Till It's Yes, It's Not Yes

03:37PM was displayed boldly on my phone screen. I didn't know it was that late. I walked faster, occasionally slipping my petite body through little space. This part of Aba has never been known to be calm but it was busier than I remember. Everybody and everything were in a hurry; touts, hawkers, cars, pedestrians, even mad people! I too was in a hurry. I had to get home and cook before my mother comes back from work. Never thought I would spend so much time at the cybercaf√©.

A bus swerved to the left without warning almost having a head-on collision with a taxi coming from the opposite direction. The taxi driver jammed on the brakes immediately causing the driver behind to honk loudly, swearing. It was deafening. I stopped in a bid to take everything in. Almost immediately, I felt a hand lingering on my bottom and finally groping it. Impulsively, I raised my hand and turned ready to hit. I faced a man towering over me and looked up into his hard eyes with my hand still raised. His eyes lit up and a smile slowly appeared on his lips as if daring me to hit.

"Why you touch my yansh?" I screamed lowering my hands to my waist, hands akimbo.
"You no like am?" he sneered.
It even angered me more.
"I say why you touch my yansh?!" I screamed louder than the last time, hitting him in the stomach.
"See this girl o." He moved closer to me.
"You dey mad? " he shouted pointing his index finger to his head. People stopped to look. He kept shouting at me, drawing more attention.
"What is it? What is it?" It was a casually dressed middle-aged woman, a trader perhaps.
"Ma" My voice was shaky. I paused a little to hold back the tears.
"He touched my bombom!"
"Sorry Nne. But why won't men touch your bombom when you are wearing this kind of tight trouser eh. Ndo. Sorry. Don't fight him. You are a lady. Don't mind him you hear? "
That made the tears I had been holding back run down my cheeks.
"Ashawo. No go. Stay make I beat star comot for your ugly face. Idiot! "
People started laughing. Amongst them was a lady. Someone asked if I need transport money. They laughed louder. Embarrassed and hurt, I made my way through them and hurried away in tears.
                            * * * * * * *
Even if it is touching a lady indecently or outright rape, scenes like this happen every day, everywhere. Women get assaulted all the time even in public places. Most times she gets blamed, "Why did you wear that kind of cloth?" "What were you doing there at that time?" "Why weren't you alert in that environment?" "It's not a big deal na, is it not just touching?" "This your shape attracts men, it's normal.".

The blame keeps piling up, I can't even write them all. Of course, the man goes home thinking nothing of it and even if he does, he believes he is a man, it's to be expected. The victim, on the other hand, walks away feeling hurt, angry, violated, embarrassed... .

Sexual assault, no matter how little, is wrong. Even if the lady is walking in a G-string and no brassiere on with nipples pointed at you, if she doesn't consent, walk away! Don't walk into fire and claim it wasn't you who lit it. Victims of sexual assault experience emotional trauma that stays with them for a lifetime, in extreme cases. Do not be the person that inflicts that on another. 

Importantly, do not blame the victim. It is bad enough that it happened to them, don't make it worse. Let us support one another like we are tied by blood. That we all are humans is enough reason to make us our brother's keeper.

Happy New May!


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2 comments:

  1. I do not support sexual assault in anyway but as we are ranting for a solution women on the other hand should start by helping to dressed according to how they want to be addressed. Not all dress are meant for public displays so that when it comes to someone violating your respect by touching you in public when you are well dressed you will still see some people who will stand on your side and ask the person if there is anything wrong with what you wearing.

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  2. You're right actually. The problem is that a lot of men are trained (mostly by peer group mentality) to think that if women dress a certain way, that they're obviously in a certain category.

    A lot of them are also trained that "no" can sometimes mean "yes". This is a topic that goes under the radar far too many times.

    The truth is; no matter the presentation of the last, no matter how much lust you feel, you really should keep your hands to yourself. We are not animals driven by sexual instinct alone.

    Men also need to be held accountable for their actions. When it is seen that this is publicly disapproved, and that they can be published for their actions, men will respect themselves more. Just like in first world countries.

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