Rape and the Law- I have been raped, what next?

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I will try to make this less like an educational or formal discourse and more like a communicative and expressive piece.

Rape is simply having sex with one without the person’s consent whether a male or a female. Sexual activities ought to be consensual between the two individuals involved and yea children are not considered to be capable of giving consent so you can’t escape the wrath of the law by saying a kid gave consent.

Now rape looks so straightforward to define and to comprehend in a normal social parlance so you might wonder why first, the victims do not simply speak up about what has been done to them and second why most rape cases in the court do not end up in favor of the victim.

So I will start with the first. You really cannot blame victims for not speaking up because of the society we live in. Specifically I am talking from the perspective of the lady. Now there is a sort of shame and stigma that the society puts on rape victims, like they have been defiled and made unclean, especially in Africa. As if that stigma is not enough, most times when the lady speaks up they end up looking for ways to blame her. They talk about how she must have seduced the guy, how the clothes she wore were revealing or how she consented and is now playing the victim. The society is quick to blame the lady regardless of the emotional and psychological and even physical torture she must have suffered. So often times the victims prefer to just keep quiet and heal on their own and the rapist end up walking free.

Men also get raped. Yes they do and its not funnier or easier to deal with. Men hardly talk also because of the society and what people will say. Its almost shameful to them that they were overpowered whether by a man or a woman, there is a lot of ego issue involved so they end up keeping to themselves. Another thing is how difficult it is to prove that a man has been raped. I mean except some real force and fighting and struggle was involved, how do you prove anything. And how do you prove it was not consensual. Men get aroused and all very fast, so its easy to claim the man was very involved in the sex, all these things just makes men very silent on rape which ought not to be.

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You know the part I hate the most? The part where some stupid persons actually blame a child for getting raped and say a five year old or nine year old girl seduced a grown ass man or woman!

The law however is a different ball game, it works on evidence and evidence in rape is sometimes almost impossible especially in situations where there was no struggle. I will explain further.

Now the ingredients for proving rape are basically first a lack of consent and then penetration. Lack of consent could mean threat, could mean force and some other things but the bottom line is that there was no consent. Penetration means the obvious, that the penis was actually inserted into the vagina. There might be other things to be considered but these are the basic and general ones.

Let’s just think normally for a moment, how do you get evidence that there was no consent when most often than not its just the two of you? Most times when people hear of rape they think only of someone taking you from the streets, tearing your clothes, leaving loads of marks on your skin and then bruising the vagina sore. Those ones are quite easy to prove most especially of its reported immediately, the appearance and all shows the obvious lack of consent and the bruises in the vagina can show penetration.

But really, not all rape situations are that clear cut, some are by known people, some are done with threat, some they do not ejaculate inside the vagina and they actually get the lady or man aroused. Some have no force whatsoever, no tearing of clothes and all. These are the cases that are difficult to prove but sometimes lawyers work their way around it or get really lucky for one evidence or the other to come up.

Rape is never easy to prove except in some circumstances that are usually not as common as people think.
My point here is that the work of some lawyers would have been made easier with help from victims. Rape is a traumatic incidence but if you are going to seek for justice, there are some things that need to be done fast and on time.

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First is to report immediately and don’t wait to wash off before reporting, go the way you are,call for help the way you are because really your whole body is evidence, your clothes, semen on your body, everything counts. You do not know what might eventually nail the rapist so drop everything.

Second don’t try to even be modest about what happened or be shy, give every detail, paint the situation such that even a child can understand. It has happened and the pain will always be there so why not just get justice for your pain.

Third, after the part of talking to the authorities, talk to someone or people that can help you heal from the emotional and psychological trauma. Definitely, in getting to the authorities you would be taken to a doctor, they would most likely give you pills and all and treat you too but you know the pain is deeper than what the doctor can treat. Don’t bottle up the pain and anger, talk to people. There are organizations that help with these kind of things and will help you heal psychologically. The truth is what you bottle up now will affect you later so don’t keep it in.

