Conversations around the recent spate of rape cases have exposed rape apologists among us, some more clearly than others. You would recognize them by their statements and actions, which support and trivialize the despicable act. Find some of the most common traits of these individuals here.
Peruzzi's old tweets dug up from 2012 have reignited conversations about rape apologists on social media and in the public space.
The music artist had made light of the issue of rape, stating with an audacity that shocked many: "I'm a rapist."
In the series of infamous tweets which surfaced after he was accused of rape, Peruzzi bragged about assaulting women who "talk anyhow" or who "dey form "no no.""
His tweets left Nigerians outraged and horrified, with many wondering how he got away with such comments on social media.
Revealing a rather dark side to the music star, the tweets did little to absolve him of the crime he was accused of in spite of his statement refuting the allegation.
"I'm ashamed and deeply apologetic for a series of tweets posted on social media 8 years ago," the statement read.
But the damage was done and many had made up their minds about him. If he was not a rapist, he supported the act. That much was evident.
Less obvious cases of rape apologists exist, and we remain ignorant of the fact that some of our friends, family, neighbours, colleagues, and classmates may be rape apologists.
Here, find five common traits of rape apologists.
1. They blame the victim
"What was she doing there?" "Why did she go to his house?" "What was she wearing?" "Why didn't she scream?" "Why didn't she fight?" "Why did she go out alone?"
You might have heard someone ask questions like these ones after a rape occurred. Or perhaps you have caught yourself asking these questions. The thing is, though, these are questions only rape apologists would ask. In their book, the victim is at fault, not the rapist. They blame the victim for the crime, much like blaming a woman for having her handbag stolen because she carried one or a man for having his wristwatch snatched because he dared to wear one.
2. They defend/protect rapists
When in 2019, Busola Dakolo made rape allegations against the Senior Pastor of COZA, Biodun Fatoyinbo, some were quick to defend him. He was a man of God, they insisted, and was incapable of such an act. Yet, there were other victims who made allegations against him.
Rape apologists are ever so ready to come to the defence of rapists. They do not care about the facts and are not interested in giving the victim the benefit of doubt. They also cover up the crimes of their friends, family, neighbours or colleagues and protect them from the law.
3. They make excuses for rape and sexual assault
"He was drunk," "She led him on", "He is only human", "They are married", "He spent his money on her" are some excuses rape apologists make for rape and sexual assault.
As far as they are concerned, there has to be an explanation or a reason for the crime (NO! There is no reason, explanation or justification for rape). And if a victim reports, complains or seeks justice for cases of sexual assault against them, they say that they are "overreacting."
4. They speak and act like rape is nothing
A perfect example would be Peruzzi's tweets from 2012. Rape apologists do not think anything of rape. To them, it is not as big a deal as people portray it and it is not a crime. They make a joke of it and suggest that victims get what is coming to them. They also say victims who report are only making a mountain out of a molehill. If they get the chance, they would rape!
5. They encourage victims to stay silent
Because they trivialize rape and its effects, rape apologists encourage victims to stay silent. This almost always happens when rape occurs within the family. A family member tells the victim to stay silent in order to "protect" them or another family member from "shame." It also happens outside the family, among celebrities and strangers who tell victims "Shush!" "Move on!" "Get over it!" because they will probably never get any justice and may not survive the heat that is sure to come from reporting a rape.