Sexual Assault — For Those Who Said We Were Asking For It.

In light of current Harvey Weinstein revelations, these are first and second hand stories of men and women taking advantage of power and entitlement to rape, abuse and harass women. These are true stories. Language may be offensive to some but the truth is uncomfortable

People in high positions: doctors, directors, teachers, lecturers, uncles, bosses are raping and abusing us.

The names attached to the stories are not the victims’ real names. Unless stated, all of these have happened in Ghana.

My personal story: There has been the boss who smacked my ass as he casually passed by— I nervously laughed it off. What is a black girl in a white man’s land, seemingly clueless about what just happened, to do?

Ewurabena: We were all hanging with my friends’ older brother. He was intoxicated and started shoving his hands up my skirt. I was about 11 years old.

Cecilia: I had gone to check my breasts for cancer. I had the examination and then had minor surgery. I had to go back for a check up. The doctor in charge started to fondle my breasts. I told him that I wasn’t comfortable with what he was doing and he had locked the door. Luckily for me, the nurse knocked and that was my chance to leave immediately.

Akos: I was 11 when my uncle molested me. He licked and stuck his fingers in my vagina. This went on until I was 15. After that, I didn’t see him for a while because he travelled. When I turned 25 (I had gotten married by then), he came back and we had sex. It took me a while to get used to having sex with my husband.

Anna: My cousin 7, was raped by another cousin. We didn’t report this because it was a ‘family matter’. After 4 and a half months, my cousin traumatised by the events, passed away.

Mariana: I was in my second year and had come to the capital city to sort out an issue. I had an uncle in Accra who said I could come stay at his house. When I got there he said due to an emergency, he wouldn’t be at home after all. I didn’t have any money to get a hotel room, so my uncle’s friend said I could come stay with him for the night. The room he said I could stay in was occupied when I arrived, so I slept in his room. In the middle of the night, he woke up, breathing and panting heavily (said he had asthma). He pinned me against the wall, pulled the clothes off my body and raped me. He left an imprint on my wrists.When he left for work the next morning, he left a wad of bills on the table. As though I was a prostitute. These days when he sees me, he gets very angry and defensive.

Abena: I went for a job interview and as soon I sat down the man in charge started to massage my shoulders. His hands then started to roam towards my breast, all while he was hovering over me. I told him calmly that I also really liked him and that I had my eyes on him for the longest time. That we should take it slow and go get a condom. We drove to a pharmacy. As soon as he got into the shop, I left the car and rushed home.

Mary: I knew this guy pretty well. At some point he ended up living in my neighbourhood. He was like an older brother to me and had helped with stuff for my little brother. I went over to his house one time and caught him looking at me in a way, that was uncomfortable. He said I wasn’t a kid anymore (I was 15), told me my thighs looked beautiful and when I covered them asked me whether I was shy. He then said he needed a massage and after multiple attempts to make him aware that i didnt know how to, I gave it a half hearted stab. By this time he had taken his shirt off. I told him he was very hairy and he asked me if I liked it. At some point he lay on my lap, grabbed my wrist and said I made him hard. I tried to remain calm. Prior to that, he had asked whether I had a boyfriend and that what did we do if we didn’t have sex? He said he wouldn’t let me go unless I kissed him. I headed for the door ready to leave but he ran ahead and locked it, put his arm around me and put his mouth all over my face. At this point I asked him so are you going to rape me and kill me? After a while, he seemed to have come to his senses, with an apology of not knowing what had come over him. I unlocked the door and left.

It’s unfortunate that too often, men feel they have a right over a woman’s entire being. The justification to do whatever they want, because they have have managed to get away with it for so long. That you can take anything and anyone you want, with no consequences because you’re a man.

The trivialisation of rape has justified actions of rapists, sexual aggressors and harassers.

‘What was she wearing’? — Well, you tell me, what were grandma and 2 year old Pearl wearing?

‘Why did she enter his room’? — Why does Kofi whip out his penis in broad daylight to pee on the side of the road?

‘Why was she showing cleavage’? — Don’t over sexualise breasts. Men have them too.

‘What did she do, to be raped’? — You have to do something?

‘Well why is she now saying something happened’? — Stigma, shame, guilt.

Don’t defend rapists and their ilk by asking irrelevant questions. Even the slow drip, drip, eventually fills up the glass. And then it flows over. So to all of you who have ever assaulted, harassed or raped a woman, your time too will come:

We know your names. We know where you work. We will come for you.

*This post has been edited.