SEX AND THE MEGA CITY-S&MC- Written by Olugbenga Ogbamola
The air we breathe in the mega city is heavy; it’s metallic heavy- the mixture of noise, carbon and stealth makes us no better than smokers. We are victims of our environment but we can’t survive elsewhere, the fast paced life, the busy roads and streets, the heavy pay of mega coys, the thrown-out caution of city girls and the pervasive stench of sex hanging in the air keeps us in. We all loath the effect of mega city stress on our body but we can’t stay out. Folks who know Eagles in 1976 or Magic Fashek’s rendition of the song ‘hotel California’ will never forget these lyrics, ‘you can check out anytime you like but you can never leave’- this line is my favorite part of the song because it tells the exact attitude of Lagosians, there are many times we leave and experience paradise elsewhere but we always find our way back to the purgatory called Lagos.
One of the main features of paradise is innocence; the raw state of being. Innocence, that rare precious or jewel of inestimable value hardly found in the mega city- even the landscape tells a tale of a place that lost touch with its natural form many years before us, like a willing lover raped before its prime. The stigma that follows the rape of the virgin lands in Lagos can be observed with the power western influence and technology have on the mindset of its residents; this gives the resident an advantage in terms of being informed and as such people from other rural areas in the country look up to them in terms of exposure and civility. I wish to state that, ‘with much power comes great responsibility’ and since Mega city residents enjoy the status of ‘woke people’ then it is pertinent that I take a cursory glance at their sexual orientation and attitude to know if it differs from those in rural areas. Before I proceed let me state that there is no doubt that in terms female rights, Lagos state laws are pro-feminine gender and other states tail behind it but the big question is ‘has the passage of these laws rubbed off on the people?’The answer for me is- ‘I don’t think so’ and I have good explanations to tender. Let’s go a bit back in time and check the stats for rape convictions and we will observe that as at the year 2015, only fifteen legal convictions existed in the history of Nigeria, and I know you will ask, ‘what about now?’ Personally, I am not aware if there are recent studies or research to prove that the numbers have gone up in terms of legal convictions in the country but the research results which I have with me show that rape and sexual molestation cases seem to be on the high- The research results obtainable in 2018 shows that rape cases in the Mega city of Lagos state has gone up with most of these cases being unreported; according to the report which was compiled by the domestic and sexual violence response team of the ministry of justice in Lagos state, there has been an increase of 134% as regards rape, defilement and domestic violence as compared to the previous year, while there are still many other cases not reported. Now, let’s play a game of imagination and ask ‘how come a people who are believed to be civilized and informed haven’t raised decent male adults and how come despite the laws in place to curb such social malaise people still find it hard to report rape cases?’
Permit me to explain why I asked questions in the last paragraph above. I am aware that the Lagos state government have passed a lot gender equality bills and I am also aware that several agencies have been set up to look into issues of rape but then, the cases of rape and defilement still seems to soar, this shows that the problem is not absence of laws or irresponsibility on the part of the government but that the people are unwilling to give up certain bad attitude. Why would anyone have the confidence to violate a woman and what level of confidence allows a man commit such offence even when aware that the state laws frown at such? There is only one answer and it is the presence of patriarchy and also because most females fail to report rape cases based on how members of the society and community perceive rape victims as damaged goods, the stigmatization that rape victims face do more harm and encourages rape more than any other attitude. Don’t be amazed that a mega city like Lagos still has a mass of people who view sex as a taboo for females but see it in a different way for males; that is why a male specie can boast of having multiple sexual partners without being shamed and it is a thing of ridicule for a lady to try such. The world should be laughing at the level of exposure which certain Lagosians exhibit but I doubt that is the case, many people around the world still believe that mega city residents are enlightened. I need to state that sex is seen as a taboo for females in certain parts of Lagos and this is one of the reasons why I fault the type of sex education in which we have in Nigeria and the state, I have read certain manuals as regards sexual education and I believe the approach towards sex is sexist. I don’t believe it is right to teach the girl-child that the answer to sexual proposition is ‘No.’ I believe the answer should be ‘Sex is a need but you only have the right to consent to it at the age of 18’, We must stop the orientation that cocoons the young female into believing that sex is a taboo and a thing of shame- this one issue increases the rise in rape and also encourages rapist to commit the act. Most Nigerian women have been raised with the mentality that sex is something that debases women and as such even when they want sex, they are unconsciously still saying ‘NO’ and as far as the rules to consent goes, ‘No is No!’, so how do you tackle rape when you have made a young female believe that the answer to sex proposals is ‘NO’ that is like making her believe she has no choice as regards her sexual needs. It is also imperative to state that when females believe that sex is a taboo, it becomes a problem to report rape because they get to see themselves as damaged good and keep the hurt to themselves without ever seeking for justice, we need to review our approach to sex education for the sake of female psyche.
Furthermore on the issues stated above which is in relation to sex education, I believe there is a need to ensure that we intensify efforts in educating the boy-child sexually too. There are a lot of assumptions that the male child has a divine or subconscious knowledge as regard sex but this is itself a myth, most young males are just as clueless as females as regards sexual engagement. In as much as we see males as the aggressor we also need to realize that many members of the male gender are victims of sexual abuse at a young age. There are studies that have proven that three out of every ten young male lost their virginity to some aunties, house-helps or tutors and elderly person. I am not trying to give excuses for the prevalence of sexual abuse by males towards females, all I am saying is sometimes the aggressor might also be a victim too and there are chances that the aggression is often a transferred action. I have spoken and interviewed many young men in Lagos state and I realize that they are just in need of responsible sexual guides just like the females and this stems from the fact that no one, not even the government prioritizes the sexual education of the boy child. It is my sincere advice to the state authorities to consider having a different approach as regards the sexual education curriculum in the state, there is a need to ensure that the focus is not just 100% on the girl child but also towards the goal of having sexually responsible young men.
Finally, I wish to state that rape activities should be outlawed not only in states but in every household, hotel, street and environment in the mega city. Rural dwellers cannot be looking up to us as very civilized people and we keep acting like animals that have no control over sexual urge. We must learn to prioritize consent as a legitimate aspect of sexual engagement and we must rise beyond looking away when young ladies are fondled and manhandled in market squares. We must take a stand and educate the ignorant amongst us that rape victims are not damaged goods and should never be stigmatized for any reason and we must learn to condemn any act of forceful sex and report the perpetrators even if we are the third party involved. There is a no way we can develop a progressive way of life if we allow people suffer from trauma as a result of incidents or events which wasn’t their fault. We must stop the repulsive action of shaming rape victims- it doesn’t matter what a lady is wearing and it is not a crime to visit a man in his apartment, the reason why we give these excuses is because we have failed Tutors and have failed to raise responsible young men in the society. There is no way a young man will be brought up by responsible parents and well tutored in school as regards sexual engagement and coercing females into having sex with him will be a thing of pleasure, you don’t derive pleasure at the expense of others. So let us try very hard as residents of an urbanized mega city and learn to breathe in knowledge and exhale good behavior, because the air we breathe might end up being polluted if all we have are individuals with bad character.