Days ago, Folarin Falana, aka Falz the bahd guy released the video for his track ‘Child of the World’, taken from his third album titled 27.
The track addresses issues such as rape, depression and HIV.
While the message of the track is commendable, there are some stereotypes which the rapper perpetuates. Here are six of them:
The stereotype/myth of the good victim:
It’s part of purity culture to feel sorry for a particular type of rape victim- the good girl. The character in Falz’ child of the world is exactly that. It’s almost like the only reason we feel sorry about her ordeal is that she is a first class student and a virgin whose first experience with sex was rape.
Violence and rape happen to ‘bad girls’ too. Girls who party every weekend, who wear ‘revealing’ clothes and who have had plenty of sexual experience before. And they are no less victims.
There’s a reason people make jokes about prostitutes and rape as if it is inconceivable that they may be forced to have sex against their will because they have sex so often or trade sex for money.
‘Omoluabi ti bo sowo aye’, Falz sings, but even girls who aren’t regarded as ‘omoluabi’ by society can be victims too. And we should throw our weight behind them and fight for them to get justice when this happens.
The myth of a ‘broken’ hymen:
Her rapist forces himself on her and breaks her hymen. However, not all girls have their hymens broken during their first experience of sex. Some women might have had their hymen broken through strenuous physical activity or exercise.
There is a condition of imperforate hymen where the hymen has to be surgically removed because nothing can come out through her vagina, thus trapping discharge and menstrual flow inside her body.
For such ladies, the first time they experience penetrative sex, there will be no hymen breaking and there will be nothing as dramatic as blood-stained sheets.
Many people have disbelieved women like these, thinking they lied about their previous sexual experiences. At the end of the day, virginity is a social construct.
Downplaying the criminal and the crime:
The rapist uncle is referred to as ‘Uncle Peter agbaya’, which does not even begin to describe his heinous act. Agbaya is a far less mild term for someone who is an incestuous rapist. Calling him agbaya is like saying ‘boys will be boys’ or ‘men will be men’.
Prostitution as consequence:
It is yet another misconception that girls who are raped become insatiable nymphomaniacs or that they become prostitutes. Yes, some react to the psychological trauma by having mindless and meaningless sex, but that isn’t what happens with all victims.
Some are so scarred emotionally and psychologically that they cannot enjoy close physical contact and intimacy any longer.
Also, not all prostitutes have an abuse story. There are some prostitutes who choose to enter into that profession because they enjoy sex and wouldn’t mind being paid for it.
The runz girl reference is also a bit disturbing because Falz needs to leave runz girls alone. At this point, it is starting to seem like a fixation.
If anyone is so bothered about the culture of younger women being sexually involved, with older, richer and powerful men, perhaps he should talk about why those men are bent on going after these significantly younger girls.
Lack of punishment:
It is a known fact that rapists in Nigeria almost never face any punishment for their actions. The victim bears the pain and suffering while they just keep on living their lives. We never heard anything about Uncle Peter again but the victim is the one who contracts HIV before reverting to her good girl lifestyle.
Perhaps in future, when we depict rapists in entertainment, punishment and consequences should be a part of their story too because many agencies and governments are working on stiffer penalties for rape.
6. HIV is a result of promiscuity:
HIV is a sexually transmitted disease but it is possible to contract the virus through other means such as sharing sharp objects with an infected person. And you don’t need to have multiple sexual partners before you contract the disease. All it takes is having sex with one infected person.
Many people think only ‘promiscuous’ persons get infected with the disease but that is untrue.