All women have to deal with men not understanding the word ‘No’

Wednesday August 12 2015

By ABIGAIL ARUNGA
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If you weren't with Morris when the audio clip was being recorded, you can't possibly know what really happened. So what did happen?

There has been a clip going round, passed on from WhatsApp thread to WhatsApp thread in a starkly dire perpetuation of rape culture.

Rape culture is a culture in which rape is allowed to thrive and enabled by the actions of people in society, and phrases like "she asked for it", as if people generally desire assault and violation.

I first heard it in my house, when my neighbour came by to play me the "joke". We both had not heard the clip, but had seen the furore it was causing on social media sprouting jokes and memes galore that spoke of "Mollis" being the "ultimate man" and how everyone should "sallenda".

Of course, we were curious. Kenyans, especially Kenyans on Twitter, have the propensity to be hilarious and take everything way too far, which is a big part of the hilarity. He played the clip, and it got dark really quickly.

At the beginning, it sounds like people having intercourse or rather, a man talking about having intercourse. There are muffled sounds of protest from the woman before she seems to acquiesce.

It starts to get ugly. The woman is either crying or drunk you can't really tell and she keeps crying about being tired. She keeps saying she has surrendered. 

"Mollis" doesn't stop.

Now, I was not present when it happened, and neither were the Kenyans making memes and writing articles about men's sexual prowess.

What I do know, on a deeply visceral and immediately identifiable level, is that that woman did not sound like she wanted to be there. In fact, at the beginning, it sounds like she is saying, "Unajua unanirape saa hii" (Do you know you are raping me right now?).

Maybe she isn't. But hearing that woman took me back to everything that being a woman in 2015 (!) means.

'PEOPLE YOU KNOW'

All women have to deal with men not understanding the word "NO", whether it is in the form of pushing them away, or saying ‘stop’, or saying you have a boyfriend so that they leave you alone in the club (because some men only respect other men).

All women have had the experience of having to get out of situations they didn't even know they were getting into, just because they possess a vagina – no matter how many times you state or show your discomfort.

All women have had to stave off unwanted attentions from the opposite sex, and sometimes even bear condemnation and victim shaming from within our own sex who still think this in sexist way that you are a slut if you sleep with more than one man (or God forbid, more, and before marriage).

That wearing certain things allows abuse. That doing certain activities or walking at certain times is an invitation to crazy rapists, who need no more urging than your presence, let alone your miniskirt.

Don't get it twisted. Sure, try not to put yourself in danger or hang out with strangers. Don't leave your drink alone, and so on. But make no mistake: the number one cause of rape is rapists, and statistics show that more often than not, rape is committed by people you know.

Also, rape happens in the daytime as well, across all ages and during all seasons.

MEN CAN STOP

Reactions to the "Mollis" clip have been both varied and disturbing. One radio station actually played the clip live. On air! On daytime radio!

I heard some saying Mollis is ‘the man’. Implying that a man is the man because he doesn't stop when a woman is tired is nonsense to me. Sex is supposed to be a healthy, mutual, consensual part of life.

If one party isn't enjoying themselves, how is it still enjoyable? If one party says no, or withdraws consent, it is rape from there on out.

Women need to own their bodies and understand that it is ok to say ‘no’ at any point during the sexual act: before, during, right before the end...at any time.

The thought that a man can be so controlled by his hormones at his most base level (another excuse I read) is laughable and reduces men to masses of Neanderthal meat, functioning without thought or consideration.

Men are perfectly capable of stopping sex. I think to get by on the biological fallacy that a man can't control himself is an insult to the species and the intelligence of said species.

A woman doesn't have to say "stop" for you to stop. Be a considerate partner. Notice her reactions.

Or, maybe you don't give a damn, in which case nothing should be coming out of your pants until you learn basic human behaviour.

How is sex fun if someone is crying (unless you're into that sort of thing, which should have been discussed and understood earlier)?

RAPISTS CAUSE RAPE

This seems glaringly obvious to me, but what I have seen on the Internet lately has made me question whether Kenyans know these facts. So, just to clarify once more, so that we are all on the same page:

  • We know that rape culture is still very present, and making jokes like 'I was raped by that exam' or passing around memes concerning surrendering to things makes it even more alive and well.  

  • Considering what rape actually is, an exam can't do that to you and your saying that is hugely, insensitively downplaying the psychological, physical and emotional effects rape has, as opposed to a math paper you didn’t study for.

  • Rape isn't a joke. It doesn't matter whether she invited him over. It doesn't matter whether she wanted it. It doesn't matter that he didn't think she was serious or worthy to be listened to. It doesn't matter that they had done it before.

  • It doesn't matter that she wanted to stop in the middle, if indeed she did. It doesn't matter what she was wearing or what time it was.

Can you imagine how she feels hearing this clip, if she didn't know it was being distributed round like those one-bob sweets at supermarkets? What if this, literally, kills her?

Like I said the number one cause of rape is rapists, and passing that audio clip around is enabling them. You are giving them the go-ahead and repeating her shame for all those clips, whether it is a sex tape or silly police taking pictures of under-age girls' private parts (which is an entirely other disturbing story all together).

What matters, more than what you think, is what the victim thinks and feels. Allowing rape, mocking it and sharing it is just as bad as being the rapist.