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Otiko Djaba, Rape is not an STD.

Posted in Uncategorized

Dear Otiko Djaba,

Rape is NOT an STD. We Cannot Prevent Rape by Covering our bodies!

It is not often that I take the time to write to persons in positions of authority, as for the most part, I believe that authorities know what they are doing and do not need my input. However, on the odd occasion, I have been known to speak up. Ms Zita Okaikoi heard from me regarding her inaction, during her tenure as Ambassador to the Czech Republic, when a Ghanaian male was treated like “garbage” in that country.

Your predecessor, the Honourable Oye Lithur also heard from me, though I did not share my strong words for her here but kept to facebook, when she chose to sign the petition for the release of the Montie 3. Today, my attention is on you, and only you.

When you spoke up for yourself during your vetting and stood your ground when compelled to apologise to former President Mahama, I applauded from my home. I posted on social media about how it was high time we had a headstrong woman in the role of gender minister, who would not kowtow to the whimsy of our patriarchal society.

Imagine my joy when you turned up for your swearing-in looking radiant in your traditional garb and with your “interesting hairstyle” and hit back at your detractors when they accused you of setting a poor example for girls. Your defense for your hairstyle warmed my heart. Surely you would defend human rights as you defended your hair, no? Soon after, however, the bombs began to drop.

When videos began to circulate, in which a suspected female thief was sexually abused by a group of traders, you took days to speak regarding the issue, and even then, only to say that the police must be allowed to follow due process, and that the lady in question did not want to be found. My jaw dropped. With actual evidence in hand, the State wanted the victim to press charges before locking up those men? Even if she was proven to be a thief, did she deserve to be treated in such a manner?

The whole thing reminded me of an incident in Legon Uni where another alleged thief was stripped naked and manhandled by the males in one of the Mensah Sarbah Hall Annexes. Video footage circulated from this incident as well and some rather vile minded persons implied that she got what she deserved. I wonder why it took so long for action to be taken in the February 2017 event, when there was video evidence clearly showing the faces of her attackers.

You disappointed me, Otiko. You disappointed me so much but I had hope. I, and other women I hold dear to my heart, hoped you would “show us levels” but alas, just as Maya Angelou said, when someone shows you their character, believe them the first time.

I have actually left my sick bed to write to you tonight. I am supposed to be on bed rest while my back heals up but noooo, I needed to sit upright and take the time to let you know how disappointed I am, that you, a Minister for Gender should stand before a group of adolescent girls and declare that they should avoid wearing short skirts in order to prevent rape.

Can we stop devaluing men and their ability to think? Their brains are not actually stored in their penises.

I must thank you for warning male teachers not to coerce and abuse their charges. Warning them to desist from impregnating the girls, was a step in the right direction considering the society we live in but sadly, even this one good deed of yours stood on rocky ground. It gives the impression that the only thing wrong with male teachers sleeping with students, is the possibility of pregnancy.

You were absolutely right, in that it is an abuse of their rights but I put to you that pregnancy should be the least of their worries, but rather the emotional and physical trauma they inflict on their victims. Focusing on the risk of pregnancy ignores the fact that STDs could be transmitted and that female teachers could also be taking advantage of their charges, be they male or female students.

You mentioned something else that caught my attention, “We want to initiate a mentoring program; a girls-girls leadership program in all the schools, from basic to tertiary and as well as within the communities to ensure that we know our rights and we understand what it is to be  a woman who is an equal partner in society, no longer women behind but side by side with our men as equal partners”.

Great initiative but I wonder, can we have a mentoring program for boys as well? One which teaches them that older women sleeping with them is a form of abuse and not something they should be “proud of”? One that teaches them that they do not deserve sex whenever and wherever they want it, and that they should not be afraid to speak up when they are being forced into situations they are uncomfortable with? Our society has taught men for far too long, that their “manhood” and brains lay in their penises, and that women exist solely to provide them with pleasure.

In the next breath, you are alleged to have stated, that the girls should “…be bold, be confident, be respectful. If you wear a short dress, it’s fashionable but know that it can attract somebody who would want to rape or defile you. You must be responsible for the choices you make”.

Here is where I screamed in fury before being reduced to a weeping mess. My dear woman, that was a terrible gaffe. You revealed in those words, the fact that you are as much embroiled in the patriarchal BS that we are fed daily, as women. As the defender of human rights, you managed, in one fell swoop, to lay the blame for rape at the feet of the victims (fine, fine, potential victims). Please be informed, if you have not read my header above, “Rape is not an STD and we cannot prevent it by covering up“.

