Mudiwa Brandon Pfupa
Rhodes University in South Africa
It is disgusting how the societies we live in have turned into spaces where atrocious deeds such as rape have become ‘one of those things’.
People have even classified rape:-marital rape, statutory rape, date rape. In whatever form, rape injures the victim to the core, disempowers and dehumanises them. I have a sister, female cousins and friends, I cannot imagine any one of them telling me that they have been raped. I recently lost a college mate due to rape and this death has been to me an eye opener. No man has power over any woman’s body no matter how strong you think your relationship is.
The college mate I lost is Khensani Maseko (may her soul rest in eternal peace) who committed suicide on the 3rd of August 2018 after succumbing to the depression that followed her falling victim to rape at the hands of her own boyfriend whom she dearly loved and trusted. This brings up yet another issue of how, as males, we should reflect on our actions and cast out the demon of entitlement.
The patriarchal societies socialise men to exercise dominion over basically everyone and everything especially women and this is entirely absurd in a world where a high population of women are more qualified than men.
Essentially, whether there is a relationship or even in a marriage, no man is entitled to sex with a woman. When and if she says “NO!”, it means NO. Now the boyfriend-rapist will have to face the wrath of the law and the guilt!!
The number of rape victims far out numbers the numbers of rapists. This is because society has normalised rape and we let the rapists walk freely and live among us. We laugh and tolerate rape tendencies even when they are expressed in a joke and by doing so we let that culture continue. Instead, we should be calling our friends and relatives to order by telling them that rape is very wrong.
Many a time people shame the rape victim instead of calling out the culprit and bringing them to justice. Society often passes comments like, “what were you wearing?”, “why were you drunk in the first place?” but NEVER take time to sit men down and indoctrinate the words “DO NOT RAPE!” It’s also disappointing as a male, how most of my peers often get their attention grabbed on matters of rape after a victim has reported yet another issue of rape. Why can’t we, as we play FIFA or when we ‘grab a cold one’, tell each other to never force ourselves on women and respect women when they say the golden word, “NO!”
As I write my mind is taken to social media platforms. We comment on our friends’ posts but when something weird or thought provoking is posted we do not engage our friends and find out if there is anything we can do to help.
Khensani posted stuff that had suicidal implications but I guess no one saw it coming. We read posts not to understand but to comment. We need to take closer looks at our friends’ posts and do necessary follow ups.
The sad reality of life is people choose to fight rape when the victim is their daughter or sister but the fact is we can avoid all that if we bring rapists to justice. If we stop judging survivors of rape, they will find it easy to share their story and we can avert many suicides.
I will quote one of my favourite authors, Carlos Wallace; “Ladies, the only thing that gives a man the right to touch you is your permission.”
Guys, without that permission let us not cross the line. I pray society stops being judgemental and starts treating rape with the seriousness it deserves.
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