Take a stand against rape and all other sexual violations

Here in our side of the world, we have demonized everything sexual so much that it blinds us to real issues on the subject. Sadly, this apparent demonization makes it all the more difficult for people to be openly expressive about their sexuality and prevents open discussions on sexual abuse issues, especially rape. Quite sadly, innocent victims who try to speak out about their abuses rather get labelled, or their situation made light of.

Very frankly, there is a general kind of hypocrisy here in our side of the world, of everybody behaving like saints who have never had sex before, talk less of ever being abused sexually or ever coming close to being violated. Our “outwardly religious but inwardly sinful” nature will never allow us to openly make a stand against sexual violence. And that is how we allow it to even take root right in our Churches (the house of God) and yet pretend it is not happening.

Sometimes, it is difficult to place a hand on the real causes of rape especially. However, there is some positive feeling that, perhaps the culture of over sexualization of women which has seen almost every man growing up to see women as sexual objects (for the most part) to be dominated and to be used at will for their satisfaction, could be a major contributory factor. Trust me, even in today’s developed world, if a man and woman should be involved in a sexual abuse issue like rape, the man will simply have the upper hand and one wouldn’t be surprised if no blame at all is given to the man and made to walk free. The man’s power or ability to coerce a woman to have his way with her will be totally overlooked and it will surely be the usual rhetoric of it is the woman who doesn’t know how to keep her legs closed or her breasts covered enough, or doesn’t know how to carry herself modestly enough to avoid being raped, etc.

Yes, women are beautiful and many times could be objects of sexual desire, but that shouldn’t mean that it is okay for men to find women worth raping. Of course, any man would find a woman with all the right curves in the right places very attractive, appealing and desirable, but that obviously must not give any man a justification for birthing the slightest thought of rape.

Sexual objectification of women, as we see even in so many works of art, may contribute somehow to the culture of rape but it still is not okay. Let us not forget that women desire or lust after men too, but we rarely see them always going about raping men all over the place.

Obviously, the argument is not that women must absolutely be believed and to not hold any blame in a sexual abuse case (because men get abused too), but there just shouldn’t be any systemic bias towards men, and women must be given a voice to speak out against their abusers and demand justice. It is also important that the wheel of justice does not continue to grind slowly for female victims of sexual abuse, as it appears to be the case. Justice delayed could be justice denied.

We certainly need more public outrage, support and demand for justice in the fight against rape, like in the recent rape and murder of the young Nigerian student Vera Uwaila Omozuwa, right in a church where she felt was a safe haven to go and study in. The growing silence of us as a people only gives room for sexual abuse cases to keep growing and for the offenders to even feel free to walk about in society and continue to perpetuate more evil. We must all continue to lend our voice to the fight against sexual abuses because just one day, it could be any of us or our family members falling victims.

Maybe it is easy for me to relate with this rape and sexual abuse thing because someone very close to me almost got raped by a Pastor she held in high esteem and trusted as a brother and friend. Such traumatising experience is one that lives with victims their whole life and only God knows the damage it creates on various aspects of their life.

Maybe that is why a big part of my problem with rape and all other forms of sexual abuse is mostly with the Church, who I expect to take some lead in the fight against sexual abuses, but somehow they seem to play a laid back role and rarely add their voice against this social canker. But that’s not surprising because hardly would you find any Church on the surface of this earth that has not somehow tried to shelve issues of sexual abuse right in the Church under the carpet. If the Churches are constantly seen to be practicing and encouraging sexual abuse, how would they then have the moral right and confidence to come out and speak boldly against the practice?

It’s a really tough world out there for women to get justice for sexual abuses because this male dominated systems or support structures (including the Church) seem only interested in preying on women. The best we see them do is offering women a platform to hear them out but that’s where it seems to end; meanwhile what is of more essence to the victims and the public is real action or justice beyond just being heard. It’s really important for our justice systems and social support structures to be seen to be working effectively.

