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Many years ago a staff of the international humanitarian body, The Red Cross, gifted me with a small pamphlet on the trauma of war as recorded by red cross volunteers and staff around the world. I read about men in great pain from years of starvation, amputees from wounds of war and men tattooed with hot iron metals for identification. The book also talks about the pained look of prisoners of war tortured by their captors in such discomforting detail. But a whole chapter was dedicated to the women captured by warring men on either side used as cooks and shields and water fetchers.
More importantly, the volunteers said the women looked physically okay and had no tattoo marks or amputated limbs so he recorded them as in good health but recommended psychological evaluation due to trauma. But when he returned the following day with two other colleagues, he saw a hollow in the eyes of the women, a different sorrow from the men, deeper and more intense, pleading eyes and a haunting look he will never forget. He described it as akin to a shell staring past him. He said when he looked at the women a second time, they all seemed to have emptied themselves deliberately to remain sane. It was the look, he said, of people who no longer had the will to live and yet they had seemed okay the day before.
On the visiting team was a psychiatrist who had requested a fast track psychological profile of the women as their look was disturbing. In the end, after several weeks of talking to the women, the result of the interviews returned multiple cases of rape across all the women, the youngest being 14 and the oldest, 65. All had been gang raped by their captors.That look, that emptiness, that trauma that can last forever.
Rape is not a pretty word and no matter the perpetrator, it is beyond just the physical torture, it is a power game, a mind game with the intention of dominance. Rapists take away everything that belongs to their victim and erode her self-esteem. Most perpetrators are cowards who will take without consent and threaten and blackmail and instil fear and condemn their victims to the dungeon of emptiness and continuous trauma. Shameless lechers who use sex as power relations over someone who they believe should be silenced. Dirty rotten scoundrels, authority figures, family members pretending to be who they are not, whose shame should trail them for the rest of their lives. Slippery, highly deceitful predators with evil charm, seeking to devour.
Rapists are among us, from religious leaders to teachers, to step fathers to policemen entrusted to look after us all.Rapists are highly protective of their own daughters and for fear that someone else might abuse them, may begin to sexually abuse their daughters. As a caregiver and counsellor, I have met many children abused by their own fathers and others by trusted persons, uncles, houseboys, sister’s husbands, drivers who damage the girls for life while the rest of the world is looking the other way.
Enter Busola Dakolo, our heroine of the month, blazing a trail like no other woman in Nigeria. As a teenager, she tells how she was taken advantage of by Pastor Fatoyinbo, Head Honcho of the COZA church. Although we are still awaiting investigations and formal complaints etcetera, Busola has stepped forward and spoken for all women worldwide who have ever been raped.
Her story has gone viral and Fatoyinbo’s other alleged victims have all being coming out with the most bizarre stories which seem to play into the same pattern. Pastor grooms you to believe you are a good church worker and before long begins to masturbate his own ego and believe that his position means he owns you. Self-entitlement becomes a norm and they line up the women, some feeling powerful by giving their bodies but most deceived and defiled. As theBusola/Fatoyinbo discourse rages, a pastor feels you should be grateful that he deposited his elevated sperm in your body even while committing the heinous crime of rape.
I am incensed by the reaction of many warped Nigerians to this allegation. First there are those who typical with rape cases are concerned about how big the person in question is. Then there are those who dare to play God. They say whether it is true or not, the man is anointed. Really? So that is a licence to rape, kill or defraud? Listen to yourselves. Wow! I do not believe being anointed means you should go against every word in your anointing, in the bible, in the moral compass of life. Please let us all become Pastors, so we can get away with murder. Then there are others who have reduced it to a religious matter. No Muslim will do this kind of thing, pull down their religious leaders. This is beyond belief. Someone says she has been raped and we reduce it to a religious matter?
I can see why we have too many fake men of God. We give them permission by these kinds of incendiary nonsense. So he has permission to take the life of another because rape is literally murder, a psychological destruction of another, an erosion of another, the diminishing of another, a complete destruction of someone’s life. Just because he is a religious, he is free to kill? Only strong women survive rape with a heavy dose of counselling and family support. Many women are emotionally and physically destroyed and turn to drugs or easy living to deaden their pain. In all of this is Timi Dakolo, one of Nigeria’s most beloved singers, a hero in every sense of the word, ready to defend his wife’s honour in spite of the pain and the shame. We salute you!
We stand with Busola and all women who have ever been raped. Their pain is immeasurable. I am ashamed of Nigerians who have called them all sorts of names. What if it happened to your daughters? Remember the Red Cross story. I have said in an article in this paper before that the punishment for rapists, although unlawful, is to hang them by their balls. Enough said!