By Donu Kogbara
LASTÂ week, I quoted a friend who thinks that seduction is a â€œcopingâ€ or survival strategy within certain contexts and is absolutely convinced that predatory women who set out to seduce influential men deserve sympathy rather than condemnation.
According to my friend, women who relentlessly target men for materialistic reasons a) are victims of an unjust society in which it is extremely difficult for females to thrive without male protection and b) cannot be blamed for doing whatever it takes to get the help they need from men, given that the easiest way of persuading a typical Nigerian man to be fair is to either seize the initiative and offer him sex or meekly comply if he invites you to become his lover.
Because several Nigerian VIPs have tried to take advantage of me at times when I have been in a weak position and have made it clear that they will only deliver professional or financial assistance if I sleep with them, there is no doubt in my mind that my friendâ€™s analysis was a reasonable and accurate one.
But I have always flatly refused to succumb to subtle or overt sexual blackmail. I would rather do without cash or jobs than sell my body or my soul; and I used to be highly critical of women who allow themselves to be bullied into bed and women who actively encourage men to regard them as tantalizing bedroom fodder.
But I recently concluded that I should judge my fellow females less harshlyâ€¦and concentrate on despising the exploitative men who prostitutionalise them.
On reflection, itâ€™s a case of â€œThere But For The Grace Of God Go Iâ€. I have always been able to solve my problems eventually, without compromising my morals or pride. And Iâ€™m happy to report that Iâ€™ve been pretty fortunateâ€¦in the sense that Iâ€™ve come across quite a few decent Nigerian men who are NOT into sexual harassment and provide ladies with support without making any murky demands.
But many women have not been as lucky as Iâ€™ve been. Many women have not bumped into any relatively powerful man who is willing to provide kindness without any sordid strings attached to that kindness. And itâ€™s not easy to be an angel when you have your back against a wall and are staring into a frighteningly hopeless abyss.
Who knows what I might have felt obliged to do if I ever desperately needed money to pay crucial bills or feed my child or keep a roof over my head?
Many Vanguard readers contacted me to express their views about this interesting topic. And Iâ€™ve decided to publish some of the messages I received.
â€œI know a female lawyer who has slept with almost every man above her since she was a teenager. She started with her university lecturers and is now doing same with her boss at work. She says that all of them forced her. It is so sad.â€
â€œI strongly disagreeâ€¦Your friendâ€™s â€˜coping strategyâ€™ analysis will lead to destructionâ€¦The Bible says seek ye first the Kingdom Of God and all other things will be added unto you.â€
â€œThe man who demands sex for favours knows that he cannot get sex any other way due to his character deficiencies.
The woman who offers sex for favours also knows that she is unqualified to receive the favours, so she has to use sex to make up for her intellectual deficiencies. Both the man and woman are criminals reaping where they did not sow and such people are why Nigeria is not moving forward.â€
â€œNo matter how you look at it, it all boils down to greed or, better put, loss of moral values. I cannot see any sense in sleeping with a man for favours.
I have a friend who has been job hunting for six years now. A graduate, she says there have been offers but she cannot enjoy a job that would constantly remind her of what she did to get it and she is better off with an empty pocket and a clear conscience than a full pocket and a clouded conscience.
But what can I say! We have different thresholds of endurance and different beliefs. For me, all involved are to be pitied. Nothing justifies the act.â€