I understand a female think tank comprising some of the most distinguished women in Nigeria today had a meeting recently, to deeply interrogate this worrying matter of rape. They invited some teenagers and young adults as observers.
Beyond the widespread rant and condemnation of the crime, cry for justice and healing of victims, I am told the conveners are concerned about pushing for a stronger, more compelling and more convincing response from the womenfolk. Advocacy and the use of various merchandise that say Rape’s not Cool, among other strong messages, which will be pushed through brilliantly executed campaigns against the manster (please read as monster, so that one does not fall into the trap of labelling while giving a report on a problem that has itself suffered much from labelling and discrimination) were considered.
I know that the think tank will not make their findings public for obvious reasons but I find it fascinating that in one of the sessions, participants were required to watch the 1996 thriller, ‘The Rock,’ which featured the inimitable Sean Connery, Nicolas Cage, Ed Harris, among other great actors. In the movie, Nicolas Cage, an FBI chemical weapons expert was paired with Sean Connery and sent on a mission to stop Ed Harris from launching chemical weapons from Alcatraz Prison into San Francisco.
Why watch a movie like that? What did rape have to do with stopping the launch of chemical weapons? Or are chemical weapons now synonymous with libidinal energy? As far as I remember, there is no rape scene in the movie. Perhaps the distant connection could be the fact that Alcatraz Prison was the holding place for the worst criminals (the kind of place where most rape victims wished their attackers were kept).
At the end of the movie, the ladies were invited to give their preliminary impressions of the movie. The majority were unanimous that a strong prison like the Alcatraz Prison be constructed exclusively for all rapists. I find the response of the oldest lady in the room most instructive. Here is how she began, ‘Before jumping to the conclusion that we push for the construction of an Alcatraz-like prison for rapists, how many of you asked yourself why we were required to watch this movie in the first place? Why this movie and not another?’ The other ladies waited for her to give her answer.
‘Why do you think the FBI went for Sean Connery? Why did they go to great lengths to force him into the mission? He was the only one alive who had breached Alcatraz Prison. He was the only prisoner that ever escaped from the fortress. He was the only one with institutional memory and the intelligence required for the pressing challenge.’
‘Pardon me, ma, please where are we going with all this talk?’ one of the ladies interrupted her.
‘We must identify individuals who have successfully repelled rape attempts and lived to tell the story.’
‘Yes, but they are victims too.’
‘I know. I just don’t think we should now bother about them being victims or not.’
‘What do you suggest?’
‘My father once told me a tale his great-grandfather once told his grandfather. Many, many years ago, a gentleman was home entertaining some guests at dinner when some libido-high fellows
attempted to gate-crash the special moment. The host pleaded with the would-be rapists to be reasonable but their libido had gone into overdrive and common sense taken a leave of absence. When they began to insult him, he made them a most outrageous offer but they wanted none of it. That was when his guests took over the situation and left for posterity, the most effective deterrence to rape.’
‘And what is it?’
‘Blind men don’t rape.’
‘I beg your pardon!’
‘They blinded the rapists and all that energy evaporated.’
‘You are not suggesting…’
‘This is a think tank, my dear’
‘What kind of blinders are currently available or may be created or invented?’
‘That’s a good place to begin the real purpose for this meeting.’