ONE- I was at a University party. I was not a heavy drinker in those days, but since I was surrounded by classmates in a friend’s hostel, I was feeling safe. Having become too intoxicated to move to the next stage of the party, my friend Bob (not real name) told our classmate Peter (not real name) to take me to his (Bob’s) room. Peter deposited me onto Bob’s bed and locked the room. My jeans and knickers were removed while I put up a very drunk feeble fight. Thankfully events did not transpire to their full conclusion as Bob started banging on the door loudly for Peter to open up. I covered myself up in a blanket so Bob could not see my new state of undress.
I did not report Peter because I feared it was my fault for being drunk.
TWO- I was in a discotheque, smoking a cigarette, when a waitress warned me it was not allowed. I put it out. Five minutes later, a bouncer came and threatened to beat me up for smoking. When I looked for a manager to report him, the other male bouncers reported ME to him. These were the same male bouncers who had stood by while he hurled me against the wall, flung me down the stairs out of the club and ordered me to ‘come back bitch!’.
I did not report the bouncer because I feared the police would judge me for smoking and drinking.
THREE– I was on my way home. It was 10.00 pm. Two men stopped me and grabbed each of my arms. I begged them to let me go, and they leered at me. I yelled at a teenager passing by and asked him to help me. The men told him to ‘mind his own business or face fire’. The teenager run away. The men begun tugging me in a direction I was unaware of as I struggled to free myself. A boda boda man passing by stopped and rode in our direction. They let me go and I run. One of them chased after me. I turned around and saw him raising his foot. I run faster but succumbed to the heavy kick my would-be rapist had just delivered to the small of my back. I hit the ground, cutting myself on stone.
I was afraid I’d brought this on myself because it was late and I was out alone.
How many of these stories would you like to hear? There’s always a reason a woman can be blamed for being sexually assaulted, isn’t there?
Why do I want Ronald Kibuule to resign?
Because, like many male friends of mine, he preaches the doctrine that you should be ‘careful’ to avoid being assaulted. If what had happened to me in occasion THREE had happened at three in the morning, it would have been my fault because-you guessed it. I was out at three in the morning. People say that if you’re going to be raped, it’s much better if you can be absolutely sure you took all precaution to prevent it.
Rape has nothing to do with a woman’s dress code. It is not right to make a woman feel that she, or her clothes, are the reason for a man’s violation of her body, without her consent.
If you read my stories above, you will see that I already second-guessed myself and suspected I had done something to bring this violence on myself. Now I know different. It’s only because I have a vagina.
That’s all. I have a vagina.
The time has come to shift the focus from the victims to the perpetrators. The time has come to not tolerate, to the smallest degree, men who say you ‘asked for it’ because you dressed wrong or drunk too much.
Accidents happen. A woman- because she is human, not because of her vagina- will get drunk, she’ll trust the wrong person, and she’ll entice someone with her hot pants. But it’s not the woman’s fault if she gets raped. It’s the man who raped her. Kibuule’s statements have released a torrent of understanding and support from Ugandan men who don’t understand why women are so angry. Who don’t see why we can’t take his ‘advice’ to heed. I want you to know I drafted the petition demanding Kibuule’s resignation, not only because he is a poor excuse for a Minister, but mainly because he thinks like these men. Men like this need to be seen and not heard. Men like this do not deserve to have public voices.
That is why Kibuule must be forced to resign.
But in the meantime, ladies, do remember:
When a man strokes your arse in the street, remember-it’s your fault you have a vagina.
When a guy grabs you in your little dress at a concert-it’s your fault you have a vagina.
When a man tries to rape you outside a club-well, darn it, who the hell told you to have a vagina?
Someone’s got to pay. May as well be the owner of the vagina.
Editorial Note: This post was revised on Sept 28th at 1:06p.m (Ugandan time) to strike out a reference that was made to suggest that rape occurred for various reasons. Mon maintains that there is no reason for rape- none that is acceptable in this space, at any rate.