When will NO be enough?

I want all my friends to know this – especially my male friends, that if they’re ever accused of rape, I am going to believe the victim over them.

It is a decision I have taken as a person, someone needs to believe rape victims and I am that someone, the only time where I am not going to believe it – is the instance where I am the accused for then I will be knowing…

If ever you’re accused of raping someone, you’ll be guilty until proven innocent. (To me)

I have experienced rape, a very complex crime especially when it happens between people who are already having some sort of relationship (family, friends, colleagues, or other connections), and I am never going to do to any victim what I have done to myself.

Rape is so much complex of an act, to a point that at times – you as a victim question your own story until you question your very existence, mental well-being, and worth, so if there’s anything that rape victims need is to be believed, even in times when they don’t believe themselves.

There are mental accents that continue to cloud the judgment of rape victims until they are raped by a complete stranger, we may dismiss them but they will forever remain in place until our whole thinking gets some sort of reformation.

The victim that experiences rape on the streets, one that experiences rape in their uncle’s cold arms, and the one who experiences rape in a partner’s room are all victims of rape, a crime of one nature but the complexity of the crime is so much altered by such factors.

Had I experienced it on the streets – it may have been easier for me to report the incidence, but more complex to find healing if I didn’t see the person who did it, especially in this lawless country that has a crawling justice system.

But I have come to realize that in my case, the fact that I know the person who did it to me makes it all the worse, the truth of what went on a date night makes it all harder, I gave consent to the meeting, the visit, and I didn’t have any problem going to a place where he stays, cause I thought going there was solemnly for the sake of safety and convenience – I wouldn’t have known that a night with my then knight in shining armor would turn into a crime opportunity, and it was there in my soldier’s camp that I was open to every attack one could ever imagine.

He had a plan, something I didn’t have – mine was to have fun with someone I would date in the future, and someone I would have made love to if such a need arose, but they decided that it was time and I didn’t matter, so they went on, regardless of how I made it clear that I don’t want it.

Woke up the next day on the very same bed, but this time with a sober mind – then it dawned upon me that my purity was gone. I looked at him like “Did he really do it?”

I am sure to him it didn’t feel like rape because he knew that I like him so much.

Did I run back home? No, I didn’t
After he was done with me, I just dozed off with my sobby eyes – cause even during the act, the power to push was not really there…
I even slept in his arms and was taken home by him.

But I am glad society never got to practice their stupidity on me by asking me questions like:

Why did you go out with him?
Why did you get in his car?
Why did you go to his place?
Why didn’t you scream for help?
Why didn’t you push him?
Why didn’t you go and report him?
Why did you sleep in his arms?
How can you allow someone who raped you to take you home?
And I bet the Police would have asked the same questions too, foolish – right?

He also asked me: “Why didn’t you push me harder?” cause with rapists a “NO” is never enough, and my precious “NO” was the only power I had that very night, but he gave no fucks except the ones he gave to my body. To him, the fact that I didn’t fight him hard enough was a sign of approval – I am just a cool guy trying to play hard to get, he thought to himself.

Yes, I gave consent to go on a date with someone I admired, but I gave NO consent to having sex with them. But society won’t focus on the fact that I said NO, they’d rather focus on the fact that I said YES to the date, which by their default is consent to sexual abuse.

It is pointless once more to explain rape to a society that is so consistent with seeing rape for what it is not, to a society that holds this mental accent: “If you don’t want it you should fight hard enough, to the point of death” while professing with every given chance that “NO means NO”.

Society expects victims to fight off perpetrators and come out victorious, but no one cares to consider the damage rape does to a victim’s mind, at the time of the incidence and after.

The very same way I gave away my belongings to armed robbers in the streets of Johannesburg without any hassles or attempt to fight them off is the very same way I lay there in white linens while my purity was being taken away.

After those guys stripped me of my belongings, I didn’t even run until they instructed me to, they had weapons and I had just a guardian angel who is peaceful like me.

We mustn’t forget that as people we differ, and because of this we are going to react differently – even at the point of death, some are going to fight and some are not going to, but one thing is sure – those who victimize us know that we do not consent to the suffering they subject us to.

Can the guys who robbed me now say “You should have escaped”?
Can the Society now come out to tell me that I should have fought to protect my belongings?
Why then should we say to rape victims: “You should have fought hard” or ask questions like “Why didn’t you report immediately?”

What do we hope to achieve in asking these questions?
Why are we asking all these questions?
When are we going to see rape for what it is and not what we want it to be? When will “NO” really mean NO?
When will NO be enough?

I shared this to let you know that you can be raped by someone whom you feel so much safe around,
You can be raped and still not fight,
You can be raped and still sleep with the same person who raped you yesterday, and today’s approval to have sex with the one who raped you yesterday – doesn’t take away the injustices of the previous encounter.

Rape is a crime, if you take something from me today without approval and tomorrow I decide to give you the very same thing – this doesn’t mean that your yesterday’s act is justified.

Approval of today is not of tomorrow, and that of now can not be redeemed later, NO means NO – not only in awareness campaigns and social media posts, teach your friends who see others as sexual objects, that their nature is vile and inhuman.

Stop applauding them for sexualizing others.

Dear men, I know we can do better in introducing moral regeneration to our dialogues, we can talk about this at our hang-out spots, even over a few bottles of Black Label. It doesn’t matter where, but we need to confront Toxic Masculinity today in order to save tomorrow.

Men, especially in South Africa are found to be perpetrators of Rape and related crimes, and numbers may lie but they never lie entirely…

We can do better…


Dipuo Modiba

About Author

A South African-based freelance author, with a vast interest in Media and Technology. He writes stories inspired by real-life issues and he uses his voice to represent underrepresented communities.

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