I am most happy when I read true stories that we are supposed to be too ashamed or too anxious to share.
Reading Sugarbelly’s story on how she was gang raped was the most fascinating story I have read in a while. Emotions running all over the place from folks but the only thing I feel was relief, I am happy that she shared her story of what she had being through. It doesn’t matter how many ways you flipped it, rape of any kind should be condemned, it is devastating to the victims and most depressingly is that victims are supposed to keep the secret with them for as long as they live.
Sugarbelly rape story goes that she was raped by someone she had a relationship with and from there escalated to gang rape whereby her body became come and chop your own for a group.
Why did she not sort help? She tells the story better here. Victims of rape in Nigeria don’t get justice so if you were gang raped, you are on your own. Sad but true.
I wrote about my friend’s sister here a while ago, who was humiliated at the school assembly after 5 boys from her school ganged up on her. She had to leave the school after the incidence and the five boys stayed at the school to finish. Most people of my age do not remember any of these boys’ names today but we remember the victim as she was shameful one.
Another example here is a recent rape case at LAUTECH whereby students were raped overnight. Here’s what one of the victims had to say:
“They cramped all of us in one of the rooms upstairs and we were all frightened. My parents are not yet aware of this incident and I don’t wish to share it with anyone again. I only agreed to speak to you because my friend here encouraged me to and I feel something should be done by the authorities concerned to stop this barbarism. I know I’ll be fine soon.”
A friend at LAUTECH said to date, nothing has been done to fish out the rapists.
What makes Sugarbelly gang rape case special? History has to be made from one person who is courageous enough to lay bare for others to get a glimpse into how damaging rape is to the victims.
Why is it so difficult to talk about rape in Nigeria?
We have long history of celebrated rape, it is called Àgbaàgbá meaning to kidnap women against their will purposely to marry. This happens when a woman strongly opposes to idea of going out with a certain suitor. The idea behind Àgbaàgbá was that once the forced union is consummated, then it is shameful for the woman not to agree to stay in the union she loathed.
Àgbaàgbá was rape. It is obsolete practice now. Now we know better. People have devised civilised ways of communicating their interests to one another.
However, what has not changed is the way in which perpetrators still get the pat in the back as back in the day with no iota of guilt.
We may have countless number of laws against rape but it’s no use if enforcement is nil.
We all should be Sugarbelly. As a woman, support to put end to gender based crime is important not only because rape is a criminal offence, it is also one of the contributing factors for how women in our society are disrespected for their opinions.
Should we not hear the other side before rallying support for Sugarbelly? That is the job of our judiciary. To investigate.
Knowing my dear country nothing ever comes out high profile crime but I am a believer that change can happen, maybe this time women can see this case for what it is – gender based crime that should bother all of us.