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We Need To Stop Rationalizing Rape

Velvine Nungari did not ask to be assaulted

BY Joan Thatiah

Mar 25, 2021, 02:27 PM

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Yesterday was a sad, sad day. COVID-19 numbers were at an all-time high with hundreds in the hospital, we learned about the death of President John Pombe Magufuli of Tanzania and the news broke about an alleged assault on a young Kenyan woman named Velvine Nungari.

This story was recounted to blogger Edgar Obare by Velvine's friends and appeared on his Instagram Stories on Thursday, 18 March 2021.
Edgar Obare's Instagram stories: 18 March 2021
It seems that Velvine's friends messaged Edgar and explained that three weeks ago, on the evening of Tuesday 23rd of February, 24-year-old Velvine allegedly went on a date with an acquaintance.
Wanjiru Luna Instagram stories: 18 March 2021
These friends say that she was excited and texted with her friends all evening. However, they explained, she didn’t make it home that night which was seemingly unlike her. At noon the next day, her friends allege that she called her best friend begging her to come and get her from a hotel in Kiamumbi.At this point Velvine's friends say that hotel staff informed them that Velvine had come in with a man, a frequent client at the hotel, the previous night. They say that they found her drugged, lying face down on the bed. They allege that they rushed her to the hospital where they claim she presented with several cervical fractures and a broken spine. Velvine died three days later and her death notice was published on 15 March, 2021.
Wanjiru Luna Instagram stories: 18 March 2021
The matter has was reported at Kiamumbi Police Station and on 19th March, Joseph Murimi, a 33-year-old man was arrested and detained in connection to Velvine's murder.
Wanjiru Luna Instagram stories: 18 March 2021
I can’t even begin to imagine the agony she suffered or how heart-broken her loved ones are. What I am heartbroken about is the reaction her ordeal has evoked in a section of Kenyans. I have read posts by men and women saying that Velvine deserved all that happened to her because she went on a date with this man. That she should have known better than to go into a hotel with him. And we can't help but wonder why this is?
Obituary as it appeared in Daily Nation
It’s hard to believe that in 2021, there is still confusion concerning where the blame lies when rape happens. But because we still have people out there trying to blame a woman for getting raped, we surely will not tire from talking about it?What we need to do is stop trying to rationalize rape. It’s immoral and it’s a crime and it needs to stop. End of story. All these questions we have people asking. What was she wearing? What time was it? Oh, she agreed to go into his house? These questions have no place in this conversation. It doesn’t matter where a woman was or what she was wearing. Nothing a woman can do makes it right for someone to rape her.

Invoking Images Of Female Relatives

Oh, and while we are at it when making our case against rape, let’s stop telling people to imagine that the victim could have been their sister or their mother. What happens when we do this, people begin rationalizing the rape. You will have someone thinking, Oh, but my sister would never be out that late at night, or my mother would never wear that. So we have people thinking that because their female relatives could never be in situations similar to the rape victim, then what happened to her can be justified.

All women are deserving of respect. Equally. By telling a man to imagine a rape victim as his female relative, you are being unfair to that woman who is not a mother, who does not have a brother, or who did not grow up with a father. It is sexist. It is suggesting that a woman should only be valued and respected by those around her if she is valued and loved by a man. 

Another important, fact that we all seem to forget when we are telling a man to imagine a rape victim as his female relative is that a big number of women and girls are raped by male relatives or men well known to them. Telling men to imagine that the women known to them could be rape victims thus becomes counterproductive.

Rape is rape. Period.