaseline (how are we supposed to moisturise our lips in Harmattan?????????? Insert confused face emoji). I’m saying glossy so I don’t make her come off a crazy irrational person but she had a problem with moisturised lips of any kind. I guess she wanted us to moisturise our lips by licking them. I don’t know why she had an issue with glossy lips, maybe she thought glossy lips would tempt the boys and the male teachers. I don’t know why a person would sexualize glossy lips but even if they are sexual on whatever planet, shouldn’t the boys/male teachers be educated on consent and self-control instead of body policing girls.

Whatever the reason for her strong dislike of moisturised lips on only female students her actions reinforce the idea that girls should alter their behaviour and appearance to avoid sexual assault or rape. I don’t think that was the message that she wanted to send or at least I hope that wasn’t the message she wanted to send but that was the message that was received. It is this kind of thinking that makes people say “What was she wearing?” or “Why was she out that late?” after a girl has been sexually assaulted/raped. I don’t know why people don’t understand that the perpetrator is the only criminal and should be the only one put on trial. [The biggest lie that women/girls have been led to believe is that they can avoid sexual assault/rape].

The incident that exposed the blatant sexism in school was when we had to pick a class monitor and an assistant. It was the beginning of a new academic year and so we had to pick a class monitor (class president for non-Nigerians). Our form teacher came to the class and said we had to choose a boy to be the monitor and the girl to be his assistant (insert face palm, smh, angry and sad emojis). Two other female students and I were shocked and decided to question the teacher’s demand. We asked him why it couldn’t be the other way around and he said (prepare yourself for this strong dose of unapologetic misogyny) that boys are better leaders than girls. The three of us who initially questioned the teacher decided to protest loudly and respectfully (respectfully ofc because nobody wanted to get flogged on a hot afternoon). After a few minutes of debate and cheering by supporters, I remember very distinctly that it was other female students that told us to “Keep quiet” and “You guys are making noise”: a perfect example of internalised misogyny. We were challenging the teacher to give a female student a chance to be the class monitor and the people who told us to stop were female students. We did stop and a boy was chosen to be the monitor while a girl his assistant (LONG LIVE THE PATRIARCHY).

I had no interest in being the class monitor because I was a class monitor in a previous year and I absolutely hated it but I protested because I wanted to give a girl a chance to be the monitor.Also, there might be a girl who hears that and believes that she is a less competent leader than any other boy just because she is a girl and a boy who hears that and believes that he is naturally superior to girls/women in all areas except in domestic affairs (Yes, they can let us have that one- rolling my eyes) thus perpetuating the vicious cycle of oppressive patriarchy.

Schools should be the last place misogyny should occur because schools are meant to educate young people and inspire social change that will make the world a better place.

About that video of the pastor beating the couple in Ghana

So, I just watched a video in which a pastor in Ghana is beating a couple for getting pregnant out of wedlock and for attempting to have an abortion. The incident happened in Ghana but I can assure you that such things do happen in Nigeria; parents and guardians beat children for engaging in sexual activity and one particularly disgusting gendered punishment is putting PEPPER (yes, you read that right) on a girl’s private part. When I watched this video, I was angry at first because having been a victim of it myself, I am vehemently against public shaming of any kind but after my anger subsided, the video prompted me to tackle two issues that I know aren’t popular topics of discussion in most African societies and those issues are sex education and mental health. The relationship to sex education is very obvious but I’m sure people are wondering how mental health is related to this video and I am going to elaborate. The incident involves mental health because these people whose state of mind was unknown were publicly humiliated all in the name of discipline. Public shaming as a form of discipline is one of the cruellest things you can do to a person especially when they are still in their formative years (the couple looked like teens to me): You may feel that you are disciplining someone but you are just humiliating them.

That humiliation may lead them to resent you for life/a very long time or in some cases, lead to suicide. There was an incident in the US where a father recorded himself cutting his daughter’s hair and posted it on social media. Her schoolmates saw the video and made fun of her and this led her to commit suicide by jumping off a bridge. Now, I know Nigerians/Africans think that they are immune to suicide but that is not the case at all; there have been several incidences of people committing suicide in Nigeria. It is impossible to know the state of a person’s mind unless you are their psychiatrist or psychologist so it is better not to do anything that might push them over the edge.

On the sex education aspect. I grew in a fairly liberal household (liberal according to Nigerian standards and that is not saying much) and we never spoke about sex at all; it was a huge taboo topic. I went to a Christian school and we talked about sex during the biology class but that was a lecture, not a discussion and it was also very scientific and was strictly from a reproductive point of view. We could discuss sex in the Anti-AIDS Club (which I was president of at one point, insert smirk face emoji) but not all students were members of that club and so could not benefit from the free space. In secondary school, there was also this stigma where girls sex like me interested in having conversations about sex were labelled “bad girls” and not “wife material”: this stigma only affected girls because ONLY boys are allowed to be curious about sex (rolling my eyes). In church, they only told us to abstain from sex until marriage and that fornication was a sin and you would go to hell and all that (very fire and brimstone warning). I say all this to highlight how teenagers in Nigeria/Ghana do not receive adequate sex education and are left to learn about sex on their own and most of the time, they learn about sex through porn. Porn is a performance and doesn’t accurately depict sex but yet we have millions of teenagers having to learn about sex through porn so when they go in relationships, they have this unrealistic expectation of sex and this could lead to problems (this is a discussion for any day).