Rape Condom! To deter lusty males from infecting your body with rape.

Your statement ignores the following:

  1. Rape is not about sex. People do not rape because they are horny and want to get off. No, rape is about control, about power, about abusing a vulnerability, be it mental or physical. It is this “power thirst” that has warriors raping while they pillage villages. You think they simply miss their wives? No no it is about humiliation of the enemy and proving their weakness. “Haha you call yourselves warriors? Watch us violate your women and children”. Sex has been used as a weapon for years and so I am appalled when I meet people who miss the purpose of rape.
  2. Rape involves more than a penis and a vagina. I do not believe in the Ghanaian legal definition for rape, as it assumes just as you have, that rape only involves a man placing his penis inside of a woman’s vagina. The term defilement annoys me also, as it implies a sullying of the victim. The victim is not dirty, in the case of “defilement” so why use such a disgusting term? Newsflash, Madam Minister, men can be raped too. They can be raped by men, and by women. Once upon a time, I thought it was impossible to rape a man but then I learned that rape is about consent, and consent can be denied, even in the presence of a physical response.Research has shown that in fight or flight situations, men can have erections. The same happens with women, who often are ashamed to report rape because their bodies responded during the struggle. Most often, their attackers even point out to them the fact that their bodies are prepped and ready.I ask you, as a woman who seems to think that short skirts are the reason for rape, what would you say to a woman who told you she said no to a man but he forced himself on her and that, to her shame, she had an orgasm or two? Would you as gender Minister then decide her orgasm was proof of consent? I think you need some gender sensitivity training.
  3. Rapists have self control. Yes they do! They have so much self control in fact, that they actively search for persons they can overpower physically and mentally. A rapist who is 5’4″ and weighs 50kg will not attempt to physically overpower a person who is 6’2″ and weighs 90kg, certainly not without a weapon, or with prior knowledge that the potential victim is not mentally sound and thus can be coerced into the act.All those house helps seducing their young charges, call it statutory rape or no, there is a clear indication that these persons have had their bodies and rights violated.The idea that showing a little bare skin is enough to drive men into a sexual frenzy is absurd and should not be perpetrated any further. If a woman should choose to walk through the streets naked, it is not an excuse for anyone, male or female to touch them inappropriately, let alone insert objects into any orifices.  You liken men to animals with no self control, when we have seen dogs back off from food because they were told “NO”. Are men honestly reduced below the level of dogs when they get turned on?
  4. Rapists do not always beat their victims into submission. Most children who are assaulted will tell you their attackers did not beat them. They may have threatened violence either on their person or that of a loved one in order to get them to keep quiet, but overall, child molesters (rapists) simply prey on innocence and naivete to get what they want. Drugging an adult victim is a sure way of overpowering them without physical force. Or perhaps you, like the Ghana Police, want every victim to turn up with rope burns, swollen eyes, busted lips and vaginal tears to prove they did not consent to sex?
  5. Women in full clothing get raped too. The high incidence of rape in countries like India and Bangladesh are proof enough that no matter what a person wears, they can still be attacked by predators. Long skirt, short skirt, tights or jeans trousers, none will prevent a narcissist from taking what they want.

Pardon me for the long rant but I feel very passionately about this because this argument allows a lot of rapists to get away scott free. It allows boyfriends, dates, husbands (yes and girlfriends and wives) to simply refuse to take no for an answer, force a physical response from their victim and take from them, that which they do not wish to give.

Patriarchy has done this to us. Women are taught they are to blame if they are raped, that they are at fault if they get pregnant and men are taught that they are men when they have a high body count. They refuse to consider that they could be sexually assaulted because they cannot fathom ever having a woman or another man managing to overpower them physically or mentally.

Let’s please get this right and stop victim shaming. Giving predators excuses will never do, and teaching our young women that their clothing will drive men into a frenzy is beyond irresponsible.

Ms Djaba, i must ask you to do better. As gender minister, you are more than just a voice for the voiceless. You should never be caught perpetrating such misogyny.  Please don’t ever tell girls they make a choice to be preyed on by rapists when they dress a certain way. I don’t see us telling the lion that the gazelle was prancing about like a slut and deserved to be eaten.
And thus a closet rapist is born

The next time you talk about sexual abuse in any form, please remember to discuss consent. Let it be known that a man or woman has no right to demand oral, vaginal or anal sex from another person. Let them know even hand jobs are not to be demanded.

