On Consent: Timing Is Crucial

Posted on February 02 2018 , at 11:23 am
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The ongoing Big Brother Naija reality TV and the activities in the house reminds me of the drama from the last edition of the show when the issue of consent was thrown up for debate. Recall that Akwa Ibom born Kemen was kicked out of the house for preying on TBoss at the time and Nigeria’s social media exploded.

I honestly think that that singular action earned TBoss more enemies than the fact that she appeared rich, assertive or had pointed breasts, which in most Nigerian’s dictionary means ‘pride and unafrican’. Don’t take my words for it; Reuben Abati wrote loads of paragraphs describing a single woman’s breasts as if his thesis could cure cancer.

A year later, Kemen is no longer an issue, even for TBoss who said recently at a red carpet interview of the opening ceremony of this year’s edition of Big Brother Naija, how they (she and Kemen) are friends and went further to trivialize the entire issue with her, “I don’t blame Kemen, I mean, look at me” statement. Is TBoss trying to say consent is not necessary if the woman has perky breasts? Did she justify sexual harassment if the woman is beautiful?

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What everyone in the world wants to know now is, when do you revoke consent? Even with the famous #MeToo campaign, this is a challenging question. For me, I am of the opinion that consent can be withdrawn at any time. A man/woman has the right to decide that he/she doesn’t want sex anymore and the man (in many cases) is supposed to agree, stop, put on his trousers and even if his penis is dripping with semen, swallow it, go and sit down.

But I also think that it is foolish for women to believe in such a fallacy and put themselves in harm’s way.

Recently, a man I consider my friend started telling me funny things. He said we should meet at motels. This is a married man I have watched countless Arsenal/Chelsea matches with, in watering holes. I have a gift for “Brotherzoning” so I had been calling him “Daddy” for ages.

One day, I asked him why he wanted us to meet in “coded places”. He said he would tell me via Whatsapp. There, he said he wanted us to get to know each other. I replied that we had been ‘knowing each other’ for almost a decade. He said he wanted more, and that he was all about the biblical “knew”. I told him it was unfair, that I considered him a big brother and besides he was married. That was when he revealed that he had gotten a divorce. “Are you hoping to sleep with me?” I had asked him. “Haaaaaa! He responded with a shocked emoji. “The way you say it, that’s not the plan but it can happen if we want.” He informed me.

You see, I didn’t want it to happen. I believed it will not happen but I would rather not carry myself to a motel to see a man disturbed by “konji” and hope to give him a lecture on ‘consent’. I would rather stay in my mother’s house and watch the paints dry. I agree that we must demand self-control and restraint from all men and women. I will never justify rape or sexual assault but I honestly think if women are not going to sleep with people, they should make it clear and not lead people on.

I think this new TBoss statement of “I don’t blame Kemen, look at me” was unfortunate even sad, I don’t think it is excusable to harass anyone even if they have boobs the size of Jupiter. But most importantly, don’t wait to revoke consent when he has probably unfastened his trousers and “put just the tip”. Don’t give away consent then when you get home, you start feeling guilty it happened.  Also, your false alarm and “curious timing” weakens the march against rape and strengthens ‘victim shaming’.

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