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Atoke’s Awkward Banter: For the Less than 10% Who Lie About Rape

Atoke

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In a scene from a Yoruba movie titled Ko S’orogun – No Rival (Produced in 2002, directed by Wemimo Olu Paul) a woman’s financial and sexual patron dies unexpectedly (well, the Grim Reaper doesn’t exactly go around giving a notice of arrival). This woman realizes that she is unable to pay her rent without her patron. The Property Caretaker comes in and asks her to vacate the property with immediate effect. Stranded and out of options for keeping her accommodation, she decides to exchange the promise of sexual favours for the right to room and board. She casually touches the Caretaker’s shoulder and informs him that her previous rejection of his sexual advances has now been rendered null and void. She states categorically that she is now down for whatever.

Caretaker, disbelieving, hesitates; however, this is a woman with a mission. She begins to take off  his clothes. She takes off his hat, caresses his face, and places a light kiss on his cheek. The man is tickled beyond measure now, his excitement is palpable. He is vibrating with anticipation, but he remembers he has collected rent from a replacement tenant. He asks the woman for her new address. He was there to evict her; where were they going to continue this new budding relationship offer that she had just placed on the table? The woman shrugs and states that if she moves out, there’s no chance Caretaker will get the nooky. Caretaker muses out loud that he hasn’t, after all, issued a receipt to the new tenant. He reckons, it’s fair. No harm done… yet.

The woman continues the process of undressing him. Buba is swiftly taken off, and the pants follow quickly; this woman is deft in the art of unclothing. She undos two of her own shirt buttons, to give the Caretaker some form of assurance that she is all in. Then, she unzips her pants, and with one hand on her hip, she sizes the Caretaker up and asks him what he is trying to do. Are you trying to rape me? She asks, gesticulating at his partially undressed state. If you’re not trying to rape me, why are you undressed? The Caretaker’s confusion is unmistaken. But you initiated this, he says. Me? When? Her denial goes on for a while. At some point she starts screaming for neighbours to help her; her claims that the Caretaker is trying to rape her bounces off the walls, and he tries to muffle her screams with his hand. What does she want in return for keeping quiet? Well, if you’ve read it thus far, I’m sure you can guess… Free accommodation.

Data on rape and sexual assault, indicates that 1% -8% of rape allegations are false. According to a UK Home Office report, 4% of the cases of sexual violence reported to the police are suspected to be false. Studies around Europe and the US indicated 2% -6% of allegations are false. At the time of writing, I was unable to get conclusive data on the the rate of false accusations of rape in Nigeria. However, infinitesimal the general number seems to be, there is no denying that these numbers represent people. These people, deserve to be heard and recognised. They are not just statistics; they are people, living and breathing. They are people who have to deal with the consequence of lies.

Where an allegation of rape is found to be false, there is no criminal defence available to the wrongly accused individual; said innocent person is only able to bring a civil action against the accuser to claim for damages.

It is difficult to imagine what a person goes through, when their image is tarnished, based on a false accusation. The burden of proving that they in fact obtained consent, or are innocent is on them. In addition, they have to try to understand the intent of the accuser.

Why would anyone lie that they were raped or sexually assaulted when they were not? Does anyone do it for fun? Is it simply for malicious intent? Or like in the case of the character in the movie, as blackmail in exchange for financial gain? Has anybody ever gotten brand endorsements or social influencer status from being a rape victim? Why are you falsely accusing people of raping you? Why are you going around telling lies?

Do false accusers understand the damage they do to actual victims of rape? For every lie that is told about sexual violence, there’s 99% of women who get their true stories invalidated, because there’s a 1% chance that someone is telling a lie.

What you believe is a simple lie, or a quiet fib, to get out of paying your bills, or to assuage your hurting heart is core factor in why real victims do not speak out.

In a country like Nigeria where women are not taken seriously when they speak out about rape, you constantly hear stories of “so many lives being destroyed by false allegations”. The “so many lives” form 1% -6% of rape allegations. Men lie; women lie, but numbers do not. The work to reduce and eliminate rape in Nigeria is constantly watered down by the negative effect of these lies, and that is why they need to stop.

If you have an issue with someone, resorting to accusing them of raping you is certainly not the way to go. It is assumed that you know this, but simply do not care. However, I’d like to appeal to whatever bit of humanity is left within you, to cease and desist from this approach to get payback for whatever slight or wrong you may feel.