Perhaps the real work starts with all of us playing our part in creating a safe society for all and really taking a stand against sexual violence. May we not be seen to rather encourage it by either being silent or shielding offenders because they might be our Pastors, employers, family members, friends, and what have you. A victim somewhere is perhaps depending on us. We can all be the voice of the voiceless.

#SayNoToRape #NoToSexualViolence

Kindly share your opinion with us, for together, we can all become a strong voice in creating a safe world for all.

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©Mark Gadogbe (2020)

Marital rape and abuse?

A woman comes into a police station and tells the officer at the front desk that she wants to report that her husband is committing domestic violence against her, including committing marital rape against her.

An officer takes her into a room to begin interviewing her.

Officer: “Mam please describe to me incidents of marital rape and other types of domestic abuse that your husband has committed against you.”

Wife: “Well officer it all started 5 years ago after we got married. I turned him down when he asked for sex and he started telling me that because we had a Christian marriage, he and I both had a right to have sex with one another, and except for short mutually agreed upon times for when we’re sick or otherwise unable to, we ought not to turn down one another”.

Officer: “Did he force himself on you that night?”

Wife: “No – he just walked away, but I felt intimidated by the fact that he believed it was a sin for couples to deny each other, I felt pressure for the next time he wanted to have sex”.

rapewife

Officer: “Ok – so tell me more.”

Wife: “I decided I needed to set my husband straight about sex. I believe every person’s body is their own and no one has a right to coerce or convince someone to have sex when they are not in the mood, not even in marriage. I shared this truth that all of us as enlightened people should accept now in modern society. I told him it is NEVER selfish for me not to want to have sex for any reason, but it is ALWAYS selfish for him to try and convince me to have sex when I am not in the mood.

I told him that I would no longer feel pressured to have sex with him, and that really sex is just a small part of marriage. I told him I believed sex in marriage was not a “right”, but a privilege and that it should only happen when BOTH he and I were in the mood because of how happy and in love we were with each other. In fact, I even told him that just because I don’t want to have sex that often, that does not mean I don’t love him, I just don’t need it that often. I said we ought to be able to enjoy our marriage with one another, without having to need sex all the time – it should happen on special occasions when we are both in the mood.”

Officer: “So how did he respond to that?”

Wife: “He asked me if he was doing something wrong in the bedroom. He asked me if he could help to put me in the mood more often. I told him it had nothing to do with anything wrong he was doing, it was just the fact that I don’t need sex that often, and he ought to respect that and accept that. He was not happy with my view on sex and said my belief was a sin according to our mutually held belief in the Bible as God’s Word. I thought overtime he would overcome his beliefs, and realize that he could take care of himself if he needed it and just be grateful for the times when I was in the mood and wanted to have sex.”

Officer: “Mam but when did he commit marital rape against you?”

Wife: “Well there were many times, that I was not in the mood, and I said No.”

Officer: “So are these the times that he forced himself on you?”

Wife: “No he did not force himself on me, but he coerced me into having sex with him.”

Officer: “How did he coerce you?”

Wife: “Well he told me that I was being selfish, and that I was sinning against God and him by denying his sexual needs. He told me if I continued denying him that we would need to go to a Christian counselor – so I gave in many times and let him have sex with me when I was not in the mood”.

Officer: “So you gave consent? Or did her force you?”

Wife: “Well he did not physically force himself, but I felt pressured because he was going to have us go to a counselor, so I just gave in and let him. But that was still rape right?”

Officer: “Uh, no mam that was not rape. Your allowing him to have sex with you when you were not in the mood because you did not want to go to a counselor was not rape. You made a decision, you decided you would rather have sex with him than go to a counselor, you gave consent.”

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Wife: “Ok but later he did even more things to coerce me…”

Officer: “What things did he do?”

Wife: “He eventually got me to go to a Christian counselor, and I felt really pressured by that counselor that I had to have sex with my husband more, and that I needed to let him try to put me in the mood even when I was not – I could not believe it –who did this counselor think he was? I told that counselor he was full of garbage.”

Officer: “Then what happened?”

