Sometime last year, I was around my school’s female hostel when I saw a cluster of monkeys on the backyard fence of one of the hostel buildings. The monkeys seemed to be viewing something, or waiting for something to happen. They were all seated at the fence, seriously peering into the compound. The sight was hilarious and scary at the same time. Those monkeys on the fence reminded me of small children waiting for a movie to start.
I asked my students why monkeys clustered around their fence and realised that it was a common occurrence. In fact, the students were already used to it. From what they said, those monkeys usually pay them visits whenever they hear the students chattering and they stay there till dusk. In other words, the monkeys came for chit-chat with the ladies.
The strange thing about these monkeys is that they don’t visit the male students’ hostels. More strange is the fact that they do not leave their comfortable position on the fence when shooed by a female. But when a man, even if it is a younger boy, shoos them, they leave. I tried this very experiment and found out that it is true. Monkeys don’t fear females like they do men.
I relayed this incidence to an elderly man. He laughed and told me that in the olden days, women do not go to farms or streams alone for a lot of reasons. One of such reasons is that they could be raped, even by monkeys (sorry I have forgotten the name of the particular monkey he said that rapes women). But there is something this man said that I will like to share here.
The man said, and I quote “One thing you women do not realise is that you are like that lone ripe fruit on the tree. Fruits like this attract attentions to it. Some people will want to climb up the tree to harvest it. Some will prefer to use stones to strike it down. Whatever method that is used, the major thing here is that everyone that comes near the fruit will want to have it.”
This short story by the elder is an effort to explain why women should be protected. He believes that even lower animals realised how precious women are and are therefore more attracted to them. He described women as jewels that shouldn’t be exposed or else thieves will come for them. Hence, those monkeys that pay our female students visits are only obeying the rule of nature.
Coming to the recent increase in the news of rape, one couldn’t help but wonder what is going on. It is not as if rape has not been happening before, but it seems to be on the increase these days. Demonstrations and outcries against rape have been going on for some weeks now, but it seems as if the more public outcry we have, the more the news of rape we receive. It is quite disheartening.
People have pointed some reasons on why rape is on the increase. Among the causes they mentioned are:
- Indecent dressing by women;
- Women demanding for money from men and therefore making the men entitled to their bodies;
- Negligence of girl-child;
- Girls exposing themselves to danger;
- Patriarchal system that treats women as sex objects;
- Lack of proper home training on the part of boys, and so on.
All these causes have been established but it didn’t stop rape. That means there is more to it than meets the eyes.
More Insights into Causes and Prevention of Rape
In addition to many mentioned causes of rape, the following aspects should be considered also.
- Rapists with mental instability should be intercepted
All the agitations again rape and rapists have not acknowledged the fact that most rapists, especially those that rape minors, are mentally unstable. The instability could come from drug influence or congenital problems. People like this cannot be stopped by law courts and other forms of enforcements. They need psychiatrists and psychologists. Believe me when I say that people like this live in many communities and are known by their community members. The only thing is that they will be blacklisted and girls will be warned to stay away from them. And when they strike and get caught, their communities punish them by public disgrace and/or corporal punishment and then let them back into the society. Even if the police get involved, they will still release them later and they will come back into the society to continue from where they stopped. Even serial rapists are not reported to police despite several fingers pointing at them. Maybe we should start sanitising our land by sending people like these to the right places. Public outcry alone will not do this.
- Rape should be prevented through precautions
It is necessary to say this here because a lot of women refuse to understand that rape is among the crimes that exist in our community. We have burglars, kidnappers, pick-pockets, murderers, scammers and what have you. We do everything within our reach to prevent falling victims to these mentioned crimes. We do not wait for anyone to tell us to install security devices in our cars to prevent theft. We do not wait for anyone to tell us to install burglary proofs in our houses. In the same vein, women should not wait for anyone to tell them to avoid situations that will expose them to rape. Many women do not understand this. Some went as far as saying that even if they expose themselves to situations that could put them at risk, that it should be understood that they have to give consent first before copulation. Well, we don’t give pick-pockets consents before they steal our phones; we guard our bags to prevent their intrusion. So women should guard themselves to prevent unpermitted intrusion.
Women need to understand that since other crimes still exist despite the existence of laws and public outcries, rape will not go away. The only way around it to avoid circumstances that could warrant it. Parents also have roles to play. Most minors are raped by their relatives and neighbours. Parents should, therefore, be watchful of where their children go to and who comes to their house. They should also instil it into their children to avoid going into people’s houses alone. They have the responsibility of securing the lives and dignity of their children until they become fully independent.