When They See Us / Nigerian Twitter

Ladies, Gentlemen and other individuals, welcome to my blog!

(Applause)

“Ah! 1nigeriangirl, where you been?”

“… Thought you shut down…”

“…. Refreshed, but I didn’t see anything..”

I’ve been okay. I just went on a hiatus from Jan 1 which I didn’t want to announce on here (I’m not back yet o).

Anyway, your girl has been busy – school, work and everything in between, because really, these bills won’t pay themselves.

If you didn’t know, when I go offline, I’m a college undergrad, I run a physical business, and sometimes when I’m online, I’m freelancing content for clients. Basically, I write, create and curate, so if you need me, send me a mail.

Now that is done, on to pressing issues. I’d like to first put out a PSA : I don’t hold brief for anybody or gender.

You’re allowed to not agree with my opinions, as long as you keep your comment clean, because this is a ‘non-hate’ space. It is important, because we’re about to discuss a very sensitive issue.

Anyway, I guess by now, most people have seen #WhenTheySeeUs – obviously, because you guys are fighting on Twitter.

(If you haven’t seen it, this post will probably make a lot of sense after you do)

First of all, I think a lot of people, and I don’t want to generalize by limiting it to Nigerians, but an alarming number of people think or believe that the movie has more to do with false rape allegations than racial profiling.

It takes away from these boys and their families, the pain and suffering they suffered.

Sometimes I wonder, did people watch the series at all?

How can you, after watching the torture and beatings in the interrogation room, think that this is about false rape allegations?

How can you not see the clear criminal miscarriage of justice? A flawed justice system tipped to never favour… You know, never mind.

They – the central park 5, will never be the same! They were just children, what? 14 to 16 years of age? No amount of settlement would give them back their youth or take away their trauma.

Do you guys know, that the real rapist confessed and that’s even why we can talk about this case today? So, how did we make this a false allegation story, if Infact there was a rape, a victim who was hospitalized in critical condition and an actual person who confessed to the crime years later with matching DNA. How did Nigerian Twitter take this away, and make it a gender war.

Like, I don’t think anything else can shock me again. Talk about the righteous indignation. Y’all just be doing the most in these streets.

It was a painful thing to watch and more painful still, when the central idea is taken away. Can we like, just, not?

Something we have to establish prima facie, is that someone was indeed raped! An actual human victim. The problem is that the wrong persons went down for it, largely by reason of being black.

Two factors come to play here – that the actual culprit is possibly still out there, and at the time of penning this, the prosecutor hasn’t been charged, but her books have been dropped by her publishers. So, Baby steps?Problem is, Nigerian Twitter doesn’t see it that way.

They found a way to connect it to what happened to Neymar, and ran with their version of events. What blew it out of proportion, was the tweet a girl sent about graduating law school and dedicating her life to prosecuting false rape charges.

Ahem!

To be honest, what anyone wants to dedicate their life to, is not my problem, or any of my business – I mean, I’d like to be a couch potato when I grow up, but it’s whatever.

You can guess what happened after the tweet went viral – Gender war! The ladies of Twitter were not having it, and the men were not understanding why.

I’ll tell you why.

The koko of the matter is, we do not have this energy when actual rape cases occur, especially in a country, where rape cases aren’t properly handled, go unprosecuted, difficult to prove and the almighty victim- blaming. Then, when there’s a false rape allegation, we call on the fifth regiment and the bomb squad.

Thing is, false rape allegations are one of the worst forms of evil, it’s an undisputed fact. Another undisputed fact is that, in every 10 rape reports in Nigeria, 9 are true, and the culprits will most likely, go free.

First, the associated shame wouldn’t let the victim report to the relevant authorities, the latter would also frustrate the victim and they’ll start with the question,

What were you wearing?

Should we talk about the court of public opinion? Social media, that would ask the victim what she went to the alleged suspect’s house for? Nah, let’s not even go that far.

So, it’s rich that, for a country where the concept of ‘consent’ is not properly understood, false rape allegations are more of a pressing issue than rape itself. In fact, that alone, is downright funny!

Narrowing it down to our social hemisphere, some Nigerian men do not understand that No means No, that consent must be express and not implied and can be withdrawn at any time.

There’s a large crop that believe that, if she comes to your house, if you take her to dinner or shopping, she owes you a ‘good time’, in recompense.

(moment of silence)

These are the crop of men that explain away or try to rationalize rape situations, all but shutting the victims down, and raise their voices only when the war comes to their turf. This is to show how powerful rape and it’s aftermath, is.

I mean, it’s still a tool of war, and because of its effect on its victim, armed robbers use it to keep them docile. I mean, we have men who slut shame women who do not agree with them on issues.

You could ruin a woman’s reputation, relationship or marriage by claiming you’ve had sex with her, but these are not the issues. These are not important. It’s only important when it affects one of their own.

Take the SARS onslaught on Nigerian youths in the south, for instance. It wouldn’t get the public attention it’s getting, if their victims were or largely women.

I mean, ‘alleged’ police officers arrested and raped women found in a club, in the capital city, which ought to be one of the most protected areas in the country (did you hear they used pure water sachets as condoms?).

Well, were we all not here when people tweeted, asking what they were wearing, and why they were at the clubs or even why they were out that late?

Na dem!

Turn the tables around, if SARS were to round up boys on ripped and saggy jeans, with iPhones and dreadlocks, you would be dragged on Twitter if you asked, if they were yahoo boys or why they’re dressed like that.

These are the issues!

I vote strongly that false rape accusations should be fought with every bit of the law, as we’ve seen its effect on black men, especially athletes and their careers.

However, I ask that we keep this same energy when a girl has been raped.

When we do not fight for the issues that are pressing, at the time they occur ; when the battle comes to our yard, can’t really expect the blue army. Now, can we?

Facts, every woman (and the sphere is turning around to include men) stands the risk of being raped, irrespective of dressing, religion or creed. It’s a very valid fear that every day a woman steps out of her house, she runs the risk of being raped – either by a partner, loved one, friend or stranger. It is a valid risk, all women, irrespective of age.

Did you also know, that false rape allegations come to play only when men “choose” to have sex. Even if right now, you have to keep receipts, to defend yourself, and pursue any action available to you by law and receive compensation to wit.

Did you know also, that a woman doesn’t choose if she gets raped or not, in her lifetime. These are the issues!

If at this point, you don’t understand why female Twitter came for the girl in that thread, then there’s not much I can do for you. I can only tell you ‘why’. I can’t say anything as to the rightness or otherwise of same.

I stand the risk of being called “feminist” in the condescending manner with which people who do not agree with the average Nigerian man, are called, but that’s whatever, Sha!


Before I let go, I just wanted to draw our attention to what’s going on in Sudan, Liberia and most of West Africa, which isn’t getting the media coverage it should.

I know that many of our youths do not read the news, but it’d be important, if you take a minute off your busy schedule to Google what’s going on, and say a brief prayer.

It saddens my heart to see what our great Africa is turning into, and that, right here at home, there’s an imminent disaster looming, which I can’t mention here, but I’m sure we can guess what it is.

So, if you can, say a prayer.

For Sudan.

For Liberia.

For Nigeria.

For yourselves.

Let it not be an issue of, nobody cared till it hit home.

Peace, love and light!

2 thoughts on “When They See Us / Nigerian Twitter

  1. So well written as always. First, I need to get on this twitter bandwagon. Second, it saddens me that Nigerians, Africans, just don’t get it; not this, not a bunch of many other things that should be common sense.

    Like

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