I and other Ghanaians want to hear you telling men and women that even if a person consented to sex, and is in the middle of the act, they still have a choice to say no and walk away. Let it also be known that if a man or woman says no to sex, that it is not alright to convince them to say yes, by stroking their bodies into submission.

This is one thing I have noticed in some Ghanaian relationships, where people assume the person saying no is playing hard to get. Disrespecting the person’s wants and choices, forcing a physical response from them, and carrying on is reprehensible. Sex is supposed to be between two willing individuals. The fact that one person has to be coerced should surely kill any vim, no? 

Oh by the way, I went out drinking on Friday night wearing a short dress and heels. The older male I was with, despite my near intoxication, thin frame and sexy clothing (the dress even had cut outs to show some flesh above my boobs) did not rape me. He had several chances, as we were in a dark and quiet section of the bar we visited and the streets on our drive back to my home were dark, to overpower and rape me, but he did not. In fact, he did not even touch my arm or leg, simply because I had already told him prior, that I was not interested in sex with him, or anyone, and that I was only interested in making a new friend. I know this must be a shock to you, and to others who hold your views that men are uncontrollable beings led by their penises but this man is a prime example of what we nurture when we, as a society teach men and women to respect each other, and make them understand that they are not entitled to anything from another person.

Oh by the by, I apologise for calling your hairstyle a chicken style on twitter. I was overcome by anger yet still, I owe you an apology. Your hairstyle should have no impact on your duty, unless the weave is sewn in too tight and making it impossible for you to concentrate.

Be the woman we expect you to be, Otiko. Show us that you’re here to protect all genders and that you are capable of doing your job.

Sincerely Yours,

~Daixy~

PS I have so much more to say but I am emotionally and physically exhausted. Should you wish to debate further, my twitter handle is @D41XY. I loooove to debate online, but only when I do not have deadlines to meet.

 

Love Upon a Time

Posted in poetry, Relationships, and Uncategorized

Love cradled me long ago
 In a life once upon a time,
 I laid beside him;
 My ear,
 Tucked beneath his heart,
 Listening to staccato beat

Love broke one day
 In the blink of an eye
 I grasped him;
 Tight to my bosom
 Legs wrapped about him
 As he drove home our last goodbye

Love went away
 Seemingly to die
 I raised a marker;
 Where my heart once bled
 Now marble cold
 Without his warming light

Love sits in limbo
 A place beyond space and time
 It floats in stasis;
 Waiting
 For cryogenic frost
 To melt beneath renewed heat

Love stirs for you
 Even within layers of pain
 It yearns for release;
 My heart,
 Straining to meet and match
 Each beat for fervent beat


