A few weeks ago, I had a discussion about what rape is. Can a woman be accused of being at fault because she was raped? Does her behaviour can give a man a good reason to rape her? Does the fact that men « cannot refrain themselves » mean that women should always be careful with them? Can anything justify rape?
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I do not think so. I do not think any woman deserves to be raped, no matter what she did. I will never be for any man raping any woman on this Earth. Please, bear that in mind while reading this text.
Yesterday night I heard about Epie, a Cameroonian man who raped a young woman, taped it and posted it on social media before leaving the country. He is supposedly in Dubai now, from what I read on social media. The hashtag #FindEpie is trending among the Cameroonian Twitter community, and people ask for him to be punished for what he did. I totally agree with them. Epie should be found and pay for his crime: he should apologize publically to this young woman just as he publically disgraced her, and be jailed for a very, very long time.
Though the « Epie case » was the one that inspired this text, its focus is not on that story. What I want to talk about is how far narratives can take people. What I want to talk about is how « trending fights » can sometimes make the mass lose sight of what is good or bad.
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I wish to repeat this before going further. Nothing can justify rape on this Earth.
A few centuries ago, it was all about men. They were kings in every domain and since women were historically and religiously created after them, they were supposed to come second, or even better, not to come at all. They had to fight restlessly and even to the cost of their lives to make their voice heard, to be granted basic rights, to earn respect and to be emancipated in communities and societies. Gender issues are central to everything today. Women deserve everything they acquired through these fights and even more.
Nonetheless, the movements born from these battles and the narrative associated to them should not rewrite the same script with a different cast.
The French writer Audrey Pulvar was criticised yesterday morning on Twitter because she said she was against the communitarianism born from fights against racism. Black people were ostracized for centuries and still are, so now some of the movements promoting them tend to be against White people or to ban them from their events. They seem to do exactly what was done to them without realising it because they do it for their emacipation.
This is exactly what I want to pinpoint. The fact that fights for freedom can sometimes lead to the reproduction of what is fought against. Men were untouchable no matter what they did. Women were to blame. Always. No matter what they did or did not do. Today, they became untouchable, to the point that it is now delicate to rise a bad deed from them. One can be accused of being disrespectful or being against women to be recognised as human beings with full potential, just as men.
What we teach today to our daughters, sisters, mentees or whatever is they are untouchable no matter what they do. Because of emancipation. Men do not have the right to molest them, so everything they do will go unseen because everybody will always point fingers at men. Epie raped a woman, taped it and posted on social media. Before he raped her, they had a discussion. The woman took money from him for whatever reason and he felt swindled. He called her, promising more money, and she ran to him.
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I know people will throw stones at me but the question has to be asked: why is it that virtually no one questioned her behaviour. Does her being raped cancels the fact that as a young woman, she used her beauty to swindle a man? Let me repeat this once again. Nothing justifies rape. Never. But highlighting a bad behaviour while silencing another one makes it look like the silenced one is ok.
Men should not rape. Women should not hide behind the false pretense that historical fights for their emancipation justify everything they do. The first time I said this, I was accused of being for rape. I am not for rape. Rape has nothing to do with this since it should not be considered as punishment for women’s behaviour. The problem is rape tends to overshadow scourges virtually no one addresses.
I am not for rape. I am for educating everyone, be they boys or girls, men or women, when it comes to what is good and what is bad, when it comes to human values. Centuries of molestation does not justify reckless behaviour and bad deeds because of emancipation. Let’s demand for what we can uphold ourselves.
Epie should be found and punished. The young woman should be found and educated on the values she should stand for as a woman. She, just as every woman, should be educated on the fact that emancipation does not mean immunity.