So I read an article by Njoki Chege on Saturday Magazine on Nation newspaper where she shamelessly blamed women who were assaulted when drunk for putting themselves in a that position.
She says she has no sympathy for these women and I am left baffled by this kind of rhetoric. Is it that Ms. Chege and people who think like her, particularly women, actually assume that being drunk is signing off your body for another person to abuse? do they assume that women are the ones who control if or not they are raped/assaulted and that means that they themselves are safe from such things happening to them, all they have to do is not get drunk? If you can blame a woman for another person committing an act on them then we should start blaming all other crimes on the victim and not the victimiser? I mean instead of blaming a gun robber who targets motorists on Nairobi streets let’s blame the motorists who were driving with their windows open.
We should obviously all take precautions to mitigate the chances of becoming victims but that is not because we are to blame when we fall victim but because nobody deserves to be a statistic or a victim of a crime. I will consciously avoid certain parts of the city where criminality is rife but if I go to those places and I am attacked I am not to blame for it, the criminal bears all the blame for their action nobody else.
There is an amazing amount of sexism/misogyny that allows a woman to blame another woman for their assault. When a woman gets drunk the only blame she ought to suffer is from herself for the effects of alcohol on her system and her body.
The kind of victim blaming expressed by Njoki Chege only allows rapists and abusers to believe that a woman doesn’t need to consent to acts done on them, that they have no autonomy over their own bodies, that as long as they are not actively resisting it’s not assault but unless a woman has the presence of mind to agree to what anything being done to them, it’s a crime and it ought to remain a crime to commit any act on them.
The same way I will not blame a man for having “mchele” put in their drinks and then they are robbed, I will not blame a woman for being assaulted, drunk or otherwise.
Just the other day there was a huge outcry when a judge in the U.S gave a Stanford university student 6 months jail for assaulting a drunk woman. He was found thrusting away inside an unconscious woman. I bet if Ms. Chege was that judge she would have given a lecture to that young woman instead of giving the man any jail term at all. How dare she get drunk and tempt that young man into having sex with her?
I think It’s a shame really when we cannot show any compassion for a victim of any crime but instead blame them but it’s especially shameful when a person uses their privileged platform to shame women who have suffered heinous acts against their bodies.
When other countries are fighting to put out the message about rape and assault and the element of consent, we have educated women in our newspapers spouting trash that is so hurtful to women and the fight against such crimes on them.
As a person who espouses her religiosity as much as Ms. Chege does, I would have thought that compassion for assault victims would not be too hard to achieve but I guess like most of her kind compassion is reserved for the “good victims”, those that are doing holly and pure things when they are assaulted or otherwise harmed.