There is a saying that goes “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” What is going on in the society now (abstaining from discussing sex with teenagers) does not prevent them from having sex at all: According to an article by Najj in 2013, the National Population Commission reported that the occurrence of teen pregnancies (teen= between 15 and 19) in Nigeria may go over 60 million in 2015. One great fallacy concerning sex education in Nigeria is that giving sex education is going to encourage teenagers to engage in sex. The fact is, teenagers who are going to have sex are going to have sex but sex education is going to properly inform about sex is and give them the tools to prevent pregnancies ergo unsafe abortions (which is another issue in Nigeria I plan on discussing in the future) and the spread of diseases.

Nice to meet you, will you be my girlfriend????????????

Nice to meet you, will you be my girlfriend????????????

So, I think hope you are probably going like “What?!?!” right now because of the title but I swear I have experienced this situation countless several times. Guys that I barely and I mean BARELY (yes, I’m screaming) know have asked me to be their girlfriend. I am still trying to understand the reasoning behind the action. I don’t understand how you can ask someone to be your girlfriend when you don’t even know their surname; you might have looked the person up on Facebook or whatever, but their Facebook name might be fake. It is just weird and creepy af. I moved to Turkey immediately after my gap year in Nigeria so I have only experienced this abroad but I’m curious to know if this happens at home as well. Apparently, this hasn’t just happened to me; it has happened to several African girls that I know in Turkey. I have a theory for why this happens abroad: I think the guys feel that since we are both African/Nigerian in a country with very few black people, so we should date. That is the only reason that I could come up with because it makes absolutely no f*****g sense at all for one to ask someone to be their girlfriend without first discovering if they are compatible.

The most recent “asking out” happened in Germany. I was returning back from Berlin one day and this Nigerian guy got on the train and sat opposite me. I usually listen to music on the train but that day, I was having a mild headache so I decided to stick with my thoughts. I wanted to fall asleep but I just can’t fall sleep on a train because I’m afraid of missing my stop (that has happened to me once). Back to the story, I was just looking out the window (I never get tired of the view even though I have seen it many times) and the guy sits opposite me. I said hello and continued looking out the window. After a few minutes, he initiated a conversation and we started talking. Mind you, this conversation was very shallow (it gave me no indication of his character) but entertaining. We continued talking until we reached Cottbus. We exchanged numbers and I went home. I usually don’t give my number to strangers but one of my new year’s resolutions was to be more friendly BUT this resolution has not worked out well for me at all so I am going to revert back to my unfriendly self.

I honestly forgot about him until he messaged me one day and I replied because I wanted to be polite but I guess when it comes to male-female relationships, politeness/friendliness is almost always mistaken for romantic interest that is why girls have Resting Bitch Face (it’s a survival tactic). He used to message me once in a while and the messages were just ‘hi’, ‘hello’, ‘how is it going?’ kind of messages; There was no deep, profound conversation happening.  A few days later, this guy is telling me he wants me to be his girlfriend (insert confused face emoji), where is this coming from? Dude, I don’t even know or like you like that. Turns out after we spoke, he looked me up on Facebook, is attracted to me and now he wants to date me (I don’t think I’m communicating how batshit the situation is). This dude wants to be in a relationship with me based on ONLY my physical appearance. This made think/realise that the guy just wanted a physical relationship and nothing more; like an “acquaintances with benefits” kind of situation (I said ‘acquaintances’ because we were not even friends) and I am simply not interested in that at all.

Now, I would be the first one to tell anyone that physical attraction is very important in a relationship but a functional relationship cannot be based on that alone. The funny thing is many of these guys post memes on Facebook to denigrate women/girls that date guys ONLY for money but you have no problem wanting to date a girl/woman ONLY for her physical appearance (hypocrisy much).

When guys do things like this, it creeps me out (gives me stalker vibes). Now, I am hesitant to meet up with him when he asked because I know his motives. At least this guy left me alone when I told him I wasn’t interested. In a previous situation with another guy, I had to block him on all Social Media and WhatsApp because the dude did not understand “NO”. I think he thought I was playing hard to get or whatever but I just wasn’t interested in him like that.

To all the guys out there who are truly interested in a functional romantic relationship with a girl and not just trying to smash, give a girl time to know and possibly like you before you ask her to be your girlfriend. PSA, a girl may not/ doesn’t have to like you even after getting to knowing you. If you ask her out and she turns you down, please leave her alone and move on. Disturbing her and killing her phone by continuously calling her is not going to make her change her mind; it might get you blocked.