Over the weekend, twitter was set alight by the link to a website which showed a female student from Abia State University being gang raped by 5 men. The link made its rounds and I am told many people left comments on the site after watching the video, so much so that the topic became a ‘trending topic’ in our side of the world.
As I type this article, I am going through a range of emotions I find difficult to describe. I do not understand how anyone can watch a video of a woman being raped, defiled, her dignity taken and then all we do is leave a comment and walk away. I personally refused to watch the video, in fact, I don’t even have the link. While I am sure, many would argue that this is a personal choice, I cannot realistically understand why anyone would watch this video, unless it was being watched at the police station with the sole purpose of identifying the culprits. Other than that, its wide viewership, till date, is actually quite disturbing and should be seen as a barometer for the level of moral decadence our country has sunk to.
First off, for any man to rape a woman is in itself an issue, but to take it further by taping the crime and placing it for public viewing shows a level of effrontery unparalleled by anything I have ever known. Then, that other men would in turn watch it and leave comments about how the victim may have attracted the rapists because of her attire, points to a new found level of idiocy amongst some of the Nigerian male gender.
Sometimes I wonder if women are really the ones who gave birth to men because the level of disregard for female-related issues in our country is beyond disheartening. Women, should be protected by men, we are not objects for defilement and public ridicule.
But men aren’t alone in this. Even women too have shown a level of detachment to this issue that borders on worrisome. How do we watch a fellow woman being raped, her breasts ravaged by intruders and her most private place desecrated by unwanted objects and feel no urgency! What we do not understand is we are all victims of this crime. When things like this happen, they seem far away from us, we read about it, shake our heads and go back to our ‘secure’ lives without realising that our society is dissipating right before us. What may not affect us today, may well affect our children and grandchildren in the not so distant future. When we watch videos such as these and do not react with equal display of disgust, we unwittingly encourage these acts to become further entrenched in our daily lives.
For the avoidance of doubt, rape isn’t porn and it is definitely not surprise sex as the above twitter handle ludicrously describes it. It is not consensual sex filmed for the purpose of public arousal. Rape, gang rape which is portrayed in this light is a complete defilement of a woman. It shows we aren’t safe. It shows we cannot trust our men. It shows that our men do not respect or care about us. It shows that our society is in trouble. Our government has failed us and we in turn are failing ourselves.
Right now, I actually feel both helpless and ashamed. I cannot imagine what the victim of the video must be feeling, to have endured something so terrible only to find that the rest of the world had become privy to her defilement and have gone as far as to blame her for it. Ashamed, because I cannot believe this could happen in a country I call home and that some of the men who have watched this tape and those that committed this act are today’s and tomorrow’s husbands and fathers.
So I ask you Nigerians, what is the solution. How do we get this improper content off the internet? How do we ensure that the perpetrators of this crime get the punishment that they deserve? How do we stop this obvious downward spiral of our society’s morals? How do we equip our men to better protect and care for us? So many questions, but where are the answers…?