Fourth, really and honestly, withdrawing from everyone might seem like the best option at the time but it doesn’t really help. In fact it never helps, more than ever at this period you need people. The more you withdraw, the more you give room for depression and constant replay of the incidence. You need to get past it and withdrawing would not help.

Finally and this is something that is not really compulsory but would help a whole lot and that is reaching out and helping other victims. Some others out there need help, they do not what to do, they are passing through what you passed through so why don’t you come out of your shell and bless someone else.

Then I believe so much in the help of God. I believe when things are beyond you and even before they are beyond you the best help you have is God because He knows all. So just try to pray and talk to him because he can help more than any human can and make you brand new.

Rape is never a funny or easy thing but we can get through it with patience and conscious efforts to heal.

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Real Life Experiences of Domestic Abuse- Stories of Actual Victims

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Writing about issues women face over time has exposed me to some real life situations that women and men alike tell me.

Most times I use these stories as general bedrock for the fictitious ones I write on these kinds of issues but then I decided that maybe once in a while I should actually refer to the stories themselves.

So this time around, I am not sharing imaginary stories but people’s real life experiences.
A particular one I heard today spurred me to write this at all, I was heartbroken and was questioning humanity in its entire existence. However, this is not even close to the first time I would be hearing something like this but I guess it hit me hard coming from someone close to me.

So a close friend of mine was telling her boyfriend about how she was maltreated by her ex-boyfriend. Her story though is not really what got to me. She was locked in by her ex for refusing to show him her phone in a house filled with other people.
My friend said it was like she was watching a movie scene when he started repeatedly slapping and beating her and in that full house she kept screaming and not a single person came to her aid. There was no way she could even defend herself as he held her tightly and yes like guys usually do he apologized and said he will never do it again.

Well you can imagine the anger of her boyfriend but strangely he had a different approach, he felt she could have done more to save herself but I had to come in to explain the difference in people( I think I will explain this another time) that basically she might not even have had the will power or emotional strength to defend herself not to talk of the fact that she was held immobile.

It was at this point he opened up about a painful experience suffered by his cousin. Basically his cousin had a boyfriend that was obsessed with her and she was no longer comfortable in the relationship so she called it off.

Well, the guy was having none of it so he came to her friend’s house where she was staying early in the morning with packs and I mean packs of blades. He held her down and kept opening one blade after the other and slicing her with it and kept repeating that if he could not have her no one else would. The lady almost bled to death before she was rushed to the hospital.
You know what hurt me most in this story and what hurt my friend’s boyfriend too was the fact that nothing was done to this devil in human flesh, the family decided to forgive him. I was almost in tears as I listened this morning to the heart breaking story.

Like I said earlier, this would not be the first time I will hear of things like this, I have heard of hot water being poured or a child being killed or the partner being caged, there are just so many crazy stories out there. What you most likely think can only be imaginations are the realities of some people.

Domestic violence is real! We should do all we can to curb it, punish offenders and rehabilitate victims!

*** Image Source http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/photo/abused-woman-pleading-stop-royalty-free-image/117151152

INSECURE (conclusion)

