I suffer from shock. Anytime something untoward or unexpected happens to me, I am immobile for a few seconds or minutes before gathering myself and willing myself into a reaction. This also means that I am not the type to shout, burst into tears or wail on receiving unpleasant news. The tears come later…after processing events. My friend, Anna (real name withheld), on the other hand, is highly emotional. The tears are never far away whenever she gets upsetting news; at other times, she would let out a scream or shout of pain. Two friends, two different reactions to bad news.
At the times I have been robbed or witnessed an accident, I never screamed or panicked because I was in a state of shock. When I lost loved ones, the tears never came immediately because I would be dazed for a moment. I would contemplate what happened, pondering on the probability that it wasn’t actually a reality; imagining that it was a dream and I would soon wake up to find that everything was at they were before I drifted into slumberland. Then, it would dawn on me—A was actually dead—B indeed lost everything in a fire incident. Then, tears or deep sadness would take over.
It’s the reason I can relate to a rape victim who says they were unable to scream or kick or shout when they were being defiled. I understand because I am prone to shock too.
There’s been a lot of debate around the rape allegation Busola Dakolo made against the Senior Pastor of Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA), Biodun Fatoyinbo. While the rape claim remains an allegation, it’s been interesting and more poignantly, saddening to read some of the responses to the entire episode.
To many, Mrs Dakolo’s decision to come out with her story 19 years after it allegedly happened already calls for suspicion. Why would anyone want to resurrect an incident that happened almost a lifetime ago if not to deliberately bring a “man of God” down? For others, the accused, in this case, has all the trappings of one whom people would love to destroy. He is rich, good looking, and holds an exalted position—the perfect recipe for qualification as a candidate for persecution.
The third and fourth schools of thought opine that a 17-year old girl cannot be exactly innocent, and if indeed sex happened between the accuser and the accused, then it must have been consensual, and a woman whom as a chorister allegedly dated and had a child outside wedlock for her choirmaster should hardly be believed when she screams rape. If I had not read these comments myself, I would have waved it as beer parlour gist.
But these are genuine views people hold regarding this matter.
Sadly, rape apologists abound. They are our friends, brothers, sisters, and even our parents. People who are first inclined to doubt the victim whenever there’s a fresh allegation of sexual abuse. Humans amongst us who scoff and sneer at the #MeToo movement. They cannot seem to wrap their heads around it, choosing instead to believe that the growing vocalness of once subjugated individuals is yet another attention seeking venture or a misandry-rooted ploy (since women are mostly the victims of sexual harassment).
I have fallen out with “friends” who had no qualms downplaying rape or Busola Dakolo’s story even when a court of competent jurisdiction is yet to hear the matter, not just because I am unshaken in my belief that rape ranks as one of the top two most heinous crimes a human can commit against another, but because the hypocrisy of these Thomases was exposed when they were asked if their reaction would remain the same if the finger-pointing was done by a relative.
Ask a rape apologist if they would keep the same energy if their daughter, sister or mother was violated and you would see one who was only just basking in their ignorance-induced arrogance scramble to give a response.
It always works!
Interestingly, the men who make a joke out of sexual abuse almost always have daughters. Yet, they never stop to think that perhaps this despicable act might be perpetrated against their precious kid one day. And before you blurt “God Forbid”, know it’s a possibility; those who found themselves at the receiving end of this atrocious deed never envisaged that it could happen to them either. What makes you think your child is special?
These same men (or women), if straight, loathe to wrap their minds around the possibility of being forced to have gay sex let alone have it happen in actuality, but have no scruples suggesting that a woman can end up enjoying the act of rape if only she would relax.
It’s easy to mock a pain we haven’t been through, yet, decent human beings don’t do that. It’s called Empathy— putting oneself in the shoes of another in an attempt to feel what they are going through.
Even if we cannot seem to understand or fathom a person’s narrative, its best to be quiet rather than castigate them for it.