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Home » News » Debates » Patriarchy promotes both rape and men‘s promiscuity

Patriarchy promotes both rape and men‘s promiscuity

Publishing Date : 14 November, 2016

Author : CHARLES KUNGWENGWE

Rebecca (not her real name, of course) was gang-raped by a group of 20 armed men in Harare! Hair-raising news of this nature is always hitting news headlines.


In fact Rebecca   's ordeal is a summarized version of what is happening not only in Harare, in particular, and the entire country, in general, but across the globe, where hardly a day elapses without having heard that so and so got raped.


The problem, as I see it, revolves around patriarchal cultures. Such cultures do encourage men to have incredible sexual prowess and to take delight in feeding on a diet of sexual aggression, a phenomenon that normally finds expression in rape or promotes rape. This is the entry point of gender based violence.


Despite some protestations to the contrary, most, if not all societies, the world over, are patriarchal, that is male dominated. Save for a few countries such as India, Malawi and Botswana, all other countries in the world are deeply rooted in male domination. And the cultural gown of patriarchy has a few patches of matriarchy. Ironically, this was also the case with the U.K, during the Victorian Age (1837-1901) , in spite of the fact that Queen Victorian was the major player in the title picture then , and hence the use of such terms as ‘anaclitic love’ and ‘masochism ‘(taking delight in suffering) for women ‘and’ nascissism’ for males.    


But what is culture? According to the Merriam Webster's Dictionary and Thesaurus ,cited in Encyclopaedia Britannica (2015) ,it  is 'the integrated pattern of human knowledge ,belief and behaviour that depends upon the capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations .It is the customary beliefs ,social  norms ,and material traits of a racial ,religious or social group'. In other words it is  everything that sets one group  of people apart from others as a distinct entity and encompasses such phenomena as dressing, language, mannerisms ,customs, norms and values and  the whole way of life of life, in general.


Culture influences our world outlook (philosophy), in general, as reflectedenshrined in both our religion and laws and this was and is still mirrored in our behaviour and devil-may-care attitudes towards women. Sadly Attitudes are die-hards, especially bad ones .Unlike intelligence, that is inborn, culture is acquired through socialization, a life-long process by which the norms and values of society are inculcated into one from birth to death.

In a classical patriarchal society men perceive women as sex toys to manipulate or objects of male sexual gratification. And the situation is even worse in societies where recreational facilities are very scarce and abusing women becomes a form of entertainment.  From a tender age young boys are taught poems which glorify sex, poems which they have to rote learn stanza by stanza .And by the time they reach adulthood they would be able to rehearse those poems up to mountain tops and having to unlearn that message overnight is a mammoth task.


I need to repeat ,for emphasis ‘sake , that  even in this age  of  enlightenment ,indeed  nothing pleases a  man ,who is worth his salt, more  than the mere knowledge that he is responsible for the emotional being of a multiplicity of sexual partners. Which is why male polygamy, known as polygyny, and not the female polyandry one, is mostly fashionable. Which is also why even King Solomon, in spite of the fact that he is the wisest known man, had 700 wives and 300 concubines. (1 Kings 11:3ff).

Such men have an unquenchable sexual appetite and it is no hyperbole to assert that they would salivate at the mere sight of a woman.  Against this background, men who fell prey to HIV/AIDS and other STDs were ironically glorified 'Bhuru rinorwa rinoonekwa namavanga'(A bull that has fighting prowess can easily be identifiable through its multi bruises!.)  In a bygone era an ideal man had to have extra-ordinary abilities of seducing as many women as possible.

In sharp contrast to women who were animals of prey, men were marauding sexual predators and armed to the teeth with Cupid ‘(the Greek god of love) s bows and arrows to hunt in a thick jungle of love where his arrow rarely missed targets.
If this intimacy cannot be attained through fair means then it must be through foul ones such as rape .In this regard ,some sex crazy men ,and macho women alike,  are daring  to , and are always ready and raring to use magic ,known as mubobobo ,in order to sexually  ravage a person who has never given consent  to and  is not even aware that someone else is busy feasting on her him.


Needless to say, a patriarchal society is highly macho and its machismo is demonstrable through the subordination or violation of the rights of women.  Rape is thus one of the many tools or instrument of bringing women under control! During war times the situation is even worse when members of the weaker sex are gang-raped in-order to boost the ego of these men as well as serving the insatiable sexual drive of sex starved soldiers. In case the reader is of a nervous disposition, this writer will not venture into the plight of illegal female travellers who suffer at the hands of these gang rapists at border posts. And during war-times  it was not uncommon  for  soldiers  to rape a ‘sell-out ‘’s wife in full view of the husband  as a way of punishing  him. But who is the victim here? And what is rape?   


