Sexual abuse within the context of our gender as a person is usually unwanted and thus the perpetrators forcefully take advantage of their victims which are mostly women, without seeking their consent. Stories have been told about how women are the reason for their being victims of sexual molestation based on the way they chose to dress.

   However, underneath the counsel people dish out to women about their dressing is the myth of men’s uncontrollable urges. Rape as the final result of sexual abuse is not so much about sex and seduction, as it is about the use and abuse of power. Rapists do not see clothes worn by these women; they see a potential victim. It is not the prospect of sexual intercourse that entices them but the thrill of breaking somebody’s spirit and discarding such a person afterwards.

  Hence, justifying a biased treatment of people based on their outward appearance is purely unreasonable. If we go by that argument, a politician who has fed on public resources deserves more courtesy because he appears in well starched and ironed agbada. His dispossessed victim who cannot afford to match up his sartorial tastes, should be addressed shabbily because of the way they dress? People should be treated fairly solely on the basis of their humanity and not merely on their physical appearances.

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  Rather than challenge known assaulters among us to do better, we place the unjust burden of reprimand on the victims of assault. Rather than let reality challenge the myth of clothes as protection against sexual assault, we hold onto comforting, yet hollow dogmas.

  It is very funny when Africans echo the idea that revealing clothing leads to sexual assault. Not until the time of colonisation, and even well after, many African women barely wore clothes. Most of them had no use for clothing. Yet, the men in those societies – at least judging from the nostalgic accounts taken from traditional societies were far more restrained in their conduct than the so called “civilised men” who convince themselves they are incapable of self discipline. Till now in some rural areas, people still dress in scant clothing. Those that make too much about clothes do so because they have yet to understand the psychology of sexual violence.

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  In recent times, the number of cases is alarmingly high which includes that of a 13-year-old Elizabeth Ogbaje in Benue State who was allegedly raped by both father and son, eventually resulting to her death. In the same state, a 38-year-old man raped his 7-month-old daughter. In Kaduna, five men raped an 18-year-old and another 13-year-old also raped in that state. In Oyo State, we saw the unfortunate case of 18-year-old Barakat Bello who was raped and stabbed to death by hoodlums in her father’s compound.

The number of cases is unacceptably high. The victims range in physical appearances, age and even the scenes where the crimes occurred. An inquiring mind would ask what connects all these victims mentioned above. The answer for those ready to confront the bitter truth is “lack of self control in men”. The truth is that most assaulters do not look at clothes, they look past them. A man who rapes a woman whose body is all hidden in a burba does so because he thinks she is a perfect victim. He surmises that such a woman would be too ashamed that her religious ostentation failed her and would, therefore, never speak up. The rapist who picks a woman in a revealing clothes bases his choice on puritan society’s bias against such a woman. He thinks such a woman is pre-judged as morally loose, and so will not be taken seriously. Working on our sanity is a better approach to this incessant rape cases occurring everyday. 

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  1. Those who blame the dressing of a female as the reason for her been sexually molested or rape are still very ignorant of the fact that defiling a woman deals to a man’s physical strength and sexual urge. It has nothing to do with her dressing, why not blame a 8 months old rape victim of been seductive with her diapers and socks!

  2. Nigerian ladies need to avoid dressing in provocation ways in order to reduce the rate of rape incidents in the country.
    Though rape is an affront to the dignity of womanhood, it should be condemned in the strongest terms.
    Women are no longer ashamed of exposing their bodies in public. Even dresses which do not expose their bodies are sewn so tight that no one is left in doubt about the objective. It is the age of dress-to-kill. Indecent dressing is a provocation and it is the issue which decent societies must address.
    The way you dress is the way you will be addressed. Women should learn to elevate their self-dignity. Why do they post half nudes in adverts and magazine covers? Why are women so willing to expose their God-given delicacies to naked eyes?
    Women should be told in clear and unequivocal terms that indecent dressing constitutes sexual harrassment!!!
    Iwueze Ogechi Precious

    1. Women are not to be blamed for being victims of sexual molestation. This is the 21st century, I don’t believe that “dressing provocatively” should be shifted to women, there by justifying such act from the men. It has been seen that both men and women now dress how they like. Appearance or choice of clothing on the part of the ladies should not be another reason for men to misbehave, because whether or not a lady wears less clothing, it is still bound to happen. Men who engage in such should learn to discipline themselves. If the situation were reversed, men would never be blamed for dressing inappropriately. You can’t steal meat from a pot of soup and say it was because the soup was left uncovered. There should be no reason for anyone to be abused, even if she decides to come out in nothing. There is no law that states men that can now molest the women if they dress provocatively. Please let us be guided now and stop giving excuses for people’s misconduct.

      Ezeiruoma Stephanie.

    1. We need to start telling ourselves the truth.
      This is the 21st century and someone’s dressing has nothing to do with molestation. I’ve heard several cases of young girls/ minors being molested. Would we say that these girls dressed provocatively too? Putting my sentiments aside, i strongly believe that it is nobody’s business if you dress well or not, people should learn to control their sexual urges as they are not animals.
      Moreover, we would not be talking about dressing if its a male’s molestation case.

      Odinanwa Onyinye

      1. Rape is as a result of lack of sexual control.
        Women’s dressing is the reason or cause of sexual harassment or rape but people’s lack of control over their sexual urge.
        Young girls who are not even up to 13 years have been victims of rape do not dress provocatively but are decently dressed.
        So the only solution is for men to control themselves sexually. Simple!

  3. Women provocative dressings shouldn’t be the reason for rape. Because even litlle children who aren’t exposed to anything yet are still being raped. Most times raping is not caused just by provocative dressing. Most times it is the sexual urge of men.


  4. I believe everyone is created with self control so I don’t see how a woman dressing provocatively would make a man want to defy her without her consent
    Any man doing such is psychotic and needs help. This is the 21st century and we all need to start telling ourselves the truth

    Obasi Ezinne Deborah


    Women’s provocative dressing is indeed one of the reason for this sinful act of rape. Why will girls of this modern world choose to dress in a seductive way and expect not to be raped by men? Is high time we tell ourselves the truth, this western culture of dressing is causing more havoc than good to our society. Who told girls of this modern world, that the only way to look good is by dressing half naked. Our mothers in the times of old were well clothed and still got married to their husband and there was hardly no case of rape compare to this modern world.
    It is high time we look into this matter of indecent dressing because it is not adding any value to us. Why must we see something wrong both in the sight of God and men and call it right!! Dressing indecently has nothing good to offer.

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