I sit here unsure of why I am writing this. I have been a voluntary rape victim therapist for a while now so it is not unusual to have a male victim every now and then. Maybe the difference this time is because the guy in question is a close friend of mine who knocked at my door at 2.00 pm Friday last week. I was getting final touches on my house with my backpack on my back ready to get out. I opened the door irritated. I hate this idea where my flat mates feel chatty when I have matters to attend to. But this time, the face that greeted me was one of resignation, hurt and disgust. The face of a man irritated by his own skin. The face of a man who loathes himself. I know that face too well. I have seen it one too many times; only from the other gender.
He is my flat mate. Three doors from me. He was chatty, happy and very gutter minded before then so it hurt me to see him like that. Those are the times you ask a god you don’t talk to often enough to give you strength and wisdom and a know-how of how to handle the situation. He had been raped two hours prior. He had not bathed. He had gone to the police station at Githurai and they laughed at him for reporting “free” sex. I was distraught. I am equipped to deal with the aftermaths of sexual abuse but that is a bit hard to do when it is one of my friends.
I talked to my friends at school and they told me to tell him to go to the gender desk at the police post nearest to the crime scene. He was there, I told them. They shrugged and that was that. End of that “disgusting” discussion.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I counseled him. But like most of us, I know that justice is something he will never get. He just got another personality that society will always judge him with long before they know his name. He got initiated to a community that lives at the shadows of the shadows of the “mainstream” society. A community that can love him but cannot shield him from the harshness of a society that will always judge him as immoral for being the victim of a crime to which he did not chose to be a victim to.
The story on TV today about a sodomized 14 year boy at a national school (Maseno) over three days away from his home (in Kware county) made me feel the pain of that boy. After watching my 27 years old friend brood for days, deem himself a lesser man, break up with his girlfriend of 3 years because she could not understand how a grown man like him could be sexually immoralized by another grown man, I could understand the pain of that boy. To KTN, it was another rating piece, a money slate, a story for prime time. To me, it was the pain of that boy, the fact that he did not have immediate help and the school keeps shielding the perpetrators of this highly sensitive crime.
It made me think: he was in a school with protected sodomites, how many more kids are sodomized in silence because they are not brave enough to rut out? How many boys will loath themselves in silence maybe till death? Parents take their children to school to become better people, to add knowledge or to wait to grow up. Whichever the case, no parent takes their child to school, more so a national school, to be sodomized or to become sexually frustrated.
But our society is bipolar. We are up singing about how we will fight against rape against our girls and assuming that sodomy is not rape because men are the strongest sex/gender. We forget that sexual violence is not a plate of spiced tea. We forget that even the strong fall. We forget that some actions do not choose gender. If it is wrong in one way, it is wrong in another. It’s not about the person on the receiving/ perpetrating end: it is about the consequences.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not against the feminist. I was one until I got my first male client: mercilessly violated, lost, troubled, incoherent, inaudible and scared shitless. Until it took me over a year to get them to open up, to accept what they had gone through and to learn from the rest of us who had collected their lives together and moved on. I became a gender specialist, fighting for the rights of both genders.
I think it is time that society realizes that it is no longer about the girl child alone. Life doesn’t end with women woes. What about these helpless boys, “weaker” men, non-muscular men who are abused by both men and women? Are they less of human beings because they are weak in a gender considered dominant? I think not. They need us, as a society, to embrace them, to stand with them, to fight with/for them.
It is time that the government and NGO’s (is maendeleo ya wananume an NGO? What do they do?) embrace reality and stop being gender biased. It is time to accept that women are as strong as men and men are as weak as women. It all depends with the perspective you are looking at it from. Only then will our security gender desk understand the difference between rape, sodomy and consensual and coerced sex.
Until, then, keep out of trouble if you can.

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