One Is One Too Many

memorial-ribbon-44This is a devastating story about a young girl who went through an ordeal very many unfortunate girls and women alike have had to go through. It is not just a story, not just another blog post, but also a call to self-examine and take action. One woman defiled is one too many.
#4 was just fifteen at the time and just done with her high school freshman year. She still saw the world with rose coloured glasses. She was full of hope and vigour, anticipating the adventures this new phase of life would bring. Change was all around her, even inside her very body. She was feeling things and her physical form was becoming more elaborate. She had no idea maturity would present challenges like she’d never encountered. And how could she know, when she was brought up in a society where uncomfortable truths are not told to children? She was naive and misinformed. She’d been warned sternly not to play with boys. But what does that mean really? The little she knew she had learned from the internet, television and stories shared among her peers. In a society where guidance is given in the form of vague threats, this is the only way the young get information. He, on the other hand, was twenty-six. He was socially established and seasoned in more ways than one. In addition to being from a prominent family, he had made a small fortune abroad and invested it back home. Now he was considerably financially well-off and idle. He attended all the fancy gigs and acquired the latest gadgets. He drove a nice car, and lived in one of the city’s hottest suburbs. He was a certified bad boy with the swagger to accompany it. For a girl like #4, that was the complete package. When he initiated friendship and keenly steered it towards a romantic relationship, poor #4 served herself to him on a silver platter.
He was a buddy of mine, an old one rather. Life took us to different places and we naturally drifted apart. We never got to reconnecting because as it turned out we wanted very different things in life. That, in addition to our age difference, is the equation that dissolved our friendship. #4 and I had known each other when we were younger. We had at the time just recently reconnected and a beautiful friendship ensued. I could tell she was a girl disturbed but despite that, she still managed to radiate a glow of hope and promise. That’s what drew me to her quite literally like a moth. I assumed she was going through the usual teenage challenges so I didn’t dig deep into that. After all, I was her friend, not her shrink. However, that did not mean that I couldn’t listen when she talked. One peaceful evening when the sunset was enchanting and the air crisp, I was walking #4 home like the gallant chap I am. We have these kinds of conversations that drift between all sorts of topic so it’s no surprise that we landed on sexual assault. That’s when she paused to take a deep breath and held my hand, then asked if she could share her pain with me. That’s when she told me what had transpired.
#4 fell in love hard and fast. She plummeted. When he asked her to be his girlfriend she accepted. He’d taken her out on dates and held her hand like a proper gentleman. He said he wasn’t bothered by what people thought of the two of them together, love is not concerned by the opinion of others. Those were haters, and they could hate because they belonged to each other. To say she was swooned would be to understate. To celebrate their newly found love he invited her to his house for lunch and a movie; a cosy indoor date. Poor unsuspecting #4 accepted and lied to her parents to get permission. If they knew she was going to see a man there would be hell to pay. They would completely lose it over what she thought was no big deal. In any case no one had made her understand what kind of deal this was. No one taught her to navigate relationships with the opposite gender. There was no avenue to discuss what she was going through and receive guidance on it. She arrived at her boyfriend’s place, prompt and prettied up to be with her man.
Lunch was delicious and the house was better furnished than her father’s. She had hit the jackpot with romantic bad boy. The movie was provocative, a lot more than she was used to. He seemed uneasy and this made her a bit more uncomfortable. A few minutes in, he had moved closer to her on the sofa and was now touching her, drawing circles around her partially exposed thighs. She was feeling a cocktail of things, most of which she neither liked nor understood. Before she could get a grip on what was happening, strong hands turned her face and moist lips locked with hers. For a moment, the hands remained on her face and she relaxed. This was her first kiss. She didn’t quite know what to do so she followed his lead and tried to remember what she’d read on Google.
Making out felt nice, relaxing even. She got lost in her affection for him and her earlier discomfort dissipated. Slowly, she felt the hands depart from her cheeks and begin to explore other regions of her body. At first, she wasn’t sure how she felt about it. There was a strange sensation in her loins, a deep passion and desire. Everything else, however, was protesting. Her heart was pounding and her mind could only think one thing; STOP. Her mouth was too occupied to speak so she tried to redirect that pair of curious hands. They were too strong for her and only kept exploring further, beyond her knickers where two meaty fingers plunged into a territory oh so sacrosanct. Her sanctity had been threatened and her entire being revolted. That was it! She tried to pull away but her efforts were hindered by a masculine hand that had been wrapped tightly around her back.