Wife: “Then my husband asked me after the counseling appointment if I really loved him and cared about our marriage – and I told him “Of course I do! I love our life together – we just disagree about sex”. I told him if he could just accept my views of sex our marriage would be perfect, he was a good man and I enjoyed going places with him and doing things with him. This was now two years into our marriage and we had an infant son, and my husband was such great father to our son. For some reason that was not good enough for him, he thought we needed more sex in our marriage.”

Officer: “Ok did he come to accept your view of sex?”

Wife: “No – he actually setup an appointment with the Pastor of our church and his wife! I went even though I did not want to, and our Pastor actually told me I was sinning against my husband by denying him! The nerve! It’s my body, and no one, not my Pastor, not my husband is going to tell me otherwise.”

Officer: “Mam but how did your husband commit domestic violence against you? Or when did he rape you?”

Wife: “Well after the appointment with the Pastor all of a sudden he canceled with the babysitter and stopped taking me on our weekly dates. I asked him why and he said it was because I was “sinning against him and our marriage by my willful sexual denial” wasn’t that domestic abuse? After all he was using our date night to get me to admit I was wrong about sex in our marriage.”

Officer: “Um mam – he is not required by law to take you on dates.”

Wife: “But wait – there is more. We had a new kitchen remodel that we were ready to sign papers on and he called and canceled the meeting to sign the papers to get the work started. He said the kitchen we had while outdated, was still functional and he was not comfortable with spending the money to do it. We were only cleared to get the work done based on his income, and I don’t make enough to do it on my income alone.”

Officer: “Um mam – he is not required by law to get your kitchen updated.”

Wife: “But wait you need to hear this. He used to go clean out my car every weekend. I would pick a room each weekend for him to dust and clean, and now he stopped doing that. He used to give me back rubs at least once or twice a week. Now he stopped doing that too – he can’t do that right? This is emotional abuse! This is manipulation right? He says it is “discipline” to bring me to understand God’s view of sex in marriage.

Officer: “Well mam maybe he is manipulating you or maybe he just does not want to do these things for you anymore. Either way, none of this so far that you have told me is illegal, you might not like it, I might not like it, but it is not illegal.”

Wife: “What do you mean not illegal? The law says he can’t make me do anything I don’t want to do?”

marital-rape-can-a-husband-rape-his-wife-l-llfnkm

Officer: “Mam, from everything you have told me, you have done whatever you did by your own choice. You might have done it because you wanted to avoid stress, or going to a counselor, or you just did not feel like arguing.”

Wife: “But there is still one more horrible thing I have not told you – my husband changed his auto deposit of his paycheck so it no longer goes in our joint checking account, he has his own account now. He goes grocery shopping for us each week now. I used to do the grocery shopping. He gave me the credit cards that were in my name for me to pay out of my own paychecks. I work too, but I don’t make nearly as much money as my husband. I used to be able to go anywhere I wanted and spend what I wanted, but now I have no spending money. That is financial abuse right? He can’t do that right?”

Officer: “Mam is he providing food, shelter and clothing for you and your child? Is he holding you in your home against your will?”

Wife: “Well yes he is providing those things for me and my son, and no he is not holding me against my will. He makes sure my car is fully fueled every week. He gives me some cash for if I need some things during the day when he is at work. But I used to have full access to all our money in our joint bank account and I was able to do what I wanted with our money, and now he took that from me – he can’t do that”.

Officer: “Mam – why are you still with this man? You clearly don’t see marriage the same way he does and it sounds like he is either trying to teach you something or he is getting ready to divorce you by separating his money into another account. He may have even had an attorney advise him to do that with his paychecks. If you get with a divorce attorney, your attorney can get a “status quo” order, which then requires your husband not to spend any sums of money without clearing it with the court and your attorney. The court can order that he has to provide you with a certain dollar amount each week that you can put in your own account and spend as you want as you go through the divorce process and they can order him to continue paying all the household expenses.”