In countries where there’s accurate data collection and a valid reporting system, there are effects to being on the sexual offenders list; so if a person is found guilty of rape, they are automatically flagged as a sexual offender, thus limiting (if not eliminating) the possibility of the crime being committed again. However, in Nigeria, the worst that can happen to a person who is accused of rape is loss of social capital. Even then, said men still manage to find women who will defend them, and ride for them till kingdom come. What’s the worst that will happen to someone that you falsely accuse of rape? What? Do you think they will be ostracised? No! Because we have short term memories and we’re largely forgiving of crime and criminals.

Think about it! This is Nigeria; it is a patriarchal and deeply misogynistic country. Will the person get fired? Maybe, maybe not. Will someone re-hire them? Chances are that they will. There’s no actively updated sexual offenders list (In 2014, Babatunde Fashola as Governor of Lagos State, signed an executive order to establish a sexual offender’s list.) The person you’ve accused wrongly is not going to become a social pariah. Why are you, then lying? If you’re lying because someone broke your heart, hurt your feelings or stole your cat, what do you stand to gain?

These false accusations have a deeper and more lasting impact on actual victims of sexual violence. We live in a society where the default position is to assume the victim is lying, and this is further perpetuated by liars in the 1% margin. It makes no logical sense, when there’s a preponderance of victims, which very obviously tip the scale. However, misogyny reigns supreme. The numbers say one thing, but the society chooses to wield the sword of the less than 10% of people who have been wrongly accused.

Nigeria has a prevalent rape culture. We have a long way to go in terms of reporting, victim support, prosecution and even rehabilitation. Don’t add to our problems by lying. Rape victims don’t need one more person telling flimsy lies about sexual violence.

We do not need one more shallow person adding to the 1% -10% of false accusations. Stop lying. If you’re old enough to have sexual relations, have sex if you want to have sex. Own your sexuality; own your sexual prowess. Have SEX if you want to have sex. Women, stop being shamed into pretending that you did not want to have sex.

Do whatever you want with your genitals, but don’t lie about rape…EVER!

If you lie for attention or public sympathy, stop it. If you’re tempted to lie about rape just for the heck of it, do not. It’s not fun and games for victims of rape. It is horrible trauma that I won’t wish on my worst enemy.

We’re hoping to disabuse people of the notion that disbelieving a victim is the first course of action, liars and false accusers are not helping the situation. If you need to get someone back for hurting you or wanting to collect their rent, find something else. Please stop using rape or sexual violence as your tool. It’s stupid and insensitive.

Just stop it!

PS
If you are a victim of sexual violence/assault, please report to the nearest police station. Go immediately, do not wash your clothes, or take a shower. Report immediately.

Remember, you are not alone. I stand with you. You are NOT alone.

You may also contact the following places in Lagos:

Mirabel Centre
Stand to End Rape
Women At Risk International Foundation
Human Development Initiatives

You probably wanna read a fancy bio? But first things first! Atoke published a book titled, +234 - An Awkward Guide to Being Nigerian. It's available on Amazon. ;)  Also available at Roving Heights bookstore.Okay, let's go on to the bio: With a Masters degree in Creative Writing from Swansea University, Atoke hopes to be known as more than just a retired foodie and a FitFam adherent. She can be reached for speechwriting, copywriting, letter writing, script writing, ghost writing  and book reviews by email – [email protected]. She tweets with the handle @atoke_ | Check out her Instagram page @atoke_ and visit her website atoke.com for more information.

14 Comments

  1. Ceejay

    July 9, 2018 at 11:52 am

    Well said…rape is a serious thing that shouldn’t be played with. The reality is true victims are traumatized and the falsely accused suffers defamation.

  2. Adeleke

    July 9, 2018 at 11:52 am

    Women are sleek

  3. AceOfSpades

    July 9, 2018 at 12:09 pm

    Social media is at its peak now. Everyone wants to be an influencer and they need followers. Can you see how the Dammy girl who accused someone of being ‘rapey’ now has more followers and her posts are getting attention? I personally know the girl who accused Tunde Ednut of sexual harassment and her words were ‘I will finish his career and become a big brand from it’ but it did bounce in her face as it was just ‘toasting’ gone wrong. Now imagine thousands and thousands of girls out there thinking this same thing to get popular.

    That data you gave must have been some years ago. Let them try and find new data because even in US and UK, there are lots of people in jail for rape not committed. A very few are just getting freed when cases are revisited with improved technology. Rape accusation is a power many women know they have and when someone does you wrong and rage won’t let you breathe and you know you can’t do anything to the person, what will you do?

