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RAPE: Even Satan met Eve naked but didn’t rape her

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Rape
Rape

By Rev Fr Eyeowa Stephen

 

The leading discourse in the Nigerian public sphere presently, at par with COVID-19, revolves around rape.

The cases of rape (known and unknown/reported and unreported) continue to skyrocket despite the perceived lockdown in the country.  While many victims of rape have now gathered the courage to speak about their horrendous experience, rapists and upcoming rapists concoct emotional and seductive excuses for the consumption of an already deflowered public. And gullible indeed, the defiled public pitiably endorses rapists composed rhetoric – rape is not as terrible as victims often describe their experiences; victims are the cause of their ordeals, and even worse victims exaggerate the effects of rape.

 

I came across a post which provokes some uttered truths of our comedians. The post reads: even Satan met Eve naked but didn’t rape her…bros say no to rape ooo. Short as this post may be, it is meaningful for it exposes the unperceived lethal modification of the constitutive human component in our social context. It is as if the DNA of rapists undergoes the process of double mutation so that something different from human and even more dangerous than Satan now emerges. The Nollywood has successfully helped in this modification of process – “I do not know ooo…it is the work of the devil or Satan.” Now, the general public has learnt to transfer the responsibility of ill-acts to an unknown but highly influential-being called Satan. The latter is a scapegoat, similar to the Jewish Yom Kippur, that willingly or forcefully takes responsibility for evil deeds. As a way of curbing the propensity towards evil, our comedians jokingly alert that Nigerians are trying to outsmart Satan. They consistently warn that Satan laments of becoming an apprentice before Nigerians. And that the Satan fears to admit Nigerians to hell for fear of losing his kingdom. Unfortunately, we focus on the ungodliness of the ruling class so that the term “devil” becomes a literary synonym for politicians. Indeed, some political moves give this impression, but some elements among us have misunderstood the mantra – Nigga no dey carry last. We want to outsmart the system and everyone. Now, it seems we have outsmarted Satan.

 

Our rapists (men and women) have successfully overthrown Satan in perpetuating evil. Yes, we pray never to harbour Satan. We cast and bind the demon from our homes, churches and mosques. Well, while we holyghost-fire the devil, rapists continue to crush in the ocean between legs. Our prayers are ineffective because they are not directed to them in the first place. Again, they are neither wholly human nor lesser than Satan. We have simply not taken them into cognizance for appropriate and redemptive prayer points, counselling sessions and punitive measures.

 

When I ruminate on what to tell rapists, I cannot but remember the words of the biblical Daniel to the two elders who lied against Susanna simply because she refused to play out their evil sex-script. Before one of the elders, Daniel says: “you old relic of wicked days, your sins have now come home, which you have committed in the past…very well! You have lied against your own head, for the angel of God has received the sentence from God and will immediately cut you in two.” As for the other, he mocks: “you offspring of Canaan and not of Judah, beauty has deceived you, and lust has perverted your heart. This is how you both have been dealing with the daughters of Israel, and they were intimate with you through fear, but a daughter of Judah would not endure your wickedness…very well! You also have lied against your own head, for the angel of God is waiting with his sword to saw you in two, that he may destroy you both.” These words from Daniel indicate how forceful and strategized sexual abuse are juridically dealt with in ancient times. Unfortunately, we have few or frightful Daniels in our society. Yet, I hear victims of rape seeking Daniel, meaning “God is my Judge;” justice in the modern term.

 

But then, what do we do with upcoming rapists? In addition to punitive, prayer and counselling measures, permit me to suggest an anthropological solution. Admittedly, it is slow and differs our habitual fire-brigade response, which at the end of the day intensifies and augments our problem. There is a deliberate and urgent need to define a human being. Our understanding of humanity is blurred, although a clear understanding of the sexes is palpable. I am aware that some discussions are ongoing regarding an attempt at defining a human person,  because of its damage-control discursive context, the obtainment of pure consciousness of one humanity remains a herculean task. What is essential at the moment is a deliberate modification, re-learning, and implementation of our anthropological formation. Today, children, as well as adults, do not consciously know themselves as humans, but as boys or girls, men or women. I may not be up to date,  but when I was young, we were never really taught the definition of humanity. So spontaneous is the distinction of the sexes. Those were the days of “this is Ali, Ali is a boy. This is Simbi, Simbi is a girl. This is Mr Salami, Mr Salami is a man. This is Mrs Salami, Mrs Salami is a woman.”  And so, we were made to know more of the differences rather similarities between humans. Such narratives require modification and change to be acquainted and therefore, systemic in curbing gender violence and promoting gender equality. Through proper education on “the how of being,” we will understand that human beings are indeed equal, though not the same.

 

*Stephen,  a Catholic priest,  writes from Innsbruck,  Austria

 

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