Wife: “Divorce process! I just want him to stop what he is doing and let us go back to our old life. I love him and the life we have. I don’t want to have joint custody of our son, I don’t want to see my son every other week, I want to see him every day! We would have to sell our home, and even if I could keep it in the divorce I would have no way to make the payments even with child support and alimony from him. I don’t want half my life, I want all my life – the way it was! Can’t you or another police officer tell my husband to stop doing these things and we can still stay married? Can we have a judge order him to take me on dates, upgrade the kitchen, put his money back in our joint account and stop asking me for sex? My girlfriends at work told me what he is doing is domestic abuse and is illegal – that means you can stop him right and force him to stop doing all this right?”

Officer: “Um- no sorry no one can do that for you. I don’t mean to get in your personal affairs mam, but it sounds like you have quite the dilemma, there is an old saying “You can’t have your cake and eat it too”. You have to make a choice, either work out the sexual issues with your husband and make your marriage work, or divorce him and try and find a man who believes as you do, that whoever wants sex the least determines how often a married couple has sex.”

© The frustrated feminist wife. Biblicalgenderroles.com (2015)

Church Bully & Pastor Protection Program

There is a particular stereotype whenever any scandal or issue involving a Pastor and a member of a Church creeps up in many of our churches throughout the world. That stereotype is that the pastor is always right and the member’s only motive is to destroy.

The entire Christendom switches into a “Pastor Protection” default: the Pastor is the saint who’s above reproach and the member an agent of the devil who’s allowing himself or herself to be used to destroy or cause division within the body of Christ.

Well, it appears God has favorites who are always the “men of God” and He cares nothing about His sheep, who must always be put down, shamed and suffer Church abuses in silence. Perhaps, that’s surely no intention of God and He actually sanctions no such unfair treatments within the body of Christ.

It’s sad that we see scandals being committed by the people we hold out and place confidence in as “men of God” everyday and we continue to rather protect them and not call them out. Many times, we the victims are rather forced into a culture of silence or take “let God fight my battle for me” stances and bottle up our pains at the expense of protecting the reputations of these abusive men of God and never realizing that the only thing that achieves is the liberty and emboldenment it gives them to abuse or prey on other innocent and unsuspecting lives.

If you have ever come close to being sexually abused or violated as a woman by a man of God who you see as a father figure or hold in high esteem, you would never love the experience or the psychological damage it leaves with you for the rest of your life, yet alone wish a fellow woman or sister to shelve her torment and not call out a sex offender who doubles as a man of God.

Me as a man can never even forget the traumatizing experience of someone very close to me who came near to being raped or violated by a “Pastor friend of the family” who she looks up to as a brother or father figure, such that I boil inside anytime I hear his name come up, let alone imagine the mental state of the person who actually survived the ordeal. Too many times it keeps coming into my mind and I keep telling myself, I don’t know how long I can keep this Pastor person’s identity protected, even though he actually didn’t succeed in the act (or so I have been told) and would surely one day blow his cover if I should actually hear of any similar act by him. Only God knows how many people his so called “moment of weakness” actually prevailed against or whether it actually was a one-time unsuccessful stunt; nobody knows, but the mind never forgets these things.

So, yes, I can never trust any human being, even a man of God as a “Saint”; and I resent it when people just jump to the defence of men of God caught in scandals and outrightly label their accusers as agents of division. You think God doesn’t love the victim as much as the alleged offender? Why must anybody’s word against a man of God be shot down even before it even leaves their mouth as if these leaders of our Churches can never perpetrate any evil?

Perhaps Busola Dakolo’s claims against the Senior Pastor of COZA, Biodun Fatoyinbo, may be untrue; but I sure agree with her words that God has no favorites. We are all God’s Children and stand equal before His saving grace. He loves us all the same and must give us all equal hearing. The Church must not teach us otherwise! These are surely dangerous times when you expect Church leadership to show good morals and not play cover ups that makes God look unfair and unjust.

We preach equality before the laws of the land but never before Christ. Unless the Church wants to tell us it is an Animal Farm where “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”. The fact that we would even want Pastors’ images or reputation protected in the church irrespective of the wrongs they actually perpetrate or are accused of is even sickening.

©Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2019