I wonder how the men of precolonial Africa would have managed. If the dressing I see in movies about our past, or the dressing I see at the enactments of cultural dancing is anything to go by, it must have been a hell of a time for menfolk. Simply put, the indecent dressing angle some of us are so keen to read into rape in absolute hogwash. Our ancestors dressed so indecently that they sometimes forgot to cover anything at all! A few years ago, there was talk of a tribe up North where boobs are bared for all to see! If GEJ’s administration had any sense, it would find that location and make it a tourist attraction. Never would talk of foreign reserves frittered away arise. Never!
So what exactly is indecent dressing? Even if one could somehow manage – and the emphasis is on “manage” here – to define indecent dressing as baring body parts that should otherwise be left to wild imaginations, how would one frame this around the context of rape? Apart from places where Sharia Law has been implemented, in which book of laws is indecent dressing a crime punishable by forceful violation? If every last woman in the world wore boxes for clothes, some men would still rape; what then is the justification for indecent dressing as a cause for rape? It is as much an excuse for rape as “it is the work of the devil” is an excuse for crime. Blame anybody and anything but the perpetrator. Such fatuity.
However, we must also not throw reason to the dogs when reacting. A young man wrote a genuinely sickening op-ed that was granted webtime and webspace on YNaija. The debate rumbled on and moved from the state of the writer’s psyche to the right of the writer to express held opinions to the right-to-publish of YNaija.
This is my submission: We must not discourage people from identifying positions such as his on hotly contested issues. There are many men (and would you believe it, women) who hold this erroneous belief. Expression is the first step in rehabilitation. If we discourage people from expressing their views on issues like half the world has done to this guy, then we have an even bigger problem.