As a woman, there is nothing that terrifies me as much as men. I get it they are not scary and they are people just like me, but the fear that grips me when I am surrounded by men, yes even men I know, is extremely overwhelming. This fear can be considered foolish, unnecessary or just simple paranoia but not only is it justifiable it is also rational. And it is all because of one underlining factor, RAPE. Now don’t get me wrong, I know that not all men rape, but I also know that there are men who rape. I also know that men who rape do not come with signs that say rapist as such, any man can be rapist. Further, I also know that they have no justifiable reason to do it except that they want to do it. Sure they can blame it on the girl’s skirt, how she looked at them, or the fact that she was drunk, but at the end of the day, nothing makes it alright or justifies their actions. As such you never know whether you will be the victim or not. The scariest place for a woman is being outside our homes, the safest place for us in the comforts of our homes- but even those are not safe for some women.
As a society, we have created a rape culture that makes it OK for women to be harassed, victimized and bullied. We have made it OK for people to rape, whether with their eyes, their words and/or body language. We have made it ok as long as they do not force sex on you, then we have a problem. How do you treat a problem without treating the signs and symptoms of the problem. Society has sent messages that confuse sex with rape hence it has become a normal thing. A “joke” if I dare say. As a woman, how many times have we been told “it’s a joke” “lighten up” “you don’t have to take everything so seriously”. As a man how many times would you be offended if the same joke was said to/about your sister or your mother? Would you find it funny if statements such as “ulindichokhalila chabwino”, “koma nde angakome” “koma nde mwendo ooneka bwino” were said to your family member? Would it still remain a joke.
Consent is the presence of a yes not the absence of a no. Men have often times been mis-educated about rape and sex as such the lines have become blurred for them making it easy for them to be crossed. What constitutes as consent or “sometimes a no is a maybe” “some no’s end up in yes’” or “some no’s really mean yes” is their lack of knowledge on what consent is and their misunderstanding of rape and sex. As a society, we all need to play a role in ending rape and the culture that allows women to be victims of sexual harassment. Each and everyone one of us. Our mothers and fathers need to teach their sons the difference sex and rape, as girls we need to teach our brothers the difference between a compliment and harassing someone, as brothers we need to teach our brothers that no really does mean no. In-order to eliminate the rape culture, we all need to play a role, we all need to be involved. Women because we are the ones experiencing this, men because it is simply wrong to treat a fellow human in such manner, but also because it demeans your humanity, because instead of being looked at as a man- intelligent, caring, loving- you are instead looked at as a possible rapist, and that in itself should disturb you.