She trips on her torn clothing and falls face flat on the ground. Her assailant in quickly upon her and delivers blows enough to weaken a young bull. She is pinned face in the dirt as she sobs. Tears slowly trickle down. She begins to beg perhaps this animal still has a conscience. She tries to explain her religious beliefs. But like a busy grown up ignoring a child’s incoherent babbling, he turns a deaf ear. She promises not to shout if he would just stop the beating. She wondered if nobody heard her scream. She wondered where the so-called vigilantes where. She wondered why it had to be her. She feels the last piece of clothing moved to the side for room. And in a split second she feels his thrust as she gasps for air. She had failed. What she had safeguarded for over 20 years had been lost in less than 20 minutes. She feels her whole world crashing down. A pain deeper than her fleshly wounds. A lot of “what ifs” running thru her mind. Would she be able to face tomorrow? She begs her assailant to just kill her and end the suffering but he is deeply engrossed in self-gratification. She begins to scream again and her assailant feels there is no need to hang around any longer, wipes off and hurries back into the shadows. She had been raped. And there in the dirt she lays to weep.
Rape has become common in today’s world, girls from war-torn areas are being raped by soldiers of invading armies, destitute girls hawking to survive have also become victim of rape and the most irritating is the rape of minors by older men. Society, media, and other parties have pointed accusing fingers on various factors as the cause of rape. Some have called on the legalisation of sex merchants others on more terrifying punishment. NGOs have been setup to help victims cope with the trauma and special law enforcement units have been put together to investigate cases of rape. However a group of people who have been so faintly touched as a causative factor in all this are the girls themselves.
Fashion trends have led several girls to believe that the less clothes they have on, the more pretty they are. Skirts have become shorter, trousers have gone tighter, and like an aunt once described, yoga pants that look like what an African woman should wear as an undergarment are now being worn as a fashion trend. The craze to look “sexy” has left mothers and wives-to-be half-naked.
How has this affected society?
Psychologists have concluded that the make up of a woman’s emotional response is totally different from the make up of a man’s. It has become popular knowledge that a woman reacts more to what she hears while a man reacts more to what he sees. A woman might act based on what she has repeatedly heard. Might be sweet words from a suitor or the repeated persuasion from a marketer and a man would act on accumulated mental images of things he has seen coupled with his strong imagination. But what does this have to do with rape you might ask? The rape of men is a very rare case in our country and hence would not come up here as we focus on the more prevalent kind of rape; that of women.
Since men act more on what they see, how have you played a part in encouraging rape. Encourage rape? That’s absurd!!!”, you might say, but then let’s describe how strong a man’s imagination is. A man needs not see a whole picture, just a part of it and he can paint the rest with his mind. A man might see your exposed cleavage and might start to imagine the rest if he doesn’t look away, and at that point a mental image has been burned into his head. He boards a bus and a woman that decides to wear her jeans low exposes the crack of her buttocks, he imagines the rest of it and yes more mental images burned into his head and with the prevalence of the “sexy” dressing, one can be very sure he would overload his brain with such images. The fashion trend to leave very little to the imagination or “dress to kill” has indeed done more harm than good. And while I strongly say that there is nothing on the surface of the earth that would excuse rape we can also say you and your “sexy” dressing is a causative factor as this overloaded brain of a street urchin would seek gratification somehow. Some might ask me, didn’t rape exist prior to the “sexy” fashion trend? Well, how many fathers violated daughters back then? How many children were molested? If you had the power to cut down the number of victims however far fetched the theory might sound, shouldn’t you take the chance? Granted we are talking about real monsters, but just before you wear that dress that leaves nothing to the imagination think about the perverted mind that would harm another of our sisters based on what you had shown him. And when there is an unfortunate incidence of rape, the victim shouldn’t keep it to herself. When you keep quiet, you give the attacker yet another opportunity to strike. Report to the relevant authorities so he can be found and brought to justice, even though we have little faith in our judicial system. The government of Nigeria on one hand had amended the constitution to state that anyone found guilty of rape would be sentenced to life imprisonment. We do hope this goes a long way to reduce incidences of rape. All this is basically my opinion, and there are several other strong factors for rape. However we do need to share the blame when next you hear of a case of rape and you still decide to dress provocatively.