Corrupt Conductors Conniving to Cheat!…

Road from Kumasi to AccraImage by acameronhuff via Flickr
So last weekend, Obed Sarpong of “Ready to Chew” gave me a copy of Ayi Kwei Armah‘s “The Beautiful Ones are not yet Born.  In the beginning chapter, a corrupt conductor confesses, albeit subconsciously to cheating his passengers.  I was successfully grossed out in that chapter (and the following one), especially by the actions of the equally disgusting driver against “The Man”, whose sole crime is falling asleep in the bus.
Today’s post isn’t about the book, however.  I haven’t finished it yet.  Multiple tasks at work and elsewhere have had me so busy that chapter three is as far as I’ve made it.  I’m not going to rant about how horrible it is, for me not to wrap it up, especially as I’d usually be done in less than two hours but I will say that I will finish it before the next week begins (I need some me time).
It’s really sad that corruption still runs rampant in Ghana today.  Things have changed since Independence and yet people still find it necessary to lie and cheat their way out of their so called poverty.  Disabled persons who have been trained by the “Ghana Federation for the Disabled” refuse to practice their crafts and prefer to litter the streets.  One cured leper (at least I hope she’s cured) hangs about the National Theatre, thumping her stump (for want of a better word.  it’s 4am and I can’t think) against private car and taxi windows to demand money.  Not only does she bang incessantly on the glass, but she hurls insults and curses at you when you refuse to hand over money. SMH.
A seemingly blind man approaches my car and even without my uttering a word greets me with “My daughter, good morning.”  Eii!  With my windows rolled up, how did you know I was a woman?  And a daughter at that! I sincerely doubt that he was able to smell my perfume.  How sad does one have to be to pretend to be blind?  Before someone jumps on my neck, I’ll say this now.  There was no one standing next to him.  This was on the flag staff road and he was all alone. My perfume must have been really strong for it to permeate glass, plastic and metal. Or he’s the ghanaian version of the daredevil.  You take your pick.
Even when the avenues are created for the less fortunate to make a little something of themselves, it seems the need to stick it to the man overwhelms the desire to fend for oneself.  It saddens me every time I recall a friend’s story about how her father offered  a Chadian woman a job so she could take her children off the street.  Would you believe the woman run her finger on her skin then on his and asked if he was right in the head?  That “how can I come and work for you, a slave?”  And yet she was okay with standing by the road with her kids and begging that slave for money.  
What is this country and the world for that matter heading for? There are people willing to help, and yet someone sits somewhere and decides that they are above a type of work.  Sad thing is, I know how my friend feels cuz my own dad had a similar response when he offered to help one of them (eugh I hate using that term, “one of them”.  Generalisation is awful! Hopefully you get that it’s not my intent). After getting such an answer, you pretty much feel like dirt and that it’s not worth the effort to help anyone at all.  This is what happens when we let this evil fester in us.  It becomes a dog eat dog world, with everyone looking out for themselves.
Now why am I so pissed off?  Well I went to visit a friend at Spintex.  I knew the place to be “Flowerpot Junction” Not having a car anymore, I chose to save money and take a tro tro instead of a taxi.  The tro tro to the Accra Mall was no problem but I’ve only driven to that area like twice and had no idea what the stops were called.  My friend told me to tell them I was going to Junction, so I did and paid 55p for the trip from the station to “junction”.  Now it soon became clear that junction was farther away than my actual stop.  The lady next to me had said she was going to flowerpot and I realised her stop was the same as mine.  She told me the fare to flowerpot was 40p. So we both alerted the mate (conductor) and as i got out of the car, I asked for my change.  The mate slapped something into my hand and before I could raise my head, the tro tro shoved off.  What was in my palm? A 5p coin.
I had been swindled!  Me!  The Darling Daixy!  
I’m still amazed.  It’s not the fact that he took my 10p.  Bah to heck with that.  It’s only going to buy me water.  Not enough to get me gum even, and yet it still rankles.  Just because he realised I did not know where the junction was, he’d pilfered my hard earned 10p.  That’s what annoys me ; being underestimated and written off as some foolish newbie who does not and will never know the ways of the street.  I felt (and still do) violated and insulted.  A girl steps out of her comfort zone (what business do I have in the Spintex Area? eh) and the first thing that happens is someone takes advantage of her?  I’m really getting tired of this.  Stuff keeps happening that digs me deeper into my jaded shell.  Soon, there’ll be none of the humanity left in me, just a spectre with a strong conviction that she must never be taken advantage of. Much like the rest of the nation is becoming. 
As though I wasn’t bad enough.  LOL
~Daixy~

*tro tro: mini van for public transport

Up to here……

Image via Wikipedia

I wish that I didn’t have to feel
For numbness to mask the pain
That I had space to heal
And didn’t have to see your cheating face again

I wish you’d just leave me be
To live my life in peace
Must you keep tabs on me
Ensure that I’m still down on my knees?

Don’t you think you’ve done enough
To tear my world apart
To shatter dreams of my gullible youth
And trample on my oh so fragile heart?

I’m sick and tired of crying
Of wondering what I did wrong
Even though I realise that you were a lying
Cheating Ass all along!

Congratulations!
You almost broke my spirit
But you really should cease your jubilations,
You see, because I’ve finally hit my limit

So I’ll say this one last time
I’ve had enough of you
And I’ll get over your insidious crime
If it’s the last thing I do

Quit trying to check out my facebook
And calling me up on the phone
Don’t come over to give me that puppy dog look
And for goodness sakes, LEAVE ME THE HELL ALONE!!!

~Daixy~

When Life is Just too Hard to Deal With: 13 yr old girl commits suicide!!

Image via Wikipedia

Reading the paper today, this story caught my eye. Girl, 13, Commits Suicide.

