Can Rape be avoided?
Some weeks ago, I came across a conversation online between two people. It was stated that “rape is unavoidable no matter how much you protest.” Which really got me thinking, so I did a poll on Instagram asking if rape is unavoidable (yes/no) and asked that views should be sent to my direct messages whether yes or no was picked. Putting together all the views I got, I would briefly summarize the reasons each supporting parties stated.
Before I go on, what is rape? Rape is a crime, typically committed by a man or woman, forcing another person to have sexual intercourse against their will. This act might be by force, without one’s legitimate assent, i.e unconscious state, weak or disabled or abuse of authority.
In the views of ‘Rape can be avoided’, The following was stated as ways to avoid rape;
- Avoid walking in dark places. For instance, you live in a neighborhood that is predominantly occupied by “area boys, roadmen, gangstas” etc, obviously, on a normal day, you stand the chance of being catcalled or harassed really, not to talk of when you’re dressed “provocatively” in the night time and they’re under the influence.
- Self defense classes were said to be taken to be able to defend yourself.
As for the views of ‘Rape cannot be avoided’;
In regards to my first point from ‘rape can be avoided’, predominantly, I got a lot of direct messages countering the dressing ‘’provocatively” point specifically. It was largely said that rape was not necessarily restricted to the ones that dress indecently alone. To buttress their points, they added that even when one is fully covered up, you still stand a chance of getting raped. An example cited was the ladies from the North that get raped even when wearing their long abayas.
Taking into consideration the views of everyone, I stand with rape CANNOT be avoided.
The average human does not wake up each day with the mindset to prepare against rape and further armour up with pepper spray, pocket knives or tasers. It is rather the rapist that wakes up with an objective. Do we then compromise on our conventional ways of living, dressing the way we want and constantly live in fear because of some mentally deranged fellow? Cliché but very true saying, “The problem is the Rapist NOT the victim”. The problem is the paedophiles on the playground and not the little girl innocently dressed her age playing on the swing.
The problem is the stalker watching the innocent girl on the dance floor with her friends, waiting to see when next she’s going to head to the bar. The problem is the creepy old teacher that peeps at little boys while they pee together and occasionally sneaks a touch. I could go on really. Unfortunately, there’s no surefire way to identify a rapist. They exist amongst us and appear completely normal, friendly, charming, and non-threatening.
Rape cannot be avoided and repeat after me, “I AM NOT TO BE BLAMED FOR GETTING RAPED” I do not think people should be dragged for dressing a certain way, it is completely okay to exert and live out your sexuality to its fullest if it makes you feel comfortable. Those that say “well, you should have covered up. I bet it because of that crop top (which btw made you look like the ABSOLUTE BABE that you are), that you got raped”.
People who have these mindsets are largely contributing to rape culture and need to be more educated on this. Rape is a crime of opportunity. Studies show that rapists choose victims based on their vulnerability, not on how sexy they appear or how flirtatious they are but I bet the honorable members of the rape culture club will say “you’re too slim, maybe build up some muscle so next time you won’t appear physically vulnerable”. Pathetic. People are raped by their relatives, bosses, or sometimes people are just sleeping in their houses and are attacked by armed robbers and get raped. How do you avoid that?
All I can say is knowing fully well that we live in sick a world where people who are dressed “decently” or “indecently” still get raped, lets just try and be careful and do whatever we can in our power like avoiding some places, learning to defend ourselves, asking your guy friends to escort you when it gets too late, etc. These things can only help salvage the whole thing because the society we live in will still blame you, for being out late or dressing a certain way. Unfortunately, we don’t have control over these things.
The healing process
These are a few tips that I feel could help you on your healing journey;
- Accept that you are not at fault.
- Understand that flashbacks will occur; Accept and reassure yourself that this is a flashback, not a reality. Do not let go of how much progress you’ve made. Remind yourself of how strong you are. The traumatic event is over and you survived.
- Mind; sometimes you feel vulnerable and powerless, but you NEED to know that you have strength from within and slowly but surely, you would get through it.
- Surround yourself with family and friends; its normal to want to be alone, its normal to feel disconnected from family & friends but no matter what, go out of your way to not be alone whenever your feelings or thoughts become a bit overwhelming.
- Eat right, get enough sleep but mostly Exercise! This can help soothe you as well as make you more in control of your body.
- Abstain from drugs and alcohol; don’t use these things as coping mechanisms to subsidize the pain because it will mess up with your mind and might have a bad impact on relationships with family and friends. Really, it will do more self-damage and remember the aim is to heal.
I really hope this helps someone out there. If you need someone to talk to you can E-mail me on firstname.lastname@example.org or dm me on IG- nicolearchie_
About the Author
Nicole Archie-Alogaga is a student of mass communication at Covenant University, Ota. She is passionate about the media space and issues that bind us together. She is pursuing her passion for acting.