BY HALIMA BAKENNE
On Saturday, May 30th 2020, the Mirabel Centre’s Twitter account was tagged on a tweet about ensuring justice for a young lady named Uwa, who had been viciously raped and physically assaulted in a church in Benin.
We immediately reached out to this young man via his DM on Twitter and provided contact details of lawyers and NGOs in Edo state that could help.
Unfortunately, barely 3 hours after the conversation, the poster informed us that Uwa had passed and requested that we do all we could to get justice for her.
With heavy hearts and a black cloud over our heads, we got to work and quickly put out a tweet announcing the tragic event and calling for justice from all and sundry.
As the news spread to demand #JusticeforUwa, voices began to rise and statements were made to express that #WeAreTired.
However, there were people (read men) who thought that a fight against the injustices women constantly face somehow meant that men’s rights were being neglected.
Here is the thing; we all know “men also get raped”. Another thing we know is that no one makes jokes about these stories when they are shared more than men themselves.
As a matter of fact, saying that the rights of men are not fought for is a big slap in the face of the many women who have been at the fore of fighting battles that directly impact men’s lives. We’ve called out police brutality, the offences of SARS, we’ve stood with men who were at one time or the other sexually assaulted and are now ready to share their stories.
The Mirabel Centre recently published a post about male-on-male abuse and we have also been known to take on cases of sexual assault against boys and men.
So the issue here is that you’re not really concerned about the support men supposedly do not receive when they share their stories. The real issue is that you are trying to derail the conversation currently being had and we will not stand for that.
And to those of you who ask inane questions in order to shame and discredit victims, we can categorically tell you – drawing on the number of cases we have dealt with at the Mirabel Centre since its existence – that it really doesn’t matter where she was, what she was wearing, why she was there, what she said, what she did, how she walked/eat/slept/breathed, who she is, whether
she fought or not, screamed or otherwise, RAPISTS RAPE BECAUSE THEY WANT TO.
In a bid to help, we also see people talking about self-defense, and how it can help women avoid getting raped.
This is shortsighted, because it exposes the underbelly of the issue, which is that our society sees the crime of rape as something the woman should take responsibility for. This goes to prove just how deeply rape is ingrained in our society, that it is subtly permissible to an extent – that being as long as the larger society does not raise awareness against it.
So, we’ll leave you with this – rather than teach girls how not to get raped, teach your boys that they have absolutely NO right to a woman’s body!
IT’S ABOUT TIME OUR SOCIETY STOPS FAILING THE GIRL CHILD.