The Tobi Medal saga and the rape culture in Nigeria

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Whenever I have a heart-to-heart talk with my Dad and we end up in a debate, I always end up blaming his generation. You see, the generations before him had a good excuse in the fact that a vast majority of them didn’t have formal education, but a good number of people in my Dad’s generation got good education. They were well equipped and knowledgeable enough to impose and impact positive changes in Nigeria in all ramifications, but they failed and failed shamelessly.
My Dad is in his 60s, I class his generation as those born in the 1940s and 1950s.

In a rape rampant society like Nigeria, there’s been less than twenty rape prosecutions. This is a society that is engraved in victim blaming as far as rape crime is concerned. A society where the first default questions that get asked by the law enforcement “investigating” rape cases is directed at the victims. As Nigerians, we aren’t strangers to questions like “what were you wearing? What were you doing there at that time? Why was your dress too tight?… and the rest of the victim blaming kick-off questions”. There seem to be a cultural need to push blames to rape victims as though there is a written constitution that says a rape victim must be found guilty of her ordeal.

Just over a year ago, I read on a thread where a girl who was being continously raped by her sister’s husband was seeking advice anonymously. I was shocked when I read an adult who is definitely over 45 use the Bible to justify rape. Just below his comment was another person using the Quran to justify rape. They both didn’t fail to blame the girl for the way she was probably dressing and waving her buttocks whenever the sister’s husband was at home.

Earlier this year, a Christian wrote a well lettered article justifying marital rape. He also pushed some blames to the wives who claimed to have been raped by their husbands. This is a lawyer, who should be nailing criminals in court. He actually said such doesn’t exist. And sadly, many Nigerians actually agreed with him, and still hold on religiously to such school of thought that there’s no such thing as rape in marriage.

I grew up almost believing that all rape victims are guilty of their rape. This was so because virtually all the victims who summoned the courage to speak up were blamed.

The thing about victim blaming is that it empowers the criminals and encourages other potential or upcoming criminals. They even begin to plan their defense or counter accusations against their victims even before they commit the crime. That’s why a HIV+ man in his 50s who raped a 5-year old girl had the audacity to say it was the child’s fault because she seduced him. Such sacrilegious defense can only be heard of a rapist from a victim blaming society.

A child is born blank. As soon as they are born, children begin to acquire habits and mentalities from their families and immediate environment. They learn from adults and people around them; what they say, how they act, and the things they do. The learning is a continuous process of a lifetime, but the greatest impact is made in the first few years of a human existence.

When people defend rapists and blame their victims, the younger generation watch and learn. FACT!
He is just 20 years old. Legally old enough to take responsibility for his actions, but still very young. Doesn’t that tell you something… anything at all?
So, when I first read Tobi Medal’s post bragging about his rape escapades, I felt intense anger. But then I relaxed and gave it a second thought, and I realized that this boy is as a matter of fact a product of a rape enabling society. If we look at it critically, he is a victim of a failed society.

So, while you spit fire and threaten to rain brimstone from hell on him; also spare some angers for his mentors; and by mentors, I mean the generations before him who gave him the impression that a girl is inherently guilty of her rape by another.

The older generations do not have the moral justification to be angry, they should cover your faces in shame! Tobi only regurgitated the information they fed him over the years, and he is factually right as far as the Nigerian society is concerned.
Sad as it may sound, Tobi spoke the minds of many boys his age, who probably would never have the guts to say it out loud because of the rising agitation against rape crime.

I can’t say if Tobi’s account was hacked or not. And if not, I can’t say if he actually did commit the rape he boasted about. But what I know for sure is that whoever wrote that post revealed the thoughts of many Nigerians, and that’s enough red flag that we are breeding a generation of potential rapists who are going as far as blaming their victims even before they start plotting their crimes. Tobi is only a scapegoat; one of many generation of boys who think like him.

Let’s get the fact right; there is NO excuse for rape! Not even if a girl dances naked in front of you behind closed doors.

What are the solutions?

  • We must speak out against victim blaming.
  • We must push for rape crime to be taken seriously, and more rapists prosecuted.
  • We must make sure that this Tobi’s case isn’t swept under the carpet like other similar cases. I don’t mean to sound pessimistic, but I’m afraid that might be the case.

Although there is much more to be done; I’m proud of my generation, because we are beginning to take rape crime as seriously as it should be taken. Hopefully, a boy born today will in 20 years time see rape as a serious crime that it is, and not the way 20 year old Tobi and his friends see it.

All Rights Reserved, © Nkechi Bianze.

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