The dictionary definition of rape culture is a society or environment whose prevailing social attitudes have the effect of normalizing or trivializing sexual assault and abuse.
Some people truly don’t understand the meaning of rape culture. They think it’s normal to joke about raping women or to not tell their friends off when they talk about doing it or when they actually do it.
How Kenyan Men View Rape
Unfortunately, in Kenya, rape culture has been normalized to the point where men joke about raping women and expect us women to laugh at those jokes with them.
Far too often in this country do we see young and old ladies getting raped and sexually harassed by men and they’re expected to not report or do anything about but just live with the pain and trauma and get over it.
Social Media Reactions To Rape
Recently, we heard about Capital FM radio presenter Joe Muchiri saying that he wishes a certain lady would get f*cked with a cactus simply because she did not want to vote for Nyashinski to win an EMA. After his message went viral, he was extremely unapologetic and said he wouldn’t apologize and no one could do anything to him.
It’s sad that a grown man can make such a comment in a Whatsapp group that has women and think that he’ll get away with it. It’s sad that in a group with so many members, none of the men spoke up to tell him his comments are wrong and he should take his words back.
Too often the word “rape” is used loosely and thrown around as if it’s nothing. “This exam raped me” or “I hope you get raped by a [insert animal name here]” are phrases you may have heard being used around you.
In another case, blogger Cyprian Nyakundi wrote “who would want to rape … her?” about Kiss FM presenter Adelle Onyango. Ironically, this was after she tried to raise awareness of rape culture in the country. As Adelle correctly stated in her lengthy response to his message, rape is not about looks, it’s about power.
AJ+ once made a brief video on elderly women getting raped by young boys in a slum in Nairobi. Do you think those boys found those ladies attractive? Of course not, they just knew they’d be easy to dominate and overpower. Some could obviously be widows with no husbands to defend them.
It’s not until their sisters or cousins or girlfriends go through the experience of getting raped that they understand the emotional implications of rape.
Once rape occurs, the lady is blamed. Her dressing, her being drunk, her behavior and who she hung around at the time must be the reasons why she got raped. Girls are always told not to show too much skin and not to go out at night but boys are never taught not to rape. Rape is a man’s decision. He sees a lady and goes to harass her, a lady cannot ask for rape. Why would a lady ask for rape? If a lady asks a man for sex, that’s okay because he’s gotten her consent. People need to stop making it seem like a woman getting violently attacked by a man and forced to let him have his way with her without her consent is the lady’s fault. It’s not. I don’t see why this is so hard for people to get.
We should not pardon or excuse or let slide ignorance like Nyakundi’s about rape.
Tell your friends what’s right and what’s wrong. Why would you happily associate with a criminal? Yes, rape is a crime for which you can and should be jailed. Unfortunately in this country, it’s not taken as seriously as it should be.