Home OPED OPINION Rapists And Their Apologists

Rapists And Their Apologists

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By Olukorede Yishau

Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph

— Haile Selassie

Today I write about a group of men who relish ignoring leprosy and concentrating their energy on curing ringworm. Day in, day out, one mad man or the other sees a girl, loses what is left of his senses and pounces on her to satisfy his devilish sexual urge. In several cases, the victims are ladies, but there are myriad cases where the victims are minors— babies who are still trying to understand this life and before they do, they have fallen victim to sick souls who are nothing but well-dressed lunatics. And as though they have won medals, they have supporters who labour to help them twist facts on its head. But, the incontrovertible truth is: They are rapists!

These rapists are not only street urchins, they are not only hooligans, they are not only secondary schools boys or undergraduates; they are also men whose standing in the society will never let you suspect them. They are business owners, they are priests who dish out fiery messages against the devil from their pulpits, they are step-fathers, they are biological fathers, they are teachers who are supposed to impart knowledge, they are Pentecostal pastors in designer suits, they are uncles, they are mummy’s or daddy’s friends and they can be just anybody.

The priests and the pastors among them use their position of influence to advantage. They pretend as though they want to heal their victims of some conditions or deliver them from some evil spirits or offer some counselling sessions. They hardly just pounce; instead, they bait and pounce eventually. This group, because of their position of influence, has a ready army to fight for them when their secret is left out. The victim is tagged a devil’s agent, among others.

And when the aggressor is a celebrity, it is a different kettle of fish. Social media is taken over by those for and against. Decorum is thrown out of the window and truth is stood on its head and emotions take the position of sense and sensibility.

A Nollywood actor, James Olanrewaju, better known as Baba Ijesha, is in the police net for assaulting a minor. A CCTV footage confirms the accusation levelled against him. Some sad developments have come up since the news broke. One very disturbing one was the speculation that the victim’s guardian, Princess, who is a popular stand-up comedian and actor, set his colleague and friend because she was angry he dated her and dated her ward. Apologists have been doing all in their ability to dress Baba Ijesha in the wrong garb. The truism of the relationship between Princess and Baba Ijesha is immaterial to the case at hand. The questions for resolutions are: Did Baba Ijesha inappropriately touch the girl in question? Is the age of consent? Commissioner of Police Hakeem Odumosu offers answers: “It is true the victim was defiled seven years ago, but the present case at hand is a case of sexually being assaulted. The Baba Ijesha case is in two aspects, one, he was alleged seven years ago of defiling the girl, now she’s 14 years, as at this time there is no complaint, but now a video was seen where he was sexually assaulting the girl. When a man touches a woman where he’s not supposed to, it is an indecent assault to which the suspect admitted that he assaulted the girl. That was done without her consent and that is an offence in the law. But the case of defilement added to it is still under investigation. He also admitted to assaulting the girl, but pleaded for forgiveness from the girl’s parents.”

Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice Moyosore Onigbanjo, after due consideration of the case file forwarded to the Directorate of Public Prosecution by the police, said it has established a prima facie case against Baba Ijesha. So, Baba Ijesha is to be charged under the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015 for indecent treatment of a child punishable by seven years imprisonment; defilement of a child punishable by life imprisonment; sexual assault by penetration punishable by life imprisonment; attempted sexual assault by penetration punishable by 14 years imprisonment and sexual assault punishable by three years imprisonment.

For me, the issues as spelt out by Odumosu and Onigbanjo are what matters; whatever was between Baba Ijesha, if any, is of no consequence and does not absolve the comedian of guilt and the law should take its pound of flesh. Raising extraneous issues such as this is akin to abandoning leprosy to cure ringworm. Left to these apologists, the so-called existence of a relationship should have made Princess keep shut. For argument, she should even be commended for speaking up despite everything, if there ever was any romantic past between them. This reminds me of my short story in which a girl’s guardian’s man friend was trying to molest her and she dealt him a dirty slap. Her guardian came in, believed her ward and chased out the stupid man from her life.

We also need to get something clear: Never blame the victim of rape. I feel sad when people give excuses for raping. The funny excuses range from the way she dresses and being in the wrong place. These are shameful excuses to give. The way a girl dresses should not bring out the animal in you, except you are an animal already just waiting for an excuse. A victim should never be asked, “what were you doing there?” The victim’s well-being should always come first and every other thing should be secondary. How on earth can anyone fault Miss Iniubong Umoren’s decision to search for a job only to be raped and killed by a sick man and buried in a shallow grave? She did not die because she was careless; she died because she was killed by a man who should rightly take his position among lower animals.

Some clowns are also fond of bringing up the unarguable fact that boys and men are also raped. But, we all know that the percentage of men and boys who are sexually assaulted is bound to pale into insignificance when placed side by side with women, girls and minors who every single day are violently violated.

My final take: Rapists and paedophiles are animals and do not deserve to dwell among the human race. Pets are incomparable to them. Children should be protected from paedophiles and ladies and women should never fall to the evil whims of rapists. Sick people have their place and they should be led there without further ado.

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