Apparently, thirteen (13) year old Abigail who lives with her Aunt (Beatrice) in Takoradi decided that life was just too much for her to deal with. This child hanged herself for what she claims to be unfounded accusations of promiscuity and theft. A day after reporting the suicide to the police, Beatrice produced a “suicide note” in which Abigail is said to have stated that a colleague and friend of Beatrice’s (Sophia) had accused her of stealing phone cards and a charger. The little girl went on in her note to state that her aunt had accused her of flirting, and most importantly, denied those claims.

Perhaps I’m being picky, but shouldn’t the police when they investigated the scene, have discovered the note? What sort of detective work did they do? If you come across a suicide scene, isn’t the first thing you do after checking to see if there is any sign of a pulse to look for a note?

I wonder who this little girl was. I may not have known her, but I wish I knew who she was and what happened to her. I think about whether or not she had NO ONE to talk to about the persecution she felt she was facing. I’m wondering how bad it had to be for her to decide to end it all. I’ve already given her a profile in my head. Most likely she is orphaned and living with the only relative who would have her. Or perhaps her parents are incapable of caring for her and chose to send her to stay with a better off relation, as is often the case here in Ghana.

My question is, how did this child come to the conclusion that she could go to no one for help? Was there not a pastor she spoke to? A playmate? A concerned neighbour? If it was that bad, could she not have run away? Why did she feel there was nothing else out there for her?

I wish someone could have saved her from her demons, real or imagined as they may be. I figure what disturbed me most was how in the “Weekend Mirror” an “observer” was quoted to have said that the girl killed herself to cover up her crimes. That person hinted that Abigail may have been pregnant and may have killed herself to avoid punishment. Grr. I sincerely doubt that anyone, choosing to end their life for a crime they committed, would choose to leave the sort of note Abigail did. Most likely, she would have apologised for her crimes in the note. It would take a truly bitter soul to leave a farewell note declaring themselves innocent of a crime they committed. Like, think of it. If you’re leaving the world anyway, why hide your sins? It doesn’t gel with me. This girl in whatever state she was in, still felt the need to declare her innocence. And goodbye she wrote out in capital letters? She made it very clear who it was she was running from. If she truly were pregnant, would she not have given some explanation on that? Perhaps an apology for killing her unborn child?

So now, I feel terrible for her aunt, who most likely did not realise what was going on. Surely, she never meant to harm the girl. It’s quite probable that there were reasons for her to believe Abigail was headed for trouble and she acted the only way she knew how. How can this woman feel now, taking the blame for this tragedy?

Whether she is responsible or not, I doubt there is any way that she will be able to get out of this without feeling guilty. Little Abigail did far more than take her own life. She marked at least one woman for life and most likely ruined their reputations. This woman will forever blame herself for not seeing this coming, for not dealing with the situation properly, for not listening…..you know us humans; even without the note, she’d make herself responsible.

This raises a lot of issues about the way children are raised in this country. How much is too much chastising and ridiculing? When is it not okay to call a child up, sit them down and tell them to the face that their actions are wrong? When should you give up on correcting a child and guiding them on the right path?

This is where counseling services would be helpful in Ghana. Sure, a person has committed suicide, but what of the people who are left behind, those that feel guilty? Who is to save them from sinking into the same states that their friends and loved ones were in?

I feel that if we had better child services, if CHRAJ and WAJU and other social services were running properly in this country……would Abigail still be alive? I’m wondering how many more cases such as this will have to occur before something is done in this country and wish that people who have the Know How will step forward and DO SOMETHING about mental health issues in Ghana. At least our children should have one place they can go to when they feel oppressed and depressed.

It’s bad enough when adults who should know better commit suicide but when our children turn to it? We should know by now that we have a problem and our Nations leaders should quit arguing about which members of parliament are homosexuals and actually get down to doing their work. People like Derrick Adjei, should be talking about ways to keep our youth from pulling stunts like this, not mouthing off about Akuffo Addos’s supposed diminutive stature. Just you wait! Your time in Daixy’s corner will come sooner than you think.

~Daixy~

related posts:
Daixy on Suicide Prevention day
Daixy on Suicide Debunked
Links within posts

Broken…..

I am
A broken record
You’ve coaxed out all I have to offer
Played me one too many times
I am
Abused, ruined
Condemned to suffer
Victim of your elaborate crimes
I am
A fallen star
Landed in your gutter
I sparkled once!  Now I’m covered in grime
I am
Your broken record
You’ve pried out what I have to offer…
For the very last time
~Daixy~