COERCE

‘Nigerians laugh when they are uncomfortable’ – Najite Dede

I remember hearing those words after watching the play ‘Colour Me Man’ by The Naked Convos.

There was a scene where Red (played by Timi Charles-Fadipe) explained how he raped Rhoda, a girl he loved but she was with Blue (played by Seun Kentebe) because of Blue’s money and the fact that Red never stepped up to ask her out. What surprised me wasn’t Timi’s acting because he is a fantastic actor and he’s in the Single in Gidi play as well but the fact that the audience laughed all through that scene

…Especially the women

The women laughed and I cringed at the imagination of a fellow woman being taken without her consent while others like her laughed. You could say it was only a stage play , that was until I read Sugabelly’s story, and I saw people and characters call her all sorts, claiming she was a slut, a gold digger. Everyone had something negative to say to her, people of all shapes and backgrounds

…Especially the women

Her fellow women laughed at her, said the 17-year-old had it coming and it made no sense why she kept going back. The women laughed, called her names for attempting to destroy the homes of ‘happily married men’ after eight years of living in fear, pain and depression. Not bothering to wonder if the women in these happily married homes are probably victims themselves.

Nigerians they say laugh through their pain but maybe we have become so desensitized that we laugh at others who suffer from trauma like we would laugh at one of Bovi’s jokes.

It surprises me that women like Sugabelly have the audacity to say her story was too good to be true, too much like a Nollywood story, too graphic to be real so they decide it must be all a lie and go ahead to call her names in the hopes that what is true will become a script and we can all laugh at it because deep inside we are uncomfortable to accept the fact that a human could treat another the way she and every other victim of rape have been treated.

I went back to 2014, found an old post where an anonymous lady left a comment on how she was raped while on her period, a friend’s sister that was raped for hours un-end because she refused to accept the advances of a horny cult member, another who was constantly raped by her own boyfriend and there was Sugabelly recounting locations, events, times and plate numbers.

These are some of the women who have found the voice and strength to speak, to tell the world of their pain at the expense of being laughed at, being called names and their stories being tossed around like the latest gist in town while these men roam the streets, exchanging stories of conquered little girls, teenagers and women, in search of their next victim while everyone laughs, pointing fingers, calling names

…Especially the women

The women with daughters and sisters and friends who may be going through the same pain but have no one to turn to for help and support, no shoulder to lean on…nobody to hold their hands and say it won’t be easy but it will be alright, not the authorities, not the churches, not their families

…Not even their fellow women

 

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