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He brought her home. I had never seen her before but I was sure there was a her somewhere, I wasn’t stupid at all, I might have been emotionally weak but the blood of my family still runs in my veins.
I told Kelvin, I was traveling to Enugu to see my sister in school and of course we argued about everything but principally how he was going to it. Somehow, I ended up going to the market and cooking to put everything in fridge before leaving. Unsurprisingly, I got to the park very late and after waiting for two hours I realized I would just have to make the journey the next day, it really was late.
I made the tiresome journey home, I was too tired to notice that there was an underlying tension amongst his flatmates as I got in, they kept trying to talk to me, to prevent me from moving forward but I was too tired. I got to Kelvin’s door and brought out my key and opened the door and it was then my brain snapped into various violent pieces.
They were both naked, she was straddling him with her back to me and her long green weaves cascading the length of her smooth and curvy backside. He saw me first.
“Dunni, what are you doing here?!!”
“Kelvin!!!!!! What am I doing here?? What is she doing here???” My head was burning hot, I was a very quiet person by nature but the situation did not permit quietness.
Then she turned to face me and my anger grew in volumes. She looked like a screen goddess, perfect skin tone, her lips curled into a permanent small pout and the aura around her was just too classy, my scream did not move her a bit. She picked my wrapper and wrapped it round her shameless nakedness and then turned back to face Kelvin.
“Can you take care of this? I mean who is she to just barge in on me like that, I thought you had no girlfriend”
“Nina, don’t worry, it would be taken care of, she is my ex that comes once a while to visit.”
I thought I was hearing triple, ex? Once in a while? Visit?
I snapped.
I ran to the big sized mirror in the passage, broke it with my hands and ran back with a shard, the girl must die today, not tomorrow. The flatmates saw me running with the glass and shouted to Kelvin.
“Babe dey rush come with broken glass o! She fit kill person o!”
Kelvin was very fast. Very fast to protect the whore against me. He hit me with the door as I was running in, the glass broke into tiny pieces and I fell on them, it felt like a million tiny needles pricking me all at once. I hardly felt it, I was up again and ready to claw the b**ch to death; it never occurred to me to face Kelvin, he was my own heartbeat. This time around Kelvin picked me up and threw me over his shoulders, picked my bag at the side of the room and with the whole world watching, threw me out of his compound on the street without any shred of dignity.
In that moment, I was defeated through and through and the world had won against me. I still wanted Kelvin, I couldn’t breathe without him, he was the only real thing in my life, the only thing I had any passion about, he was taking my life by taking his presence. I picked the remaining shreds of my dignity and my bag and stopped a bike to take me to my hostel.
My roommate exclaimed when she saw me and it was no shock, I had been battered and I looked like it. She collected my bag from me and carefully helped me remove my clothes, she sat me on the bed and boiled water for me while she said nothing, I was staring into a non existent space; I wouldn’t have heard her. I needed my heartbeat back, I simply did not know a world without him as it’s centre.
After I had freshened up, I cried myself to sleep, having dreams of broad chest and long strong arms around me. The next morning I tried calling him but he kept cutting the calls, eventually I could not bear it again and I rushed to his place. I met him dressing up for a class and I ran to hold his legs with my knees to the ground.
“Kelvin, please I am sorry, I can’t live without you. I just felt pain that you brought another lady to our place..”
“My place!!! Do you hear me? Mine! There is no our anywhere, so just get out of My Place in peace before I have to throw you out”
“Kelvin please, I would have nobody in my life, you are the only one that means something to me. I won’t shout at your guests again, I will do everything you want please just don’t leave me. Please Kelvin”
After minutes of tireless begging and crying he picked me up.
“Dunni, you know I love you but you cannot be embarrassing my guests because you are having mood swings, now don’t ever disturb my guests. I am going for a class now but I will see you in the evening” My joy knew no bounds as I timidly nodded, I was back where I belonged but not for too long

*   *    *
Two weeks after, I managed to get the number of the screen goddess and I called her begging her to leave Kelvin alone, she cut the call and apparently she told Kelvin because that was the night I almost died.
“What did I tell you about embarrassing my guests, why did you call Nina?!!! Where you drunk?”
I cannot remember when the beating started I just remember with startling clarity that by the end of the night I was half dead and barely breathing. His flatmates rushed me to the health centre claiming they saw me that way in the middle of the road, on my side I feigned amnesia.
Distorted was the perfect word to describe myself, broken bones, swollen purplish flesh, marks and cuts, I was a caricature of myself and I couldn’t call my parents, what would I say happened?
Kelvin never came to visit me for once throughout the week I spent at the health centre. I knew beyond doubt that if I returned to his place I would surely die in his arms, I knew I couldn’t go back so I stayed alone.
I was depressed and unhappy, I wasn’t often alone, talking to no one but my inner self, wondering if there was a God somewhere. I contemplated suicide severally but I didn’t have the courage. Life meant nothing at all.
Eventually I sought for help, I went to a church close by and poured my soul out to the pastor. He introduced me to Christ afresh, it was all strange but gradually I understood that no one except God could help me. I faced my fears and insecurities and started healing gradually, it was a painful process of cutting myself off from Kelvin in my heart and my mind and growing totally dependent on God.

