Just this week or so, the media outlets in my country Nigeria were saturated with news about Rape, more specifically the stories of Uwa Omozuwa, a 22-year-old undergraduate in Edo state who was also physically assaulted and consequently died, and a 12-year-old girl in Jigawa state who for all intents and purposes was serially raped by 11 men. Without a doubt, it was both saddening and disheartening to hear and take to heart.
Rape traditionally has been defined as the act of intercourse with an individual without his or her consent, through force or threat of force. It is a heinous crime. A major symptom of a societal ailment, the curse and the corruption of authority and abuse of power.
At a more fundamental level: It is the imposition of an individual on another without regard or respect for their right, personhood, privilege, identity, and dignity.
At the heart of it, Rape involves taking advantage of the vulnerable, exploiting the weak, or perceived weakness, it is having one’s way at any and all cost with disregard for the price or consequences. This imposition of will and utter disregard for others could manifest as a simple arrest resulting in the loss of life or a man jogging through a neighborhood getting shot.
One reason why I think that some section of the society still blames victims is that at the center of the matter they realize that in pointing fingers at the perpetrators of these acts, they invariably find that they are also pointing fingers at themselves, that when they look the perpetrators in the eye, they see themselves, oppressing and taking advantage of people who they perceive can’t do anything to resist or stop them. We find possibly on the flip side, that they were probably once victims, for which they blame themselves, creating reasons that may not suffice to help deal with the pain.
On some reflection, we realize that as a society we have enabled consciously and unconsciously a culture of oppression and subjugation, a society that offers marginal protection for the vulnerable and the dependants- a stratified construct has been created in which some are more equal than others.
Rape is wickedness, irrespective of the sociodemographic characteristics, no one should be a victim of such. Sadly, it is a major symptom of a pansystemic problem. We must not only lend our voices and efforts to stop rape, but we also need to go further and deal with the root cause- A violation of people’s right, freedom, the privilege to be- that is, we have lost the love that was meant to be the oil that keeps the engine that keeps humanity smooth in it goings. And until this is restored, we’d be engaged with half measures trying to solve a problem whilst ignoring its root cause. There’s a consistent call to restore the culture of love as it was meant and ought to characterize humanity. But how can this happen?
As a society, we need to reorient ourselves, have our minds renewed especially starting with the obvious fault areas. We have been horrible to women, causing them untold hardships, pain, all manner and kinds of marginalization, turning their minds to a canvas of scars, ruins of generations of hellish treatment.
Luke, a beloved doctor once captured the template for how love in humanity was designed to work. He wrote in Luke 10:27:
And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.
The key back to humanity’s fundamental design is shown explicitly: A pervasive love for God and a personal love for others. In this system, the love for God serves as the reference point, and as humanity
aligns with him, we find that we are also brought into alignment with each other. This is well illustrated if you may, by the Zeroth law of thermodynamics which states that if two thermodynamic systems are each in thermal equilibrium with a third one, then they are in thermal equilibrium with each other
It’s safe to say that the answers do not lie with us, for if they did, we’d have figured it out already, but it seems rather, that just when it seems we have taken two steps forward, we realize surprisingly we aren’t even yet on the tracks. The answer then must be sourced from without, from a dimension higher, a realm devoid of our weakness and sickness, yet an embodiment of that which we ought to be, that which we yearn for, that which we so desperately need, we must turn to the author of life. We must turn to the Lord Jesus Christ.
When we love the Lord our God, it becomes seamless and second nature to love others. Any attempt to approach this any other way, without placing the Lord as the reference point will be as effective as trying to make an omelet out of a rock. Evil can only be overcome by good, not good intentions. By good, it is not intended to mean that which makes you feel good, or seems right in your own eyes, but rather, that which is righteous, just, merciful and selfless.