Rape: When Outrage Is Not Enough

By Chris Adetayo June 5, 2020

Rape: When Outrage Is Not Enough

Nearly a year ago, I was one of many who were outraged when new accusations of rape were made against the Pastor of COZA. For good reasons. Lots of similar allegations had been made against him in the past. Sexual harassment, predatory behaviour, grooming, statutory rape etc. Very weighty allegations. I wrote copiously then. Partly because I have an aversion to clergy men doing such egregious wrong.

The COZA matter went on for weeks. Then it petered out. We all moved on. The accused man went back to his pastoral role after a few weeks absence. The public outcry left hardly any sustainable impact. In effect, nothing really changed.

It’s that sense of “nothing really changed” that has dissuaded me from getting into the matter this time around. For the reality staring us bleakly in the face is that nothing will change unless long standing critical structures and cultures that facilitate the rape culture changes.

Start with our laws. Across the country, we have almost as many variations of age of consent as there are States. This is unhelpful. How exceedingly hard is it to have something uniform?

Then go through the burden of proof required to successfully prosecute rape cases. From evidence of penetration to evidence of semen stains – all in a country with virtually no forensic investigation facilities. Folks often complain of the low rate of conviction. But the reason this is so is because the law makes demands that we simply do not have facilities and equipments to provide.

Move to our culture. A culture that demands that girls should say no even when they mean yes. Same culture that tells boys to never take no for an answer. How well are we doing educating our kids on this issue?

Climb higher on the Education lather. In the past 2 decades, the once vibrant students unionism of our higher institutions that provided support to many students and even the society have been systematically dismantled. In their places are bands of outlaws masquerading as “cult members”. For many of these cults, rape and attempted rape are initiation requirements. Sadly, the victims have little or no real channel to seek redress without the fear of their lives being endangered.

Social media outbursts are good. Exposures are welcome. Outrage doubly so. But we have to start to do better. We must make our outrage count by the changes that we bring about in public policy, laws, and our traditional culture. Failing these, progress will be scant.