Family is overrated. Those who say that blood is thicker than water could not be more wrong than those who said the earth was flat. Blood is thick, but only in relation to what it is meant for. Blood is blood. Water is water. Piss off if you think there’s a relation to using the relationship between these two elements to describe familial bonds.

We’re all alone in this world. We came alone. We only make alliances that benefit us for a stint or stretch of time. Family is one of those alliances. Long running, yes; but overrated as heck.

I realised this when my sister threw me out. My sister. Far from our home back in Abia, we were supposed to be all we had to ourselves in this unforgiving city of Lagos. And what did I do to deserve it? Nothing that would warrant an eviction. But I get it, big sis needed her space and I was cramping it. Besides, how could I, the last child in the family go toe to toe with my elder sister during arguments when I knew she practically held all the aces?

I had nowhere else to go. My sister decided that the best way to punish my feistiness and big mouth was to throw me out and really show who’s boss. My brother beats me at will when he can’t offer a superior argument. I’m a woman and I shouldn’t talk back to men; it is his responsibility to teach me with his fists before my future husband gets the honour –just so he wouldn’t conclude that my family did not train me well.

I couldn’t go to him. There’s no comfort in his presence because he would only mock me and I wouldn’t take it on the chin. The end result would be a black eye the next morning and sore joints so I passed on another lesson about how the good gift of pain could make me a good woman.

It was 10PM. I lived in Ajah with my sister. Getting out was not exactly easy at that time of night and my closest friends lived on the mainland. So I called Osita to see if I could spend the night at his place before figuring out my next move when day broke.

He felt like a safe option. We were close. We should have been closer but I didn’t want what he wanted at the time. A month later, he found a girl he liked and we moved on like nothing happened. He was the only friend I had at the moment.

Osita was happy to help. He knew my struggles and my pain. Once, he was so angry when he saw my bruises that he wanted to go after my brother but I stopped him. It would only have gotten me into more trouble for involving an outsider in our family drama and I’d suffered enough already.

But you never know with men. His mattress was on the floor of his room and he said he would sleep on the rug so I would be more comfortable. But he wasn’t on the floor when I woke up a few hours later to find his hand cupping my right breast, fingers kneading my nipple the way someone would tune a transistor radio.

I jumped like the bed was on fire. Caught in the act, Osita’s face was a brief mask of shame under the dim green night light in the room. He said he couldn’t contain his feelings for me; I was irresistible and had a hold on him that even his girlfriend didn’t have. He would break up with her if I gave him a chance with me. All he wanted to do was be with me and feel my warmth against the harmattan chill.

He tried to kiss me but I held back. Rather than let it go, he grabbed me. I would feel differently about him if we made love, he said. He’d always wanted to make me feel like a woman, he said. All I needed to do was to let him.

You never know with men. That was my mistake; mistaking his kindness towards me and willingness to remain in my life despite the rejection as signs of maturity. I’ve been in this situation before and I didn’t win – the blows made me submit.

This was different. I let him do it. Like a peaceful rainforest assaulted by bulldozers, I let him part my legs and invite himself into me. It was different. There were no blows.

The next morning, Osita barely said a word to me beyond a murmured apology and the devil using him. He wouldn’t have touched me if I wasn’t his weakness and being the man that he was, he succumbed. He told me to drop his key under his doormat when I was ready to leave; his girlfriend was coming to spend the weekend.

There were no blows then because I couldn’t fight. I only had a big mouth which got me into trouble with my brother and sister so I kept it shut for the time being. I let him do it. What I wouldn’t do is to let him get away with it like the others did.

Photo credit: Mohammed Alnaser via Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-ND

Forced Sex and its Perverse Bedfellows

Rape; the sexual act without the consent of the other partner and all other forms of sexual molestation by extension, has assumed a worrisome dimension (cliché, I know) in recent times, particularly in Third World Countries. While women in western nations are offered more protection, where a sexual offender is sure to bag at least 10 years in jail, women in Nigeria and other countries do not have such luxury in the form of protection. The law is loosely applied in such a way that a discovered occurrence ends up being treated as a family affair and the culprit goes unpunished to sin another day.

