ULIMWENGU: Naked acts of evil men: We all have been socialised to devalue and denigrate women

Wednesday October 16 2019

Me too MOVEMENT

A picture shows the message "Me too" on the hand of a protester during a gathering against gender-based and sexual violence at the Place de la Republique square in Paris on October 29, 2017. PHOTO | BERTRAND GUAY | AFP 

JENERALI ULIMWENGU
By JENERALI ULIMWENGU
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In what must be seriously embarrassing exposure, some Nigerian and Ghanaian university lecturers have been caught with their pants down, literally speaking.

After an undercover operation mounted by the BBC, the whole world now knows how the so-called sex-for-grades system works at supposedly elite universities in these two countries, although, to be sure, it must hold for practically all our countries and college systems.

Caught on camera, these Nigerian and Ghanaian dons could have no other possible explanation except that they were involved in naked (sic) acts of sexual harassment in apparently something that is done on a regular basis in their institutions.

One of them is seen and heard telling a young woman how the practice is widely engaged in by professors and students or would be students. He tries to entice her into coming with him to the so-called ‘‘cold room,’’ which apparently is the venue for such escapades involving professors and their easy conquests.

It is reported that one of the victims of these humiliating propositions has contemplated taking her own life because of the shame she feels about what happened to her. Likely she was compromised into a sexual relationship she now feels rotten about.

Of course there is a power relationship at play here. Girls most susceptible to fall into this game are usually ones who have rendered themselves vulnerable because they choose the easy way through their studies: They either aspire to college admission without having met the criteria for such admission or want to get good grades without having to work as hard as they should. Robert Nesta Marley said it in Pimper’s Paradise: ‘‘Every need got an ego to feed.’’

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The don who was taken out by this research at Lagos University is also some kind of lay preacher, and said to have been busy prepping his next sermon while fondling one of his victims, in a brazen demonstration of what our ‘‘men of God’’ have become, or what they are intrinsically.

From the scriptures handed down to us from Jewish mythology we are required to understand—though I beg to differ most violently—that women have to be punished for the evils they have committed in transgressions against their men.

This goes as far back as Eve of that most misogynic of stories about that lady conversing with a snake, from which causerie we have suffered to this day.

Sometimes I wonder how a large chunk of humanity actually accepted this story to be the story of their mother. You would normally think that a sensible human being would not accept any story that paints his mother as weak-minded and fickle. But somehow we have accepted this story, because denigrating women sits well with humans.

Every time you venture into Judeo-Christian religious fields you will be confronted with this most unfortunate degradation of the female of the species.

You can take your pick, from Salome of the Nine Veils—the nemesis of John the Baptist—through Delilah, the destroyer of Samson, to the Great Harlot of Revelation.

When they are not being reviled, women have been exploited for the basest instincts of male sexual gratification. All the media affecting our thinking are calibrated to socialise us into accepting a certain stereotypical way of looking at women, and many a time we respond to women and women’s issues the way our great grandfathers’ great grandfathers were socialized. And in this, women are seldom different than men.

Happily, we are afforded a glimmer of hope by actions by some societies in women’s behalf, such as the #MeToo campaign in the US, which involved mainly women, but others which have brought in men as well, such as the recent student mass protests against sexual violence on women on South African campuses.

Now we have these campus rapists, for that is what they are, displayed in the public glare, and the authorities have been quick to act. It is to be hoped that other colleges and similar institutions will take similar steps to reign in this most obnoxious species of predator.

We ought to commend the BBC for this revelatory reportage, which our tame media organisations are too timid to attempt although it is very well known that these shameful acts are rampant in our colleges and other institutions.

Jenerali Ulimwengu is chairman of the board of the Raia Mwema newspaper and an advocate of the High Court in Dar es Salaam. E-mail: [email protected]

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