*    *     *
Its been six years now and as I walk down the aisle to meet the man I could only have dreamt of, I am gratefully aware of how far I have come. God had been faithful, truly he makes everything perfect in His time once you give him the reins. I occasionally talk to women facing domestic abuse or violence and assist them with recovery, my story always proves to be an inspiration to them all. I am glad I have found life, God and purpose and I just hope anyone looking at my life can realise that all hope is not lost with God watching for everything to work together for good for those that can yield to him.

INSECURE III

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“No Kelvin!! I don’t want any of this and you know it”
“Really Dunni? You don’t? How can you deny me this one thing I want to give you, this beautiful pleasure Dunni?”
“Its not like that, I am just not ready for it and I have told you and you said you understood it, that you would never ask me so why are you doing this  now?”
“Then just go!!!! I am tired of having to pick up your little fragile self always. I have never asked you for anything and I am asking you for just this one thing and you are saying no, then leave!!!!”
I couldn’t believe my eyes or ears, Kelvin had never even shouted at me but now he was screaming, like I had done something wrong that he was angry about but I couldn’t think of anyway I might have offended him. He knew, he knew I could not leave, he knew I was depending on him for the actual pumping of my heart, yet he turned against me. I didn’t know when the tears started rolling down my eyes and I started sobbing like a new widow.
He stopped screaming when he saw me in tears, he wrapped his arms around me and I felt so overwhelmed by his presence, his strength, his person, I couldn’t imagine him leaving me. He was the only one that had ever loved me and I am not about to lose his love.
He pulled me away to look deep into my eyes, the intensity of his gaze was intimidating, I felt all my resolve crumbling and when he asked me again I couldn’t help but nod vigorously like a corrected child.
Kelvin knew the art of lovemaking from his soul and he taught me everything I needed to know to satisfy him. At first it was beautiful and exquisite, exploring this beautiful new art but then several things were changing and they were changing radically.
Kelvin screams at me to leave at the slightest provocation, including when he doesn’t get his food that has become my daily duty, on time. He complains about everything, I can’t remember the last time he called me beautiful, or intelligent or anything nice for that matter. I was practically walking on eggshells around him. The only time he acts nice to me, are the few minutes between my legs; I usually live for those moments, those moments when I can see the breath I fell in love with, those moments I become the only thing he lives for.
Kelvin was not done breaking me, he started making me beg to make love to me and I did so shamelessly until I started seeing panties that were not mine, and green coloured long hair strands and smelling perfumes Kelvin’s dead body would never use; too feminine.
I was too afraid to say anything about it.
Then today happened.

Men are Victims too!!!–The Poem

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At home
A million shards of glass
Pierced by her careless words
I feel useless
And less of a man too
I provide
I protect
But it is never enough
My ego dead
My pride fried
My esteem burnt
She hits me
She scratches
She punches
Then she cries
And I am helpless
I cannot retaliate
The world would crucify me
For she is a woman

At work
She loves my physique
Sexy as hell
She is much too lonely
And I am the convenient victim
She is the boss
The little I provide
I get from her
And away it can all go
Once she feels rejected
She bends me
She breaks me
I become the woman
And she the man
I scream
No one hears
I struggle
No one cares
I accept my fate
I cannot fight
The world would crucify me
For she is a woman

At breaking point
I snap
I can take it no more
She hits
I hit
She shouts
I beat
Boss touches
I push away
Boss calls
I ignore
The world is agitated
The world is angry
I have touched the special one
I am a wife beater
In a funny irony
I am a rapist
They want blood
They want remorse
I look defiantly into their eyes
And I silently whisper
“Men are victims too”