Changing the Nigerian narrative on Sexual Abuse, et al (2)

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

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(Continued from the last post, here

Now we have an idea of the usual story back-story, leading up to the usual narrative on rape, on sexual abuse that we are all so used to in our society..

That girl who thinks she's so dumb that, she allows herself to be sexually harassed by her boss at work.

The one who has never had the opportunity to understand what love truly is … that she believes his hitting her ‘once in a while’ is reflective of his desire to correct her mistakes, and make her..

That woman who is unusually aggressive and antagonistic to her children, due to the violent sexual abuse she endured throughout her childhood.

Talking about endurance… the hordes of wives/daughters/sisters/girlfriends/partners/house-helps/employees/ whom society has told them to shush and endure the suffering. Because “no one would believe you”.

Or, because “it’s the same everywhere”.

Or, because “you will never find someone/somewhere else”.

How do we change this story…our story? How do we stop ‘the usual’ from being ‘THE usual’?

You may not find all the answers we both seek here. Fact is, I have more of questions. Rhetorical and non-rhetorical questions I ask, seeking answers to change the narrative.

For starters, do we ask ourselves what risks we put in our children's way? Who do we leave our children with? How nice are our nice neighbours? Our nice uncles? Even our nice fathers? 

Where have our children been? Who really are our children?

Do we listen when our children/friends/colleagues appear to be suffering something internal and have become withdrawn, or are we oblivious to the obvious?

Are we one of those people who would shut others down and tag them as being 'noisy' or ‘petty’. 

After all, 'na common brush e fingers brush her breast'

Or would we encourage others to raise a ruckus when they are being or are in reasonable fear of being sexually molested? Do we excuse acts consisting sexual abuse or sexual harassment?

Do we play the culture/family/religion card any time an allegation on sexual abuse arises??

"You know you have to forgive and forget”. To err is human..”.


"It is not wise for juniors to start unnecessary trouble with their seniors. It is better to let it go, especially for the sake of tomorrow" (Who's tomorrow??)


I always knew her mini-skirts would put her in trouble. The poor man… heaven knows how he must have struggled to resist the temptation”.

Are we to keep ‘enduring’ in the face of overt and covert abuse…in the forlorn hope that it would just 'go away'?  Wouldn't we rather take our ‘present’ in our hands, and scare the abuse away? Are we ready to stand up to sexual bullies at work? At Church? In the market?

There are the more personal questions. Questions like...

So what if we were abused as children? So what if some person raped us, or stole our innocence? Heck, what if the very persons who were given the responsibility of protecting us were the same persons who took advantage of our helplessness?  So what if we were gifted with trust issues, against our will??

Are we condemned to spending all our lives living in the shadows of our nightmares? Should the very thing we abhor about our past define the substance of our future?

Shall we be victims forever... blaming our every mis-step on our sad, sad past? Shall we be perpetual zombies… walking around without really being alive?
Image result for freedom
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Should we not seek counseling? Should we not speak out? Should we not SPEAK OUT … and move on from the hurt?

Shall we see the scars, and writhe in pain eternally.. or, seeing the scars, do we remember the pain happened, and smile at our understanding that we have overcome? 

Are we able to understand that "only one person can make me happy. Me"?

So, yes. It is good we are now seriously talking about rape and sexual abuse in Nigeria.

But we need to go beyond talking. We need to change the horror stories we are all too used to. From the scratch. From the cradle. Way before we get to the point of making legal and academic arguments like "... but 17 years and 11 months is almost 18 years".

We all have our part to play. We can begin ...each one of us. Even you reading this post (Yes, YOU!) by constantly asking ourselves the questions raised above (and much more), rather than stay snugly tucked in the cocoon of ‘status quo’.

That is how we fling the lid on the Nigerian narrative on sexual abuse. And by so doing, we flip the tables on the confusion, the fear, the sorrow that it breeds.


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  1. Enter your comment...we all must take deliberate steps to answer this questions in our individual minds and ensure we move away from the status quo.