Sexual Abuse is not About Politics, it is about Humanity

Shatho Nlebgwa

For those who have been in a place of privilege, a slight change towards balancing the scales always feels oppressive. Where they are called to account for the sins arising out of their privilege, tantrums are thrown all over the room. The worst of human nature is brought to the fore. If there is a greater evil in the world than lust, envy, hate and jealousy it is privilege of any matter. The distraction flowing therefrom lasts for generations leaving a caustic scar on society which if unattended to it festers further.

The week that has just ended and the week before have demonstrated how idiotic the privileged can be. It has shown that empowered by privilege, men are savages short of any form of decency when called to account for the abuse of such privilege. Their chauvinism makes one, if they have a bit of decency and common sense in them, to cringe.

The world, thanks to the influence America bears on the world (the extent is debatable under Trump), has witnessed the sentencing of Bill Cosby for sexual assault and the confirmation hearing of one Brett Kavanaugh to the US supreme court. Both these instances highlight the demonic attitude with which society treats victims of sexual abuse and society lack of understanding of trauma or just plain indignation by men for victims of such abuse.

 It is people like Botsalo Ntuane who make the world a hell hole for women. Let me put into perspective why I bring him up on this conversation. On 27 September 2018 on or around 2140hrs using the social media platform Twitter he made the following post on his Twitter and I reproduce it here as is:

“Watching Brett Kavanaugh testimony. At risk of being politically incorrect why does his accuser emerge out of the woodwork 36 years on? She was quiet. Now a man set for a big position is humiliated on a whim! Why now? Why didn’t this woman report back then? Aah!” – @BotsaloN

There are many things wrong with this statement and I will get to it in a moment. Let me note that this comment was lauded by many people on twitter who shared his view.

Before dealing with the Ntuane diatribe, let’s reproduce herein transcript of Senator Lindsey Grahamat the Kavanaugh hearing:

“If you wanted an FBI investigation, you could have come to us. What you [Democrats] want to do is destroy this guy’s life, hold this seat open and hope you win in 2020. You’ve said that. Not me.

You got nothing to apologize for. When [you see Justices] Sotomayer and Kagan, say hello because I voted for them. I’d never do to them what you’ve done to this guy. This is the most unethical sham since I’ve been in politics and if you really wanted to know the truth, you sure as hell wouldn’t have done what you’ve done to this guy. Are you a gang rapist?”

“This is hell. This is going to destroy the ability of good people to come forward because of this crap. Your high school yearbook. You have interacted with professional women all your life, not one accusation. You’re supposed to be Bill Cosby when you’re a junior and senior in high school. And all of a sudden you got over it. It’s been my understanding that if you drug women and rape them for two years in high school, you probably don’t stop.”

The above transcript extracts and the tweet by Ntuane show the exactly why it takes women ages to come out and reveal sexual abuse cases if they do that at all. Society’s attitude has always been to ridicule, further abuse, insult and even question the integrity of those who come to the fore. It is always about the women being vengeful beings out to destroy a man’s good life. Society is always out to defend men without even taking a minute to listen to women. If and when they are given audience it is always made to seem like a favour is bestowed upon them. Worse still the process of giving them an audience is usually a charade to sooth men’s conscience (I wonder if it works).

The Ntuane tweet at the onset makes the issue of dealing with cases of sexual abuse to be one of politics. It ignores the human rights aspect and trauma aspect of it. It brings about the unfortunate presumption that those who are brave enough to come forward do so out of vengeance than anything else. His concern is not for the welfare of the victim but that of the accused especially his name. There is no doubt that humanity has weaponized sex especially to the peril of women. To continue sustaining this dynamic and defending is more cringe worthy but utterly disgusting.

A close reading of the Graham transcript shows of the weaponized nature of sex. It further suggests that sexual abuses are prescriptive in nature if the victim does not come forward. Both Ntuane and Graham, as with most of society, attach the validity of sexual abuse claims hinges on when the victims come forward with their stories. I am uncomfortable with using the word ‘claim’ as it sounds dismissive. Further, these two seek to prescribe how victims of abuse, in this case sexual abuse, should deal with trauma and come out with their stories. To them this absolves those who have been accused of any responsibility solely on the lapse of time. To them, the word of the accused is as golden as the Ritz-Carlton Presidential. Even the Ritz-Carlton has its own secrets.

The issue of sexual abuse is not about politics but humanity. It requires those in positions of influence to act in protecting the vulnerable in our society. It is about recognizing that as a society we have a problem that we need to address. It is absolutely idiotic to posit that those who share their stories do so out of vengeance. This is victimizing the victim. Mr. Ntuane and Mr. Graham should know that they are part of the reason why victims stay in the shadows consumed by their traumas which fester and destroy their lives.

It is evident that apologists such as Mr. Ntuane and Mr. Graham did not bother listen to the testimony of Dr. Ford or do they ever listen to victims of such crimes. If they ever do listen, they do so for the sole purpose of find a reason the discredit the victim and impugn their character. Their concern is to protect the male privilege that continues to perpetuate sexual violence and defend the perpetrators.

Sexual abuse is not about politics it is about humanity. It does not require you to be politically correct but to be morally correct, conscious and sensitive. It requires our collective understanding and outrage at its continued prevalence. It requires our collective outrage at those who harbour and enable sexual predators.