    While some are real victims, I think this lying can’t stop in a world where everyone wants to trend and this will continue to water down the seriousness of real cases. Some situations can go wrong and the first thing a lady thinks is to ‘he wants to rape me’ eg The DSF saga.

    • Optimus Prime

      July 10, 2018 at 5:49 pm

      This is why statistics can be manipulated to drive any narrative. The 1-10% are the women that got caught while lying. The amount of false rape accusers can never be known. A lot of them succeed in punishing innocent men with their blatant lies.

      Jemma Beale in the U.K. claimed she had been seriously sexually assaulted by six men and raped by nine, all strangers, in four different incidents over three years. One of the men was wrongly convicted & got 7 years. So in a country like that where investigations are carried out to the last detail, a woman’s blatant lie still sent an innocent man to jail.

      Her girlfriend came out years after to confess to the police that she is into the business of making up false rape incidents because of the compensation she gets paid. That was what led into the fresh investigation that later got her convicted. She got 10 years imprisonment which I think was too little in comparison to the number of lives she could have potentially destroyed.

  4. BlueEyed

    July 9, 2018 at 12:34 pm

    This was really difficult to read, maybe because of how severe the issue of rape is now and how it is now being discussed and no longer trivialized as in the past , I just couldn’t relate to the reality of this post. Not that I don’t agree that there are false rape cases, I just don’t subscribe to this line of thought this early in this fight against rape and domestic abuse. Too soon Atoke, too soon.

    • Tara

      July 9, 2018 at 2:43 pm

      I agree 100%!

    • Jummy

      July 9, 2018 at 2:49 pm

      How is it too soon? Too soon to tell people not to falsify rape cases? How silly!

    • D.K

      July 9, 2018 at 9:42 pm

      I’m telling you!!! Someone somewhere is living in shame and sadness because someone lied about being raped and Blueyed had the ‘mind’ to say Atoke is talking too soon. How silly indeed.

    • akama

      July 9, 2018 at 2:59 pm

      When is the right time to talk about the issue?

    • Ajala & Foodie

      July 9, 2018 at 3:39 pm

      @ Blue Eyed, I am confused. Why is it too soon? Atoke’s point here is directed at those women who are still doing their best to trivialize the issue of rape. So if you believe rape and domestic abuse is no longer trivialized and rightly so, I don’t get why you would think this is not appropriate at this time. If we want the trend of the #metoo movement to continue then we had better address the bad eggs in our midst that are doing their best to ensure that this issue stops getting the serious attention it requires.

    • Iyke

      July 9, 2018 at 8:07 pm

      No it is not too soon!
      I DO NOT support rape or any crime against wo/men. I have however read and witnessed cases where naija ladies have taken false accusations against men to the next level – playing the victim just to destroy someone else’s image.
      Their past time these days is to open or go to facebook groups to destroy/tarnish wo/men with false accusations of rape and other vices with no proof.
      While not supporting RAPE or any other crime against women, I subscribe to fact based accusations. If a crime has been committed, gather your evidence and report to the approriate law enforcement. But NO, that’s not their intention, rather to tarnish someone’s name and image out of bitterness and anger.

    • Abi

      July 9, 2018 at 8:16 pm

      My sentiments exactly.

  5. Wizarab10

    July 9, 2018 at 10:48 pm

    The consequences of false accusations such as rape is enormous. In s social media age like this, your image is tarnished, your job is definitely taken away from you and your life spiral down before your very eyes. Ladies that falsify rape accusations, please stop!!!! Nice one Atoke

  6. LemmeRant

    July 10, 2018 at 10:47 am

    Lmao. One babe there is saying this is too soon.

    Lol I can’t even deal. How many times has Atoke written articles on false rape accusation. How many times have BN.
    Lol how many times have this blog even published stories where a guy is falsely accused of rape. The most recent one I can recall is still that #bergertomile2 story that was trending all over Twitter and Instagram. Did BN see that one? No. But if it is a guy that is at fault now, they’ll jump on it.
    I’m actually even surprised reading an article like this on BN sef. Truth is y’all need to leave the confines of BN to get unbiased news about things actually happening, then you’ll get a better perspective of things.

    Anyways which one is my own. Americans have a way of crucifying themselves.
    I see a future where every guy will need a signed document before going on dates, house visits etc..

    Lemme just position myself nicely to make profit off this new trend. Who knows maybe the new WhatsApp might come with an e-document where the 2 parties must sign b4 conversation even starts.

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