The irrational logic of terror and violence: indecent dressing and rape


When we try to justify rape on the back of indecent dressing, we do ourselves a disservice as humanity.

Nigerians are known for generally disrespecting women; grabbing women anyhow, sexually assaulting women on the streets and at work. This is regardless of what that woman is wearing.

Some months ago when the issue of Igbo traders kicked off like wildfire, many of us stood firmly on the side of tribal sentiment and chose to ignore the truth that is so glaring about this menace.

Imagine my shock when a South African (I live out here now) said to my face “You Nigerians don’t respect women. Your people, they touch and grab our women anyhow at Sunnyside.”

Sunnyside is the Lagos of Pretoria. In fact, Nigerians here call it Lagos because you can find anything Nigerian there. The business environment of Sunnyside is enough evidence that Nigerian traders are the dominant population. There is no arguing the fact that Nigerians are the ones assaulting women in Sunnyside.

My South African colleague went ahead to narrate how a woman was walking past a group of Nigerian guys and one of them started touching her face. She shoved his hand away and he, in turn, slapped her.

Let me deviate a bit. The other day, I wanted to go out at night with a backpack to shop for some things, I met some Nigerians who urged me to stop going out with a bag at night. They said it made me a prime target. Immediately I returned to my room and dropped the bag.

Yesterday, I was to take a Taxify cab and so I opened the back door to sit but the driver told me to sit in front. He later explained to me that Uber and Taxify drivers were always targets of lynching for the local cab men and touts. He said some clients, unlike me, would not agree to sit in front and this would make the local cabmen identify the Uber drivers amongst them, and most times they got lynched, both driver and client.

My point is this: I am all for precaution and indeed we cannot reason with violence. If there is anything at all that can make you a tad safer, I would suggest taking advantage of it. My greatest desire is to walk the streets of Pretoria without the fear that something I say or do would make me deserving of death.

However, the predominant message should not be about these precaution because they never stop evil from happening in a society where evil is condoned.

When we hold those kind of opinions like “what was she wearing?” we are also saying Christians who get killed by Islamic terrorists should have just been more careful and without knowing it, we are saying a woman who dresses indecently deserves to be raped.

Nigerians should be ashamed. Every time these people mention the terrible things my ‘Nigerian brothers’ do,  I am sure they can see the shame on my face. It is a shame that you have a nation where terrorists are the yardstick for our moral judgement and decency!

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