By Vera Marion
A thought to the boy child
Is it the girl’s fault? Is it the man’s uncontrolled desire?
Is it the girl’s my dress my choice? Is it the man’s unfulfilled desire?
Is it flirting on the girl’s part? Is he trying to show his masculinity?
Is it a deal? Or consent?
A business deal? Or having a good time?
Is it repaying for something that happened?
Is it extortion?
Is it just sex?
The events leading up to a rape can never be explained. Only the person doing it and the one aggrieved can really tell what happened. Thus they alone can bear a true testament to the world. Suspects can offer explanations, or alibis if you prefer, distancing themselves from the heinous act. Alibis can be there, at times can be bought, leaving victims in a never ending battle of ‘he said she said’ given that the victim and the rapist are the only witnesses to the crime.
Girls live lives full of dreams, hoping to become the women they envision and rape is never in their road map to happiness. So when it happens, it is devastating to say the least and it leaves a lasting mark that at times cannot be erased.
We many never understand how men or women think. What drives one, does not drive the other. And so the first thing that comes to anyone’s mind once a rape occurs is “how was she dressed?” Does rape occur only because of how the woman is dressed? It is often said that men are visual beings and so they see more (than women can imagine), but dressing should not be the basis of gauging a rape case. Men may have different fetishes from women. For some just a little bit of naked flesh turns them to something else, others may be turned on by the sight of an exposed bosom. Others may be turned on by the sight of the posterior, others by just the hair. For others being female is reason enough to take leave of ones senses. So when making ‘loose’ judgments on rape let us not always blame the girl on how she was dressed.
Men have often been blamed for most if not all the rape cases that occur, but let’s also look at the other side of the coin. What about the men who are raped? Have we ever given a thought to them? A man may never come out and say that he has been raped, but I believe that it happens. So how would the society treat them? As weaklings, I guess. The common phrase is “unawezaje acha mwanamke akukalie?’ (Directly translated-how can you let a woman sit on you?). Men are known to bottle up their problems, instead of sharing and so they suffer in silence and maybe, when they explode, this is what happens; deviant behavior among our men.
When the girl child was being abused, there was an uproar and the ‘women empowerment’ was born. Due to this, the boy child has now been neglected and he is becoming vulnerable with each passing day. Who will stand for the boy child? Who will now empower him? Can we have ‘child empowerment’ that is inclusive of both the girl and the boy? I believe that it can be done. There can never be competition if there is just one contestant. There has to be at least two contestants in a game for a healthy competition. Right now it is the ‘women’s empowerment’ team in the playing field playing against themselves. Can men arise and play against this ‘women empowerment team’? Can we have a ‘Nairobi Men’s Hospital’ or whatever name that they chose to give it since we have the ‘Nairobi’s Women’s Hospital’?
Let us give a thought to the men as well and stop favouring the girl child more at the expense of the man. We are destroying our society slowly and we don’t even realize that we are doing it. Let us give a thought to the man who is lost in the labyrinth of ‘women empowerment’ and does not know where to go or to turn because the society stopped thinking about him a very long time ago. Let us not let our men die with their lips closed because the society stopped caring about them a long time ago.