Comedian (a term I use very loosely), ‘Baba de Baba’s’ Rape Nonsense video states: ‘If you cannot sleep with a man, don’t go to his house.’ This serves as his reason (within the skit) for raping a woman. Following on from that is a meagre apology that isn’t an apology at all, but a means to explain and justify his actions. ‘I didn’t mean to project RAPE’ he says, ‘but the MORAL aspect of the video, but it’s unfortunate that nobody cares about morals anymore.’ On the same day, in a Diamond Bank branch in Nnewi, a man ejaculated on a woman but somehow (according to the various comments under her picture), it was her fault. Rape culture is the toxic response that excuses the actions of the aggressor while blaming it on the victim.
It all depends on the way you think. Men and women it would appear, are incapable of forming platonic relationships: after all, when God created Adam and Eve, the first human relationship, mind you, it resulted in intercourse and children. Logically then, it appears that all interactions between people of the opposite sex ought to result in sex, warranted or not. Chidi Uzoma’s ‘joke’ (humorous to only him, it would appear) and the incident of the public masturbator brings us to one of the most mind boggling topics on earth; rape culture. In 2017, it is still a thing because thing because people are yet to understand the meaning of consent and the non-existent role dressing has to play in this.
Rape: Forcing yourself on another human being whether they want it or not. I’ll take it a step further, it is also rape if one person says ‘stop’ halfway through and you carry on. It is still rape if there is a reluctance in one of the parties and you find a way to ‘convince’ them otherwise. Sex should be a willing and consensual act.
Rape culture on the other hand, is a conditioned response towards rape and assault that tends to blame the victim and tolerate or justify sexual violence.
‘As weird as this story sounds I’m finding it hard to believe. It seems you wore a pretty short skirt as seen in the second pic…Please next time don’t you ever lay your hand on a man, it tells so much about respect to your future spouse. And finally, thanks for getting our attention.’-
‘I think the law on rape should be reviewed that whatever happens when an adult goes to visit a guy who is not her family member is not rape and no girl should visit a guy she can’t sleep with.’ – Baba de Baba’s apology
Isn’t it weird how the victim of a situation becomes the agitator? The way her dressing suddenly becomes an issue, the way she’s seen as an attention seeker and the inevitable link to marriage because that’s clearly what’s at stake here. Some comments even went as far as pointing out her facial appearance, deeming the story a hoax because she wasn’t pretty enough. Essentially, these things are only allowed to happen to pretty women.
On the other hand, if we attempt to lower ourselves to Baba’s level of reasoning, we’ll discover that rape can only be committed by family members and to reiterate the effects of his words, you can’t be friends with people you can’t sleep with. He goes on to explain the video admitting ‘he raped her’ before gracing us with the true intention:
‘I intended passing a passage that most men can’t control their sexual urge so in order not to get raped, don’t visit a guy you can’t sleep with [sic]. Instead of Nigerians to see the MORAL LESSON, what they saw was RAPE because RAPE IS SENSITIVE. So we can’t say our minds again…na wa o.’
There are so many problems with this. For one, there is no manual on how not to get raped. People wouldn’t have to deal with the notion and trauma of rape if people, I don’t know, didn’t rape at all. It’s as simple as that, or at least it should be, but it appears we’ve still got a long way to go. Rape culture is a learnt response and I believe that things learnt can also be unlearnt, no matter how long it takes. Freedom of speech is a basic human right, in fact, it is through his speech and his little ‘joke’ that Baba expose himself for the kind of man he really is: a rape advocate that dismisses a clear forcible action as a trait that comes with being a guy. “It’s alright guys, I rape because I can’t control my sexual urges”, and he expects us to laugh it off with him, patting his back as we say it’s alright.
It gets worse. Somehow, being raped is also a result of being wayward, a befitting punishment for young girls that have lost their way:
‘With the reactions from the video, I can now understand why we have wayward children everywhere…most times I go to clubs and I see a 16-year old girl smoking weed with tattoos all over her body and she still stays under the same roof with her parents without being beaten.
I stay alone but I can never try having a tattoo because my father will kill me, as old as I am with my exposure.
I don’t smoke nor drink just because my father will not be happy with me if he finds out…you can confirm from any comedian.’
In all honesty, I don’t understand what this has to do with anything. I don’t see the correlation between tattoos and rape, I don’t see how weed or going to the club serve as reasons for being raped; in the same way I don’t understand how one’s appearance excuses sexual harassment and violence. Notwithstanding, I also don’t understand why or how his father was brought into this?
To round off his ‘apology’, Baba de Baba urged ‘women NGOS…to sensitize our girls on how to avoid being raped’. Comments under the woman’s picture also involved defensive stances fighting against the stigma of rape culture, but it’s not enough. Rape culture is often aimed at girls and teaches young women to internalise guilt on the behalf of others. It dictates that being a woman is a sin in itself while finding ways to absolve the perpetrator of all guilt and responsibility. The fact that rape culture is often embedded within jokes as the punch line is an indicator in itself that contributes to the very culture. The saddest part is that it’s everywhere. It desensitises people to the plight of victims, urging us to look at the victim, questioning every inch of their lives, checking their outfits, facial features, location, people around and a concluding way to fault that. It teaches the assailant on the other hand, that it’s okay, continually joking about it and doing nothing to help the victim. We need to do better as a society, checking not only ourselves but those around us; things learnt can still be unlearnt.