Over the weekend I was invited to be part of an incredibly powerful talk-session around rape culture with a group of truly intelligent and honest ladies. Our host was Adelle Onyango (pictured with me here). She is not just a renowned Radio Presenter or among the BBC 100 women, she sparks conversations that many are afraid to have. She’s honest and that’s refreshing to most and frightening to some. She spoke out on these issues and was insulted although I should say, we all were. All of us in that room and all of us that choose to speak out have been insulted, but we’re raising awareness despite and we have lots more work to do!
So I write this post in solidarity with Adelle Onyango and any other woman or man who has spoken out against rape culture and sexual harassment and instead been victimized or judged. It’s the first of many I intend to write.
If you are mad and accusatory towards someone who has spoken out against rape culture and sexual harassment, you are a part of the problem.
If a woman speaking out against rape turns you into a chest-thumping individual that calls us ‘toxic feminists’, you haven’t understood what masculinity truly means.
If you think we speak out against these issues because we are against men, you don’t get it.
You see, a lot of us are surrounded by good…no, GREAT men. They have fathered us, married us, befriended us, dated us, been born of us, hired us, lead us, followed us, respected us, loved us. So no, we don’t hate men.
We hate that every second of everyday there is a woman somewhere in this world who is being harassed, assaulted, raped and in most cases, the perpetrator is a man. It’s a fact, not a blow at men and masculinity. We have to learn the difference.
This woman is raped into silence, trauma and defeat. Some of these women are too affected to speak and so we will speak for them. You don’t have to like it.
To my sisters and brothers who choose to shed light on these issues and speak out, we stand with you. So speak out but be ready to be attacked savagely, insulted, mocked, judged, laughed at. Every truth you stand for will be reduced to a meme. Those who love you and who you love may also bear the brunt. The nature of those insults will be massively grotesque. So much so that they may shake you but DON’T let them shatter you. Remember…it isn’t you. They’re not hitting out at YOU…
The truth about the mirror is that it never tells a lie. It’s clear, it cuts deep, or reveals scars and wounds just as it does beauty and reverence. Those that hurl these insults and create excuses for why you were victimized or why you’re saying anything, are hitting out at their reflection, which can’t stand to see you in all your empowerment. It’s frightening and confusing, so you’ll be labeled and it may sting. But it isn’t you. It is not you. Malicious people are simply advertising their own self-loathing.
You may backtrack to heal from the pain but don’t forget we still need your voice, so that millions of others may rise up to. We are here if you need us.
As for you…yes, you…don’t laugh at rape. If I were you, instead of meming and demeaning, I would read, I’d get educated and understand the issues, I would look at the women and girls in my life that I love most and realize that they too could be victims.
Rape culture exists because we don’t believe it does.
So let’s start believing it.
October 22, 2017 at 6:13 pm
It’s truly heartbreaking that in 2017 it is still happening. Nonetheless I hope that this won’t shut victims up because our voice is valuable for the sake of our daughters that might come and also for the sake of our son’s too. Thank you Janet for articulating out what we think.
October 22, 2017 at 6:34 pm
Well said Mumbe! It’s a huge concern that people, especially women, are forced to tone down or not speak about their experiences. We must therefore strive to do so, for the sake of those who feel muffled
October 22, 2017 at 6:18 pm
You both are great women & we love you??.I was raised in a very humble background & struggled like any other person to make the ends meet.Life wasn’t soo sweet but thanks God he always came through for us & my family❤.When I joined High school life became harder each day would spend even months without going back to school because of fees,then a family friend offered to help me get busary & on the day i was to go & fill the forms he drugged me,raped me, burned me & threatened me if I ever speak up he will kill me.I kept mum never said a thing to anyone ?I was soo traumatized I din’t know whether am Hiv+ or even paged ??.Have lived with that pain since then seven yrs down the line am still trying to recover?.
Any day i see the scar on my body I break down.Nobody knows the pain until it hits you!Thankyou for always encouraging us Janet?I have found strength in reading encouraging scripts & I don’t feel alone anymore…God bless you & never stop shedding light because some people are dimming it ❤
October 22, 2017 at 6:36 pm
Shiru! My goodness I’m so sorry for your pain! I’m sorry you had to experience that! I’m sending you an email shortly. Stay strong and thank you for finding strength in our words!
October 22, 2017 at 9:26 pm
Hi janet, Truth…Truth…Its the Truth….its high time we men should realize that when ladies or women talk about rape, then they are not attacking us…and they are not being feminist too…its the reality that is out here …many young ladies are being harassed and actually raped. And everyone knows the effects it comes with… So men, lets wake up and do something about this subject… I am sure we can do something.
October 23, 2017 at 1:54 am
I appreciate you for saying that Abdikadir! It takes more men speaking out to truly begin changing the way rape and assault are perceived and discussed. Thanks for being among the many we need to say more!
October 22, 2017 at 10:30 pm
It’s also time our society starts realizing that a victim of sexual assault is never at fault.it does not matter what she was wearing or how she wore her makeup.there is nothing that can be said that can justify the trauma you cause a woman when you refuse to believe she doesn’t want you.. Thank you Janet for being a voice of hope to not only the victims but to us all as women?
October 23, 2017 at 1:52 am
Thank you for that Bibiana and it’s one of the other things I was going to write about soon. We MUST stop making excuses! Thanks again!
October 23, 2017 at 10:24 am
thankyou so much janet for standing up for these people believed to be voiceless atleast you are making it known when we speak about rape it ain’t that we’re hating on men just trying to get it to the society at large there is some uprooting to be done for us to get somewhere…i know what that brutal act means and how it torments for like the rest of an individuals life….its painful really painful
October 23, 2017 at 10:55 am
Thank you for appreciating my post! The more of us that talk the more we’re able to break the silence! Bless
November 14, 2017 at 4:55 pm
Let us not be silent about evil. That’s what makes it spread.
Thank you Janet.