I woke up with a burst of energy this morning and i decided to put on some music and do some cleaning.
While dusting my bookshelf, my eye fell on this hardcover publication shoved somewhere in the back. I took it out and it was my hardback copy of my final year research project. Circa 2005.
“The Media And Public Attitude Towards Women And Sexual Violence”
That was my project topic to fulfil academic requirements to be able to graduate from the department of Mass Communication, University of Maiduguri.
I remember back in 2005, in a northern conservative environment, it wasn’t an easy subject to research or write. Lecturers and colleagues raised their eyebrows.
My supervisor told me the subject was more suited for the sociology department but I stood my ground and argued my case.
My stance was that, if the media shapes public perception and opinion, thereby changing society, then to make a difference, we must study and show how our internalized prejudices can become harmful and we inadvertently hurt the society we are meant to serve. But I digress.
As I held the publication and flipped through, I realized I was reading familiar words all the way from 2005.
16 years ago
16 years of raising awareness. 16 years of speaking out, campaigning and educating and raising awareness about violence against women. For a lot of women before me, it’s been longer.
From where I’m sitting, I honestly believe enough awareness have been raised. Frankly speaking, I’m tired of raising awareness.
Because the gender that perpetuates violence against women are fully aware of their actions and its effects. They are not oblivious to their misogyny, sexism and the perpetuation of rape culture; rather, they are enamored by the privilege it gives them. Like that famous quote said, “when you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression.”
You’ll know how fully aware they are if you carefully observe their responses when women speak out.
From the deliberate attempts to derail the conversation, shut women up, sabotage women’s movements, the intentional ‘jokes’ about women’s oppression to the deliberate threats of violence and intentional harassment and subsequent gaslighting, you’ll know that awareness is not the problem.
Over the years, I have come to realise that It is not ignorance that make some men commit violence against women, it’s always because they wanted to.
Historically, men have always used violence against women as a means to control and assert forced dominance. Emotional abuse, manipulation and resource control are all part of deliberate violent acts carefully taught and passed down from generation to generation.
You think men do not understand consent or what constitutes harassment? Watch their reaction when another man approaches them suggestively or they even suspect he might approach them. They suddenly understand boundaries and bodily autonomy. They don’t need us to ‘raise awareness’, they know.
Read this story someone posted online recently
Over the years, I have come to learn that men understand consent. They absolutely do. They understand what constitutes as harassment too but their entitlement, need to exert control and the self satisfaction of knowing there will be zero consequences, make them not care.
Violence against women has always been deliberate. It is about power. It is about control. It is the deliberate refusal to accept that women are equal humans deserving of the same dignity, respect and privileges that they have.
Men understand the powerlessness, the sinking helpless feeling of having your agency stripped, your boundaries violated and your safety threatened. That’s why they know enough to use it as a weapon.
Men will continue this narrative of not understanding consent and harassment and continue to commit acts of violence against women so we can keep chasing our tails to ‘teach’ them while living in fear. That is also a well honed weapon; manipulation.
They need that fear. They thrive off of it. A woman afraid is a woman controlled.
So I’m calling bullshit on raising awareness. I’m done teaching.
Right now, I’m about consequences. Retribution. It’s time to pay, and I’ve come to collect.