BY NIGERIAN AUTHOR AMARA CHIDINMA EZEDINIRU
Following my thoughts on how the shadow of an opposite gender sends shivers down my spine, our men have bemoaned my stance of boxing them as rapists and presenting them as ‘suspects’ to our girls.
Many years ago, when I was beaten by a man, the verdict was harsh on me. “You must have been in his way, you provoked him to hit you, your mouth was too sharp, you are a woman, learn to be submissive…” and more. These remarks came from all sides: the law enforcement agents, the clergy, the neighbours, the family and friends mainly consisting of men.
This is typical. Our culture endorses it, our movies flaunt it, our songs magnify it. Our curriculum shoves it down our throats.
“Should they be afraid of their fathers? Should they not trust their brothers? Will there be another specie of humans for girls to relate with? Will they not get married? Why are you dissuading our children from trusting us? Extreme generalisation, not acceptable, even from your personal lived experiences, can you say that truthfully, that all men are rapists?”
They’ve tormented me with all sorts of questions trying to justify that I’m wrong.
Am I wrong?
“Igbo people are industrious” is a worthy saying but it does not rule out that there are lazy morons amongst them. That Yoruba people are great scholars does not mean they have no dullards and drop-outs. The world over knows that Nigerians are corrupt yet there is an Ngozi Okonjo Iweala who served at the World Bank with an unblemished record.
What exactly does a blanket sentence mean? Are we pretending not to know because the word rapist is on the table?
Are women constantly beaten? Yes.
Are women constantly raped? Yes.
Who are the perpetrators of this evil? Men.
Where do these happen and the culprits go unscathed? Nigeria.
What then shall we not say? Nigerian men are not rapists?
Perhaps if we had more men chiding their friends, brothers, uncles, fathers, colleagues and neighbours when they celebrate women’s bodies as toys, the rate of these crimes would have reduced. They either laugh or remain silent. They never speak out publicly. They even hush a woman who dares speak out, they threaten her with stigmatization. They make jokes of violence, of rape, of subservience, they see no wrong in doing so.
“Do you want our family name to be in disrepute?” they blackmail a hurting woman to keep quiet hence justice is denied.
Our men care more about their family name, their status, their clout and class far more than the battered emotion of their sister, daughter, mother and friend. Sometimes, they creep in at night to seek resolution not wanting their faces to be seen. They offer money to cover shame and use their positions to intimidate their victims. Yet they say all men are not rapists?
All men are not rapists. They are angelic. They have given us maximal care and protection. They scuffle anyone who dares ruffle a female. They give their lives for our lives.
Who said our men of timber and caliber are rapists?
Amara Chidinma Ezediniru is a business administrator, human resource manager and a certified teacher. She is widely traveled, a compassionate Rotarian, an author of three books, and a mother. She is the managing consultant of Rald and Vid Consulting Ltd.