As the world battle the systemic discrimination against women, Nigerians are still swimming in other forms of insanity which no one is, in this 21st century, proud, even to mention. On the 27th of May 2020, Ms. Vera Uwaila Omozuwa, a 22-year-old microbiology student of Benin City was found drowning on her blood after being raped by (an) unknown individual(s). Ms. Uwaila had the habit of studying in a local church in her village. On that faithful day, she went as usual and was carried away half dead after some vultures defiled her.
The absurdity of the Uwaila odyssey is not just that she was raped to death. The worst is that such insanity took place in a church.
And while we try to understand the mystery behind raping in Nigeria, a country that exports churches; has the highest number of both Muslim and Christian faithful in the entire continent and vows on its Jewish origin, another group is trying to divert our attention from the real problem.
Since the recent manifestation against the brutal and inhuman murder of George Floyd, we have noticed different ways of approaching social mobilization. And among all the diverting technic we have noticed, the one applied by a group that subtly adopts a neutral position when in essence they are playing a denial game is the worst. The method is apparently genuine. They simply ask why we should say that Black Lives Matter, instead of All Lives Matter. These people think that they are trying to be just, but they are simply denying the fact that black people are being racially segregated. What they ignore, however, is that if a man tells you his pains after losing the wife, you do not tell him that many men lose their wives too. And if a woman tells you that the son died, you do not tell her that many people lose their children as well. It does not mean that other individuals are not important. It simply means that the importance of the ones in crisis is in question.
In the case of Ms. Vera Uwaila Omozuwa, instead of condemning those who raped her to death, some folks are playing the denial game. They just incidentally remembered that men can be victims of rape.
Whereas in a Global Health Action study published on the 21st of August 2014, rape was considered a pandemic in Nigeria.
We have just started the 7th month of the year 2020, and the police have already reported over 717 cases of rape in Nigeria. The reason being that Nigeria is a country where the law on rape is so complex that it is almost impossible to prove that one is a victim of rape. What this means is that victims prefer not to report the case even to their own families. But that’s not the question here.
The question is why is it that it is always whenever a woman is raped that we remember that boys can also be victims of rape? Are we concerned about boys or are we just denying the fact that women are victims of our masochist society?
I initially alluded to those who subtly deny racism against the blacks for this very reason. I’m yet to understand what pushes some people to believe that we have to consecrate every effort of our society to massaging their fragile masculine ego. If the fate of male victims of rape preoccupies them, why must they only wait until the denunciation of the inhuman treatment of women in the Nigerian society to underline that?
In a recent article published in La Croix International, 25 June 2020, we can read:
“Governors in the 36 states of Nigeria (on 12 June 2020) have declared a state of emergency over rape and gender-based violence against women and children in Africa’s most populous country.UN estimates that one in four Nigerian girls has been the victim of sexual violence, but many analysts say this could be higher due to a variety of reasons such as stigma and lack of trust in the police and judicial process.”
The worst is that whenever a victim is raped in Nigeria, we blame woman. We blame them either for dressing indecently or for tempting men as if women cannot be tempted too. Maybe for cultural reasons, we have come to normalize rape as men feel entitled to have their way even into women.