These days, we hear disturbing news of husbands raping their wives, young sister-in-laws and other female relatives, house-helps, and even their own daughters or daughters of close friends and family members kept in custody. Sadly, the victims are threatened in order to silence them and even when the case blows out in the open, the case is put to the sword before it reaches the police. In more bizarre circumstances, the victim declines to testify in court to avoid public knowledge and stigmatization. As a result, more rape cases go unreported and the perpetrators are more emboldened to carry out their secret crimes against friends, family members and strangers.

In May 2012, there was a disturbing video on social media about a 12-year-old girl, having sex with a four-year-old boy in Warri, Delta State, Nigeria. Whether there was penetration or not is immaterial; what was so disturbing was the fact that the active participants were going through the motions like adults. As such, it can be safely assumed that they knew what they were doing, though there was an adult dictating ‘proceedings’ behind a camera phone.

This singular act, takes sexual molestation to another level in Nigeria and if left unchecked, could set an abominable trend for child pornography to follow; a situation that is being fiercely tackled in western countries. If this is allowed to happen, then we have rape, paedophilia, and child pornography to contend with. We haven’t succeeded on the first two fronts so how are we supposed to tackle this third monster if we do not act now? So it is not enough for an adult to molest a kid, he can now go ahead and record it. We live in dangerous times indeed.

Of all excuses to be given for such occurrences, the most revolting one of all is the attribution of such acts to spiritual afflictions. We hear all sorts of “A curse has been placed on him”, “His family is after him”, and all sorts. Come on, this is the 21st century! I’m not saying curses are not real but such an excuse shouldn’t be the first on the list. Some men are just sick and psychotic and should be treated as such. Sometimes I wonder why the nation’s psychiatric hospitals are not filled with more rapists than drug addicts. Seriously, we need more shrinks and electric chairs.

An act of rape by a man can also be seen as a gross abuse of manly power. How do you explain policemen raping women (some are hookers arrested at night) in custody, or soldiers raping war victims and people they were meant to protect? Women are also fingered as not being saints in this situations but while a man would need just his bare hands to force a woman into sex, a woman would need drugs or weapons to perpetrate the act. Moreover, most reported cases are attributed to female criminals and cultists in higher institutions. Sure, women have been known to rape men too but these are isolated cased where only 1 in 1000 women would actually attempt rape, as opposed to 1 out of 10 men (my statistic is borne out of common sense, sue me if you have a problem with it).

Some men have been known to blame women for their act when it is actually their inability to control the urge, ‘agro’or ‘konji’ as they call it. Sexy dresses, signals and ‘green light’, pencil and mini skirts, low waist jeans have been blamed too; but what about the “Hijab” wearing or SU dressed sister(no disrespect intended)? The bitter truth is: some men would gladly rape a woman even though she’s decked up like an astronaut, all flesh covered.

Seriously, no girl would cause rape; no matter the temptation, men should have the common sense to walk away or resist…at least, it’s not like she has grabbed the man’s penis or whatever. What about men that rape five year old kids, how do we explain that? The reason for blaming girls for our mistakes is because we are prone to seeing signs that are not there; if a girl wants you in bed with her, she will make sure of it, except you don’t want to. And if she says no, even if it’s a whisper, she means NO! NO will never mean YES and YES will never mean NO, not in a million years to come… But ladies please, don’t flirt if you don’t mean to get down (trust me, most men are idiots and wouldn’t know the difference between flirting and whatever).

As men, we see ourselves as the stronger sex but largely go about proving it the wrong way. We misuse our superior strength, forgetting that power comes with responsibility. We forget that it is wrong to to use force in having intercourse (even if she’s married to you), or to hit a woman, we ignore the fact that for honour or respect to be ours, we firstly need to conduct ourselves in an honourable manner.

Feminism isn’t just an attempt at sharing the spotlight with men or proving equality between the sexes; it is an attempt by women to knuckle up and make up for our shortcomings as men. Trust me, men have messed up for so long that women are now forced to step up and inject sense into the world.

Most men have actually stopped being men; the only thing that reminds them of this is that piece hanging between their legs and the strength they possess. We should be a beacon of hope, responsibility, compassion, stability, calmness and mercy; all that God has planned for us to be. Unnecessary show of strength or brute force is not what makes a man, it is the inner qualities that do.