Rape – It’s everyone’s fault except the perpetrators.

According to the International Centre for the Advancement of Reproductive Health (CIFARH) men rape because they lack a “sound religious background”.

Now aside from the dodgy methods on this (they asked a general population sample, not a perpetrator sample, for example) this is one of the most abhorrent conclusions I’ve ever read.

Firstly men rape because they can and they can get away with it. Any attempt to mask that as “ignorance” or a lack of “ethics” is appalling. How does one explain abuse by religious personal (which the Anglican and Catholic churches have been dogged by) – are they merely the students who fell asleep in seminary classes? How does one explain this or this or this or this or this or this or this and why is it the Vatican released a report acknowledging that priests in some countries were forcing Nuns to have sex to lessen their risk of exposure to HIV? (Also here and here).

But it’s also the implicit woman-blaming here – mothers are presumed to be the ones who do the primary socialisation and instil basic religious or ethical knowledge. So if rapists lack that then it’s a lack on the part of the mother. So, victim of sexual violence, your abuse is the fault of another woman – not at all to do with the man who committed it. He’s just a hapless victim of poor upbringing.

CIFARHs advice, in the face of their own findings that 85% of the sample knew someone who had been raped, was avoid walking home alone, dress decently, fear God, avoid bad company, punish rapists severely and provide sexuality education. Only two of those (and that’s focus on the positives and rephrase that ….Two of those) might actually help, the others are a mixture of the usual victim blaming stuff and, frankly, measures of no discernible impact.

Executive Director of CIFARH, Professor Innocent Ujah:

He urged students to join in the campaign against sexual violence by taking up the fight against the malaise with their fellow students and discouraging indecent dressing among them.

From All Africa.Com

Yes dear students, don’t fight against this by policing male student behaviour, no, go out and police female behaviour because rape is obviously about “indecent” dressing rather than male impugnity. But the contradictoriness of this is stunning – if lack of religious knowledge is the key cause then why not demand students tackle that? Or generally tackle the misogynistic culture that allows men to rape without fear of capture or punishment? No, obviously men’s behaviour must leads to women being held responsible for it – it’s standard apologist stuff – a man committed a rape? His mother didn’t raise him properly, the victim was indecently dressed and therefore asked for it, his female friends didn’t education him or challenge him. It’s everyone’s fault except the perpetrators.

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