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'You Know I'm Just Joking' by Ayomide Tayo Sugabelly’s story is another sad example of Nigeria’s rape culture

Throughout the weekend, Sugabelly’s story of rape, and sexual abuse at the hands of her then boyfriend Mustapha Audu, and his friends resonated on social media.

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Sugabelly play

Sugabelly

(olorisupergal)
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Within a space of one week, Sugabelly (whose real names are Lotanna Igwe Odunze) went from Twitter troll and a polarizing figure to the poster child of Nigeria’s rape culture.

Throughout the weekend, Sugabelly’s story of rape, and sexual abuse at the hands of her then boyfriend Mustapha Audu, and his friends resonated on social media.

More than ever, her story of anguish and pain allegedly at the hands of someone who she trusted helped bring to the forefront the issue of rape that has been swept under the rug, and spoken about in whispers in our society for far too long.

Sugabelly play

Sugabelly

(Kokofeed)

 

While there has been overwhelming support for Sugabelly, there have been others at the other side poking holes at her story and assaulting her image. I find it utterly disgusting that some people would suggest that a 17 year old girl was asking to be raped, and assaulted by numerous men.

It’s appalling that people would say that Sugabelly who was a teenager was ‘morally loose’, and ‘at fault’ for what happened to her.

This is Nigerian rape culture at its most disgusting level. Why should the victim be placed with the burden of doubt and the accuser automatically believed to be innocent?

We treat rape victims like sluts who begged to be assaulted, and the accused as people we should automatically give the benefit of doubt. I won’t go as far as saying that Nigeria is anti-women but a lot of things do not favour women. How we treat rape victims is one of them.

Mustapha Audu play

Mustapha Audu

(NET)

 

I will be surprised if any police station in Nigeria takes any rape victim in Nigeria seriously. At most the police officers will tell the victim that next time she should dress decently. Nigerian policemen have since stopped being enforcers of justice. They are now beggars with uniforms.

Nigeria is not a country of rapists. Not every Nigerian man is a rapist but if we continue to remain silent then Nigeria is a country of rapists. The time has come for us to empower women not to keep silent because of fear and judgment. It is time for us to cultivate an environment where our girls and women can safely come out and say there were assaulted without fear.

Sugabelly is one of many rape stories in this country. The only difference is that she had enough courage to reveal what happened to her. As a matter of fact she has been speaking about it for a while, I think it’s now we just started listening to her.

Sadly, Nigeria is a country that does not value human life. For us to progress as a society we need to value human life and protect our women. It’s high time we all speak against rape.

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