When rape cases keep rising all around us, something is horribly wrong with everything about us. What is it about rape? What really is it about sex that you find pleasure in hurting and ruining someone’s life for a few seconds of pleasure? Is this the society we want to keep raising our daughters, our children, or future in? Is this the life we want?
And when this keeps happening again and again and we come up to talk about it, the more you keep chanting “not all men”, the more you keep emboldening those men like you, engaging in these acts.
It’s not about the generalization or the few men who have never raped. It’s about the fact that almost every woman has been sexually harassed or raped by a male around her, either as a child, a teenager, or an adult. Everywhere!
It’s about how rampant it has gotten that we fear for our daughters, wondering if that Neighbour, that teacher, that cousin, that family friend visiting, that uncle, will not touch her inappropriately or worse still, rape her if we happen to leave them together in the house for a day.
No matter how much we love them, we can’t help feeling a bit paranoid if we see our little daughters running to hug them or entering their rooms. These are our men. The men we love. Yet, here we are, never feeling completely safe.
It’s about the fact that we have become very paranoid and unsafe, always second-guessing the intentions of the men we meet, wondering if things will change when we say no.
You see, with the level of widespread fear we experience as women and young girls, it will be impossible for us to say “oh, some men cannot harm us”. This is because, at one point in our lives, almost all of us have all been victims of one form of sexual abuse or inappropriate sexual behaviour from our men, both men we trusted and could vouch for and strangers.
No, I don’t have to give you statistics for my generalization. All you need to do is talk to your mother, your sister, your aunties, your female cousins, your nieces, your daughters, your female neighbors, your female colleagues, your female staff, and all the females in your life. Just ask them to genuinely tell you if they have ever been sexually abused, sexually harassed, or raped by any man before. There, you will have your answer. You will have the statistics.
As a woman, when you come out to say ‘not all men’ because your own father, brothers, sons, pastors, and husband cannot rape or sexually harass anyone, remember that all the rapists out there are people’s brothers, fathers, uncles, sons, and husbands too, and trust me, their families also think they are the most upstanding men who are not part of the men we are calling out. They also think they are exceptions too.
But then, you see, it’s still them committing these hideous crimes against us.
The best thing you can do now is to take time to educate your sons, brothers, and every man around you about consent. Watching the conversation going around since yesterday, I’m wondering why I’ve waited this long to have the conversations around sexual abuse, consent, and self-control with my teenage brother. That, I’m going to remedy immediately.
Do you think your own men are the exception? Make them so by starting these conversations with them, instead of coming online to chant “not all men”.
The men perpetrating these crimes are not strangers. They are our men. They are the men we see every day. They are the men we love and live with.
Until we start feeling safe amongst men again, stop trying to stifle our voices with the “not all men” rubbish.
You can do better.