THE THING BETWEEN OUR LEGS: ON EXPLORING THE NEVER-ENDING RAPE CULTURE IN AFRICA. (i)

The thing Between Our Legs -Episode 3.

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I remember reading the news on the Miss Curvy Contest Uganda recently, where a Ugandan TV personality popularly known as Anita Fabiola became an ambassador for tourism in Uganda and in a joke battle, marries a Karamajong warrior haha!. The state minister of Tourism, Godfrey Kiwanda, organized this pageant as a way to garner tourism in the country …

Fabiola preparing for Battle
Source: New Vision Uganda
Read Story here

There were a lot of disagreements where women representatives in parliament argued that the miss Curvy Contest allows more room for the objectification of women and that instead of tourism; this minister is promoting sexuality. And a lot of arguments like that. Read Here.

Well, there were also other responses where other ministers argued that the Miss Curvy Contest has nothing to do with women objectification, but it’s rather another beauty pageant, like Miss Uganda or Miss Universe. These people also argued that limiting curvy women from participating in this contest is saying that these women have no rights and that only skinny women should be in pageants. It’s a two-way argument. You can read both cases so as to name your verdict.

Fabiola being taken by her warrior.
Image Source: New Vision Uganda.

Why am I bringing this up? Well, in one of those reports where Anita Fabiola was in Eastern Uganda in Karamoja, a case was narrated where this Karama-Jong warrior chased her like they do traditionally and once he had caught her, he was already dragging her to his hut, with his fellow clansmen in  jubilation, ready to feast on now his wife! In this case, Fabiola is an adult, and a tourism ambassador with protection with his contractors. But in other cases, there are young girls in not only eastern Uganda, but even in central and other parts of the country. Some of these women and girls are subjected to forced marriages because of traditions like these. See this case of a Kenyan Girl here.


A young girl from Kenya’s Pokot tribe weeps as she’s led away from her home by her future husband’s family. Reuters/Siegfried Modola
Image Source: face2faceAfrica.com.

There are also course cases in Africa where tradition allows that once a woman is raped, then she should marry the rapist. In some cases, this is done to protect the girl’s family from shame and in other cases; society dictates that it’s the woman’s fault. Again, – the blinding (usually unquestioned) slogan of ‘family over everything’. Covering up for the family from shame becomes a burden that the girl child has to carry. This is why some of these men will kidnap a girl and abuse her sexually, and then return her to the family, as their way of marking their territory. They rape you into submission until your family believes you’re too un-pure for anyone else so you should only end up with your assaulter. read here.

In my friend Dave’s explanation during our conversation on rape culture all over the globe, he explains that once the women report that they’ve been raped, they have the initial trauma from rape, then they are emotionally assaulted by the people they report to. Usually if the man is more powerful, other women especially, come out and condemn the abused woman that she’s a prostitute, blackmailer, or gold digger, with an intention of ruining the accused’s reputation.  Read example of Uganda’s Pastor Yiga here.

Image source: Africanews.com

Also, the lawyers, while getting evidence, rape these women again, this time psychologically, by asking them all sorts of questions that actually harass them, and are meant to take them through the trauma again. Why is a society so focused on making the victim believe it’s their fault that they’ve been raped, assaulted, or even subjected to child marriage? Yet obviously, it’s always not!

Image Source: National Compass.Net. India

That aside; what’s the rape culture in your region?  How do people respond to this? Looking at the thing between our legs, we can associate this to all sorts of sexual affairs of not only where we come from, but also around the world. What are the things we see but barely speak about? What are the events happening, that make us question sexuality even without verbalising it? Why is everyone so scared? My friend Oliver was disturbed by the rape Culture in Ghana when he contacted me about the THING BETWEEN OUR LEGS.

The thing between our legs
. Photo Credit – DAVE.

Women and men are raped but they never say anything about it. The weird thing is that very few people talk about it so you might even never know. A person I know was raped as a child. This is a person I have known over five years and despite our friendship and openness about matters concerning sexuality. I was shocked to discover that despite our constant reflections, she’d never mentioned this until only recently.  She said this was done by a certain uncle of hers, and at the time, what would her reporting even change? It’s never that easy if especially you’re staying with your stepmother. (Some of these women have made it their sole responsibility to torture the children they found their husbands with, as they never want to see anything good happen to them and for some reason, the fault would always find it’s what to the child, and the news would even never reach the child’s father.)

Image source: wikipedia

My friend was only about eleven years old, in the shower, when this man walked in, raped her, and left her to deal with her pain and blood flow all alone. Imagine the first step to exploring your sexual journey beginning with an uncle, you have been raped, you can’t even report. Especially in many places in Africa where we grow up in extended families, with everyone experiencing everything but no one is talking about it. Several women and actually men too, go through this every day. They go on day to day with its effect and spend years battling with the traumas this experience left them with. See post on mini skirt laws in Uganda Here.

Image Source: Etsy.com

I have an auntie who was raped by a man in the home she used to go do cleaning services for. She’d been pure then, like tradition says – a virgin. Never seen a man before, raped, and advised to resolve the case within the two families. The same man gave her HIV AIDS, made her pregnant, and only brought three cattle to my grandmother’s house as his way of saying he was sorry for the rape. Imagine three cattle, traded for loss of personal dignity, eternal trauma, emotional baggage, HIV/ AIDS, pregnancy, and a life where she has to be taking tabs for the rest of her life. (No wonder this lady, can’t stand a discussion concerning this. She prefers that we let what’s buried stay buried, and believes that this is the only way she can live without trying to commit suicide or poisoning someone.

ImageSource: AfricaNews.com

Sometimes I sit back and wonder what would only happen if we all sat back, and thought about what eleven minutes of sexual excitement are going to cost us. It’s very easy to fall in the lust trap that I know for sure, and seeing a man or woman, assuming they’re too beautiful or handsome to be HIV/AIDS carriers, is the simplest thing to do. When caught in that heat of the moment, one thinks of nothing but pleasure.

Isn’t it painful that one wild night of sexual pleasure can cost one more than just a moment? It worries me. It breaks me, and for many of us brings a lot of fear. It always makes me think of the film, Dallas Buyers Club.

When I look at the youth, there is especially a trauma in some societies, on confessing that you are Christian, an abstainer, or whatever religious dominion. Most of us are scared that once we say we are abstaining or keeping away from an active sexual life because of our religious beliefs, we are going to be laughed at. We are going to be looked as the docile, the non-risk takers, the most boring people on the universe as even sex, has to be a problem. But what if I told you that some of these religious practitioners, who are very vocal about why they’re living an almost-non sexually active life, are saved from some of these afflictions at a slightly higher percentage than those who have no moral guidelines. Those that are victims, its sometimes because of naivety as yes, there is a certain naivety you’ll find in some religious practitioners. Nevertheless, that’s not why we are here.

I am running this series a way to highlighting sexuality in Africa, and a way of exploring unspoken territories. This includes the rape culture and each time I think about it, I become even more aware that this series is not about to end as every Friday, we are to look at something that we didn’t even know we would get to. I am eager to hear your thoughts on this.

ImageSource: pri.Org

What do you think about sexuality in Africa? What is the rape culture in your country or region? What’s the rape culture at your university? What do you think of this entire series? See Episode 1 and Episode 2 with only once click.  Come on, leave a comment or contact me via the contact option or any of the social media platforms. I would like to know your thoughts on this, and of course, to learn with you. Cheers!

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