I think a bunch of people ganged up together and decided to piss females off in Ghana or around the world these past few weeks.
From the Marwako incident, the Minister for Gender and Social Protection, Otiko Afisa Djaba remarks on rape and clothing, policeman kissing female driver and Ghana football Association (GFA) officials being charged with sexual harrassment by FIFA (I must admit after hearing both sides of the story its a tricky one), this here is more than just coincidence.
To top that all off women are pissed; and when women are pissed you better duck for cover.
This however is good grounds to discuss the issues at hand and educate those ignorant in areas that the world finds unforgivable.
I am going to try and tackle three issues in three different blog posts. I shall start by looking into the Ministers comments on rape and clothing.
Now this really pissed a lot of people off. It pissed them off to the extent that some are calling for the Minister to be replaced. Below was the comment made
“In conclusion, I want to say to you, be bold, be confident, be respectful. If you wear a short dress, it’s fashionable but, know that it can attract somebody who would want to rape or defile you. You must be responsible for the choices you make,”
(The article detailing the comments and Ghanaians outrage can be viewed here)
The fact that she is a female and also the Minister making those remarks hurt many women. I hadn’t read the comments she made at the time and reserved my comments until having read the article.
I however had a long and interesting conversation about the issue before reading the article. It was with a female friend and I must say that the conversation changed the lens in which I viewed the whole matter.
Initially I did not see the big deal with comments of clothing having a possible correlation with rape; as long as clothing wasn’t perceived as the sole reason for rape.
The more I tried to justify the possible correlation however small, the more I realized that it probably had very very little to do with rape.
I don’t have statistics but I do have a number of close friends who have been raped. These are not girls who are indecent or love to show skin. Yet they were the victims of rape.
Truth be told unless you have been in a victims shoes, dealt with such issues on an intimate level or bothered to honestly know more, it is hard to understand why the comments made by the Minister are wrong.
In fact, this is notion about clothes and rape is a global myth and not one unique to Ghana. So though I am sympathetic to her flaw, I equally understand the pain that her words caused.
So yes, maybe you do need someone who understands victims of rape better as a Minister; but maybe this is grounds to educate people and dispel a myth that unfortunately has sunk its teeth deep into the minds of people all over.
I can bet you that a number of high ranking officials, both male and female from all walks of life assume that there is a correlation between clothing and rape.
The conversation on this issue should be encouraged to eradicate the ignorance that exists. The rants to curb such discussions with the notion that it “justifies” the excuse by the culprit is something I disagree with.
There is no excuse for rape by a sane person. Discussing possible causes for rape provides an opportunity to those discussing to learn and rid the notion of a correlation that doesn’t exist.
So lets engage each other and read more about this issue to dispel this painful myth that suggests that rape victims “ask for it”.
If you do believe that there is a correlation lets talk and learn from the discussion without emotions. It is hard but once emotions are brought in, it seems like more of an attack than a discussion.
Lets keep it One HONDRED and dispel the myth because rapists are not particularly interested in mini skirts.
Look out for my posts on the next two issues