The following is a piece I wrote on 29th May 2008. I find it so relevant that I can’t resist republishing it today.
The rate at which women are raped is alarming. While some cases are reported, most are not because of fear, embarrassment, and lack of mechanisms that protect and support rape victims.
Strangely enough, many women are raped by people they know they very well. People who mistake their friendship and closeness to mean they have green light to do whatever they want.
Many times women are raped by the very men who have tried to seduce them unsuccessfully.
If you are a woman’s friend, you try to take her to bed but she says “no”, you should take her “no” to mean “no”. When a woman says “no”, she means “no”.
Men must discard the mentality that when a woman says “no”, maybe she doesn’t mean it, maybe she is saying “no” so as not to appear easy going.
Whatever reason a woman has to say “no”, once she says “no”, she should be left alone. If a woman says “no” just for the sake of saying “no”, without meaning it, then it must be left to her to find a way of saying yes. A man must never interpret a woman’s “no” to mean “yes”. This should be a challenge to those women who due to lack of courage to say “yes”, say “no”.
A man must never use force to sleep with a woman. Some do so thinking they are facilitating things for the woman. But the moment a woman says “no”, whether she means it or not, any action aimed at forcing her to sleep with a man is violence against her.
By raping a woman, you are defiling her. You are destroying her physically, emotionally, psychologically. You are using force to get into her most intimate part, the precious part reserved for the person she loves. Rape is lack of respect for a woman. It shows you don’t care about her dignity. It shows you don’t care about how she feels.
Sex should be an enjoyable thing. And you can’t enjoy it alone. By raping a woman, you are simply thinking about yourself, your own pleasure.
And you have pleasure while deeply wounding and violating a woman both physically and psychologically.
Men must stop using excuses like “she dressed in a provocative way”. That doesn’t allow you to rape her. Animals walk naked but they never rape each other!
If you are a rapist you must try to put yourself in the shoes of that woman you are raping, try to feel the pain she’s feeling while you are using all that force to get into her.
A woman’s genital area is a delicate part in deed. Yet while raping her, a man uses overwhelming force to penetrate that delicate part. What a cruel world!
Many women decline to report rape so as to protect the very people who have violated them. Many others who have been raped fear reporting it because they are put to task to prove that they were raped. At times they have to do this in public, which can be quite humiliating.
The society should find ways of enabling women to report those who have violated them in a discrete manner.
In this society full of uncountable sexually transmitted diseases including the deadly ones like AIDS, rapists are a serious threat to their victims’ lives.
This is a serious crime. The society must never let rapists go unpunished.
By Stephen Ogongo Ongong’a