About a week ago, God sent an angel to a group of school girls. No, it wasn’t an episode of Touched By An Angel rather it was Michale Matthew who saved a group of women from being raped. This incident happened in Ikoyi, Lagos state, Nigeria on the 3rd of May, 2017 while Michale was on her way home from work. The girls in question were students of Falomo Senior High School and the alleged rapists were male students of Ireti Grammar School. In a society where minding one’s business has been identified as the best way to avoid problems with neighbours, law enforcement authorises e.t.c, Michale’s intervention while others watched and some recorded is truly laudable. Therefore, in my eyes, she is an angel.
After reading Michale’s detailed account of what transpired, I tried to analyse what could have inspired or socialised these young men to engage in rape. My soliloquizing left me with a lot of questions bordering from how our boys are socialised to treat women to what kind of homes groomed rapists. I concluded that to answer these questions I would have to interview the students of Ireti Grammer School who engaged in the attempted rape. ( I would like to do this by the way)
Nonetheless, psychological, societal factors, peer and family have been identified as some of the reasons for rape. This prompts the question how can we prevent young men from raping women? One logical way is by teaching young men how to behave. In her write up for Ebony Magazine, Zerlina Maxwell lists five ways we can teach young men not to rape.
- Teach Young Men About Legal Consent.
- Teach Young Men To Not See Women As Sexual Objects.
- Teach Young Men About Healthy Masculinity.
- Teach Young Men To Believe Women Can Come Forward.
- Teach Males About Bystander Intervention.
In addition, setting up groups such as Men Stopping Violence and Men Against Violence which organize men to end male violence against women and girls through innovative trainings, programs and advocacy will be beneficial.
Michale’ is a rare individual and I applaud her. Her report of the incident sparked a much-needed conversation about rape that we often refuse to have as a society.It is my hope that the young men involved in this act are punished for their acts and that the conversation around teaching men not to rape continues. Read Michale’s report of the incident here and Zerlina Maxwell’s full article here.