Don’t get raped

Written by: Lineo Segoete

What could be as beautiful as a flower (sight), wear the most fragrant aromas as in the early stages of spring (smell), bear the softness and delicacy of a petal (touch), sing the sweetest song under swift and violent breezes (sound), what could it be that is as juicy and delectable as the most ripe fruit born of a flower (taste)?

How do we know tenderness and nurturing? How do we know that healing can come through a presence? How do young boys learn that they should be gentle in their conduct and words?  How do they learn that sometimes you have to keep looking back to check that the person behind you is keeping pace? How do we learn that more than valuing human life, there is more at stake if certain lives are destroyed?

The answer to the above stated is; woman, sister, mother and more titles the female version of God is represented through on this earth. The word ‘woman’ is almost always synonymous with victim, vulnerable, weak. These very attributes are what marks a woman’s strength, yet are the cause that precedes rape as the effect. We live in a society where women are becoming more noticed than they have been historically, a change that evidently causes discomfort to a lot of men.

I say evidently because, a woman will get raped for rejecting the advances of a colleague or boss. She will get raped because she dresses in modest clothing to evade attention, and some man will feel the urge to conquer her. A young girl will get raped by her father because she is his property. She will get raped by her step-father because he puts clothes on her back and she is not his blood therefore he owes her nothing. A little girl will get raped by older boys because she is small and unguarded. A mentally or physically disabled woman and even an old woman too, will get raped because they are helpless and therefore are at the disposal of predators to attack.

Why though? Nature by design, does not dispute that men are physically stronger than women, why do they feel the need to prove it. If a woman shows mental prowess, why not praise her for it, as you would another man? If you feel that your manhood is challenged, why make it her fault? Clearly YOU are the one with the problem.

Do men really consider the extent of conversations among themselves and the seeds they sow? What one may consider a joke, another considers a challenge, a platform to exercise power, a tool to show that women really are worthless. Yes there are some condemnable women out there who deliberately set out looking for trouble, but this is not about them. This is about every woman who has to take self-defence classes because she is constantly hounded by men. This is about women who have to carry Taser guns or pepper spray in their purses, those who have to make phone calls for someone to meet them at the bus stop when they get off because they are too scared to walk alone.

As a woman, can I please enjoy the freedom to indulge in my beauty, without it making me a target? Can I please dress as I wish, without over-active imaginations pointing trouble in my direction? Can little girls please not have their souls destroyed because they are burdened with protecting secrets of those who should be protecting them? Can we please have our godliness respected too, because just like all men out there; we are also made in the Image of the Almighty. We are not lesser beings, we are not belongings or objects, and we are most certainly not content with having to watch over our shoulders everywhere we go. Men, teach other men, as well as your sons and their friends that flowers die when they are picked from their tree, even if you put them in water for a few days. Love, respect and protect women and put an end to rape.

Lineo Segoete is a writer and activist based in Maseru, Lesotho.

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