Who is minding the boys?

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

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If there was a record of the history of weeks in the country, last week is likely to be noted as one of the most perturbing, considering the number of rape and sexual assault cases that were uncovered.

Almost every e-corner you turned, there was a gory tale or the other of rape, near-rape, sexual assault, or. Other forms of molestation. It almost became natural to go online, to find updated trending stories of rape.

Except that it’s not natural. There is nothing natural about rape.

It was like a spell; like an evil dust had been sprayed by a wicked goblin, all over the country. Much like those sinister practitioners dramatically depicted in Nollywood movies.

Agreed, the spike in rape stories is uncanny, and highly unnerving. But is it possible... that these statistics have always been right before our eyes, and social media is just bringing to light what would usually be denied and (subconsciously) wished away?

After all, ours was the generation that accepted that women existed for the mere pleasure of men, and were theirs for the taking. We are yet to completely unlearn the truckload of cat-droppings that has become enmeshed in our DNA, and we still close our eyes to assaults against women. 

What has been particularly disturbing in this ‘wave’ of rape cases is that the victims in themselves are minors, with the perpetrators also being minors, or (at the most) young adults.

It’s like a blatant ‘waka’ to all our efforts to ensure in ensuring that the misplaced sense entitlement to superiority by one gender - as endorsed in the last generation - is not passed over to the next generation.

Are we going about it wrong??

Is it possible that while we focus resources on re-orientation of the girl-child and unshackling her from the chains of regressive indoctrination, we daily fail the boy-child in abandoning him to his own devices, and trusting that "the boys will turn out alright after all”?

Do we forget that women do not exist in vacuum, so that all efforts at "empowerment" would be akin to pouring water in a sieve, if the other half of human existence fail to recognise and respect their rights to say No, and mean No?

Should we not be having equal – if not more –conversations with the boys, from their pre-formative years; teaching them what it means to co-exist peacefully, without the need to dominate their female counterparts?

Even as we teach our girls to stand up for their rights, and not cave in to pressure, we are obligated to also teach our boys to respect their choices; that anything less than an unequivocal, uncoerced "Yes" is an absolute No.

We should teach our boys that "ashewo" is no valid clap-back to any argument, for want of a better response.  And that it is not a "man's world"; it is a world for everybody.

That while culture and subjective interpretation to religion may tend to mislead them that women are ceated to be "submissive", they should always remember that gender is no prerequisite for Heaven. Or hell.

ALL are equal before God.

We should teach the boys that there is no shame in rightly regarding the female as equal. Her strength should not be regarded as threatening, but should be welcome as competitive motivation. Her desire to speak and be heard should not be dismissed as "difficult" or "bossy": by her very existence, she has earned her right to her voice.

Image result for african boys

We should un-teach boys that girls belong to the kitchen. Actually, nobody belongs to the kitchen everybody belongs in the kitchen.

Or how else would we deal with hunger?

We should also let our boys understand that they too are vulnerable to being taken advantage of. That it is no weakness to protest, and speak up when adults (or even, their peers) violate their privacy, or assault them. That "sissy is a silly world, and there is no weakness in crying or being hurt; especially (not) in being hurt. For hurt people hurt people.

It is a sad vicious cycle.

We can no longer continue to just smack our fingers in shudders at these 'stories' of rape, in wilful blindness to the truth that the perpetrators did not fall from the sky: they are our sons.

If the generation before us failed to teach the males, we have no excuse. At the very least, we have the advantage of knowledge.

That is all the power you need.

Use it.



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  1. I don't know the punishment for rape but I wish the punishment for this evil act is much bigger than whatever it is