Without necessarily regurgitating what has been said over and over again by everyone outraged by the happenings a few years ago that involved school Boys from Ireti high school who attempted or even ended up raping school girls in broad daylight, (I read there was no actual rape involved, hummn) I want to add my voice to this matter.
Thanks to my friend, Jummai Gimba, who tagged me in the post about it; I read and sat down with a sinking heart.
I was worried, I cried and had horrible visions of girls, my own daughter, running, fearing, perhaps not even studying well enough for the exams because of what they knew would happen to them once they were done that final exam day.
Why on earth didn’t these girls mention their fears or report previous incidents to their parents or even the school authorities?
Perhaps they did and nobody paid any attention. I’m guessing they may have witnessed their seniors the previous year who were also raped, since this abhorrent act is said to be a yearly routine. It’s also possible that they have heard stories from the shamed victims, yes, shamed because perpetrators of rape or attempted rape are the heroes we hail in this decadent society of ours. We don’t expose them, they are our brothers and uncles and fathers and family friends and they were pushed to rape because they are weak and so we must feel sorry for them, rather than shame them. We prefer to blame the victim of their crimes as being the loose woman or manipulative child who provoked the rape.
After reading the piece recounted by Michal Matthew, I called my partner who I gave charge of my son as I was away in Canada; I wanted to know if he knew where the boy was, as he had also finished WAEC exams that day.
My son, of course, didn’t attend Ireti high, still, I put myself in another’s shoes and asked, Peju have you done your homework on this boy?
Have you ensured he would never participate in any such act, either actively or passively?
Can you thump your chest and say, he belongs to the class of men, who will say ‘No, rape should never be justified’ and fight for women who are victims of violence as well as stand against perpetrators like Michal Matthew did?’
So I kept calling home, of course, because of the time difference, even though my son had finished his exams and was already home. Where else would he have been anyway?
How many of us, mothers, sisters, uncles, fathers, relatives can say, without any iota of doubt, that my son, or nephew or ward will never support, nor stand by, nor egg on acts as demonstrated by some boys from Ireti Grammar school?
Everyone outraged by the flagrant abuse displayed by the Ireti High school boys asked for the heads of the parents of these boys.
Charity isn’t the only thing that begins at home; good manners, empathy, integrity, leadership qualities and skills…all come from home. Are we inculcating these values in every boy child in our circle of influence?
Yes, I know, boys will be boys; they’ll fight and ‘play rough’ and dare to do the dangerous but most importantly, they must be taught to value other people’s spaces, respect the woman in their lives and honour strong family values while upholding basic tenets of life. We owe this to ourselves, first and the children we have influence over.
Are fathers, and by that, I’m not talking about sperm donors, those men who are never responsible towards their kids, the types who think its blackmail to pay their children’s school fees, not these jerks.
The real men are my focus today; the responsible types – who put food on the table, clothes on the backs of their wards, men who are the fathers even when they may not be biologically linked to these children.
After all you’ve done guys, you need to raise that boy well; raise that boy who calls you dad or uncle, ‘broda’ or papa; teach him good values!
I don’t know if any parent will applaud a rapist son, I hope not but our sons must know we will never stand up for bad behaviour; that we will never support them when they do wrong and especially when proven so.
I tell my son, ‘Don’t get into trouble, however, if you do, call me first!’
Let me be the one to deliver the first slaps that resets the brain of errant kids, the first tongue to lash out and cut you to chewable bits. And because he knows how painful these can get, he gets worried when I show up unannounced at his school to talk to his teachers and house masters who all have my number and have been instructed to call me if my boy gets involved in bad behaviour.
He knows if he does wrong, I’ll embarrass him right in front of the whole school. I have threatened to and I have done it once, just to let him know I won’t stand for any sereren.
Will he be perfect despite all of these?
I hope so but I know he won’t’ be. He’ll fall and he’ll rise again. He’ll make silly mistakes and take bad decisions for instance, in selecting of friends; but hopefully, he’ll get wise quickly to know the difference.
But perfect or not, boys must know that it is not okay to rape or force themselves on an unwilling female; it is a crime!