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LifeStyle of Sunday, 29 August 2021


These four things can also be considered as rape

Rape does not always involve physical struggle between two persons. Bruises are not sometimes left. Rape does not always involve physical struggle between two persons. Bruises are not sometimes left.

Consent is very important when it comes to sex. The act must be between two consensual adults who have come to a mutual understanding and know what they want. That is why in Ghana, the laws require a person 16 years and above to give her consent in other to have carnal knowledge.

Rape is not gender-based. Anyone, male or female, can be a potential rapist or predator. It does not necessarily have to always be a physical struggle to penetrate.

A man forcefully having sexual intercourse with a woman is as common as a woman having non-consensual sex with a male. The only difference is, a lot of men in our society have been conditioned that it is not “manly” to complain, report, or even talk about issues that bother them.

This is based on the notion that they might be victimized, scorned, or even termed less a man.

As a result, they bottle up such bad experiences and end up struggling with mental health issues and toxicity.

Here are some acts or behaviors that can be considered rape without necessarily involving any physical struggle:

1. Gaslighting; This is a form of manipulation, often psychological, that is used to control a person. This type of manipulation occurs when they know your weakness and how much you care about them so they take advantage of you.

Saying no to them even with valid reasons seems almost impossible because they say things or act in ways that make you feel bad and question your worth and yourself. They usually do not consider your feelings at all no matter how valid they are.

2. Coercion or threat or blackmail: If you constantly have to convince someone to sleep with you need to take a step back and work on yourself. Adults know what they want and do not need to be told over and over again after they say no. Some people even go from coercion to threats and blackmail causing their victims to surrender at their own will.

They use their positions to threaten their victims or often some type of leverage like nude photos or some type of secret of their victims. This is very common among boyfriends and girlfriends, teachers/lecturers and students, religious leaders and their congregations, etc.

3. Drugs or alcohol: Because these rapists know that victims have the tendency to resist or fight them in the cause of the struggle, such predators mostly lace the victim's food or drink with drugs or an aphrodisiac.

Alcohol compromises a person's sense of reasoning and makes it difficult for them to even remember the assault.

4. Rape apology: This refers to the ideas, opinions, and arguments suggesting that rape is excusable in some circumstances and that victims are to be blamed. In this case, rape apology does not mean a sign of regret but an act of constantly defending a rapist or the act. The most common of such excuses is "she/he was dressed provocatively." You may not have raped someone but constantly defending rapists and their acts facilitate and enable rape culture. Toxic masculinity enables rape. Women are targeted and expected not to say no. It also praises men for being able to conquer women whiles men are praised for taking advantage of them.

Meanwhile, Eugenia Baffour Bankoh, a rape survivor, an advocate for sexual abuse, and the founder of the Safe Space Foundation, stated in an interview with Voice of America (VOA) that a lot of women live the reality of their problem every day because they live with their abusers or rapists.

This is because the police or justice system does little or nothing to protect them. Her comments were after she led a protest in Accra for violence in September 2019.

“There’s a problem with how the media focuses on the victims more than the perpetrators. You find that when it comes to these situations it is very rare for you to find information about pedophiles or sexual assault perpetrators but as soon as a little child/girl is raped they don’t mind putting out her picture, her videos, her information for everybody. It’s like an obsession with rape but not necessarily about the person who did it but the person it happened to and that puts them in a place of stigmatization…so now we shift our focus from the people who we’re supposed to actually deal with…,” she told TV3’s Berla Mundi on the ‘Late Afternoon Show’.

Eugenia Baffour Bankoh’s observations to a large extent prove that if there are no bruises to prove the abuse it will probably mean that it happened to due blackmail, gaslighting, or getting drugged which may trigger rape apologists to blame the victim for “dressing provocatively “or going to that friend’s house and drinking/eating.”