At this point #4 knew she was in deep trouble. Squirming got him to stop and ask what her issue was. She expressed her discomfort and he tried to convince her that people in love must do things to prove it. It was her duty as his girlfriend to please him. Before she could protest he was back at it. So many things were running through her mind she barely noticed his hands had left her body and were now undoing his belt. Luckily, she took notice just in time and sprung towards the door. He was hot on her heels. A hefty blow on her back almost made her lose consciousness but adrenaline and probably much more was flowing in abundance within her. A second one didn’t deter her either and she managed to get the door open. He panicked, not knowing what she intended to do. Lucky for him she just grabbed her shoes and ran, tears streaming down her face. #4 got home rattled and disturbed that afternoon. Every fibre in her body was wailing, but she had nobody to share it with. This was strange territory. She did not understand what happened, why it did, or whose fault it was. She was fortunate enough to escape but she was in no way unscathed. The only way for her to deal with it was to relieve it over and over until she was blasé. Sharing with her parents would only solicit scolding and harsh blaming. I’m the only one with whom she has ever felt safe enough to share her story, a conqueror’s story.
I used #4 to refer to her because she’s the fourth female friend to share such a story with me and to hide her identity as well. Unfortunately, the other three weren’t as lucky. They were raped, by men they knew and trusted. It saddens me that people I care about have been victims of sexual assault. It’s not just them too. It’s everywhere in the news and in social media and men, we are the ones perpetrating this monstrosity. We have to stop.
Everyone has a voice. I choose to use mine to make strong affirmations against sexual assault and by extension, violence against women. Fellas, her body belongs to her and she has veto powers concerning it. The way she dresses, talks and the kind of accessories she wears are completely her decision to make. It is by her for her. You have no business dictating and imposing. If she wears a scanty dress and reveals her breasts, it is not an invitation to copulation. If it provokes your loins you can approach her, initiate conversation and later on proposition her. She can as well ignore you. You’re not entitled to her attention.
It is unfortunate that I have to explain what consent is, but I will for the purpose of leaving no room for doubt. Consent is permission to do something. Do not do what you haven’t been permitted to do. It’s as plain as that. NO means NO. It has been said that a woman’s no is actually a yes. Guess who disagrees with that; women! That’s right. Women do have the capacity to reason and speak for themselves, shocking as it may seem to some. Some may argue that it’s not rape if a woman changes her mind during intercourse and the man continues. To these, I refer to my earlier point; it is her body and if she decides not to continue engaging you ought to respect that. I must also add that eternal consent is not given to a man by virtue of being a woman’s husband. You paid bride price and dowry buddy, not sex fees. She is not a prostitute you have on retainer. She has a voice, an opinion and the authority to deny you access to her body.
A woman is not a project, neither her body a commodity. Spending money on a woman does not entitle a man to her body or affection, unless there was an explicit agreement on the same, which is what is known as prostitution. She has the right to reject you, even after accepting your gifts. I looked up gift in the Longman Dictionary and this is the definition I got; Something that you give someone, for example to thank them or because you like them, especially on a special occasion. If you give a woman gifts because you like her, don’t expect to cash them in the form of love or sexual favours. You can’t bribe or purchase your place in a woman’s heart and/or privates.
If she’s a minor, fellas, you have no business in her vagina. For the young girls who might encounter this article, you should know that sex is not proof of love. You should not be pressured to put out to make someone believe that you love them. Don’t have sex with anyone unless you’re comfortable with doing so and have given them permission. It is your body. You decide who has what kind of access and when they do. Your body must be respected.
I chose to focus on women on because violence against women is rampant and needs to be addressed urgently. I know men like to come out guns blazing to say that not all men rape and defile, and I agree. However, the men who do are our brothers and friends. We know them and we live with them. This is a conversation all of us need to be having. Of all the rape against women, 90% is perpetrated by men. 93% of the men who have been raped were done so by fellow men. That brings the average of male-perpetrated rape to a staggering 91.5%. Boy child crusaders also like to shout about how men and boys are also defiled to divert attention so it’s only fair that I make this comparison. 35% of all women worldwide have faced assault or violence, including those of a sexual nature from non-partners. Up to 70% have suffered the same from partners (Lovers, husbands and boyfriends). However, only 1.5% of all men have been sexually assaulted. In addition, 71% of trafficked humans are female. Of these, 75% are trafficked specifically for sex. Teenage girls face the biggest risk of sexual assault but unfortunately only 1% of them seek help.
Brothers, I believe the world would be a much better place if we learned to respect women and their bodies. Respect is an integral part of human interaction. We must examine ourselves and unlearn all forms of indoctrination, cultural conditioning and misguided ideas about masculinity that cause us to rape and defile. SAY NO TO RAPE!

5 thoughts on “One Is One Too Many

Add yours

  1. This was a really great piece. They should be more awareness concerning this Rape and respect of a woman’s body…

    And conversations between men about rape should be had. These Are your friends and brothers.

    Liked by 2 people

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