By definition rape is a deviant and or forcible sexual encounter between a man and a woman. In most jurisdictions, ( in which the offence is regulated by the Roman Dutch Common Law), this offence  ,as evidenced by  its definitional elements ,can only be committed by men save for a few  countries like Botswana. Though it is mostly men who are rapists some women are also perpetrators of  this vice and  hence we see in Genesis 39:6-15 ,for instance ,Portipher 's wife almost forcing herself onto  young Joseph ,the romantic magnet who was renowned for his ‘’beauty’’.Which is why in such countries  as the latter the term has had to be redefined and is now gender neutral`


It   is defined as' any person who  has unlawful carnal knowledge of another person, or who causes the penetration of a sexual   organ or instrument ,of whatever nature ,into the person of another , for the purposes of sexual gratification ,or who causes the penetration of another person ‘s sexual  organ into his or her own person ,without the consent of such other person ,or with such person ‘s consent ,if the consent is obtained by force or means of threats or intimidation of any kind ,by fear of bodily harm ,or by means of false pretences as to the nature of the act ,or, in the case of a married person ,by personating the person ‘s spouse ,is guilty of the offence termed rape’(section 141: of the Botswana penal code) .

According to the modern ,statutory , definition the offence of rape is not confined to reproductive organs but also through any object  such as a broom and through any opening such as the nose, ear and mouth if it is for sexual gratification!.   
Because patriarchy protects female offenders and discourages male victims from laying a charge, due to potential scorn from mainstream society, these culprits will continue with their deviant sexual practice. As a result patriarchy promotes female rape also. After all, and as mentioned earlier on, the well-to –do ,over-assertive  women , do  brag that they are also men and hence the machismo qualities.


This writer will also include both marital and statutory rape. Statutory rape (defilement) ,though  it involves consent, that consent is not informed given that the victim has not reached a level of mental development to a point whereby shehe fully appreciates the nature and or  implications of the act. Obsessed with the desire to feel youngish, some old sugar daddies and, jelly mummies alike, deflower the youngsters and that is indeed disturbing. How about girl children who are peddling their flesh? .Could her client also be dragged before the courts for statutory rape?


Marital rape, on the other hand, is non-consensual sexual encounter occurring within the bedroom between spouses. Unfortunately countries which are rooted in the patriarchal Roman -Dutch Common Law have the marital rape exemption clause which says there is no rape within wedlock. According to this reasoning, the payment of lobola , an integral part of  our highly patriarchal African culture ,means a wife has surrendered her conjugal rights to her husband ,even if she suspects that her husband has a risky sexual behaviour which can easily put her life in danger.


Due to lack of time and space, this writer will not venture into forced wife inheritance, another aspect of a patriarchal culture, and this practice also amounts to rape. Other similar victims are girlfriends who are raped during dates. And even 'ladies of the night' in some cases fall prey also.


 Perpetrators of rape usually raise such lame excuses  as: the lady is my girl-friend or whore; the woman was moving alone at an ungodly hour; that the victim did not fight back or scream for help(As we have noted in the statutory definition above rape does not always involve physical force); that in agreeing to come for a date she was prepared for this eventuality; that the victim was putting on such provocative outfit as the so-called miniskirt which was in essence nothing but a belt wound around her waist in such a way that nothing was left to imagination , thereby moving around naked and therefore advertising her thighs; or   putting on a skin hugging outfit that tends to hug one 's body in such a way that people can  easily enumerate all the contours of her mountainous  pair of guitar-shaped bums.


To the man concerned the lady was beckoning at him through action and action speaks louder than words. The macho-man would not want to betray his manhood by letting ‘the offer’ go. It is very strange indeed ,but not surprising  in these macho societies , that men would want to prescribe what women should wear while the latter sex is  not allowed that right and this is unconstitutional.(see section 15 of the  Botswana  Constitution  on the Equality and Non Discrimination Clause).After all ,due to global warming ,the weather is getting hotter and hotter with each passing day and ,women ,through miniskirts ,need fresh air and ,besides ,our democratic societies’ law provide for  freedom of dressing.

Additionally, dressing does not have a bearing on whether or not one’s conduct is decorous or has the praiseworthy features of human conduct. Also our constitutions provide for freedom of movement (see section 14 of the Botswana Constitution).


Be that as it may, as long there was no consent the common denominator is force and hence rape. The ground of justification, in a charge of rape, is consent, known in Latin as volenti non fit injuria. This defence must comply with a number of requirements and one of them is that it must have been given before the act. This means if the victim withdraws that consent before or during the encounter and the culprit nevertheless proceeds against the wishes of this ‘sex toy’, he can still be convicted of rape. In the same vein consent should not be after the act (post facto).

The following circumstances, inter alia, make a person incapable of consenting: those sleeping, in a drunken stupor, under hypnosis or the insane (an exception, however, is, in principle, during the lucidum intevellum period), youthfulness.
In some extreme cases someday old toddlers oftentimes fall victim to such sexually avaricious men. Maybe toddlers are also expected to be in long nappies too! That is a show or manifestation of manhood and it is hardly surprisingly then that men are oftentimes equated to a bull which hardly recognizes any boundaries when it comes to sex .Sadly, this archaic perception of manhood used to be an integral part of our culture.


 Such sick rapists, most of whom are business tycoons, do that out of the mistaken belief that this practice may boost their business fortune. Others harbour the misconception that intimacy with kids would cure their HIV/AIDS status and false prophets and medicine men are equally to blame for spreading this myth. Similarly, such spiritual men, whose minds are rooted in patriarchy, tend to force themselves onto their clients who are desperate for a cure or, alternatively, misrepresent the   nature and or effects of the act.

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