I heaved a sigh of relief when I saw Asabe raising her hand bag and reaching out to open the car door. I had all kinds of scary thoughts racing through my head, when I saw her pack the car and not come out of it five minutes after. I reached the car at exactly the moment Asabe stepped out of it. Without the salams or any other greeting, she pushed the newspaper into my hand and said:
‘What would you do in her place?’ She asked.
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‘What would I do in whose place?’ I asked, confused.
‘The woman in this story, would you side with your daughter or with your husband, if you were in her shoes?’ She asked again.
‘Well it depends on the reason I am being forced to make the choice. Was that the reason you parked and remained in the car like someone suffering a health crisis? You see, I had seen you drive in from my kitchen window so I went to the front door and waited, but five minutes later there was no sign of you so I had to come and check.’ I explained.
‘I’m sorry I got you worried. But I was just about to leave the car, when my handbag slipped from the passenger seat onto the floor. I was trying to pick it up when the newspaper also fell down and opened right on to this page. The headline caught my attention and I had to sit back and read the unfortunate news. I was very busy all day I didn’t get the chance to read the paper at work. I planned to read it after I got home. So I decided to see you first and then rush home before it’s time for Magrib. Unfortunately, I had to waste some of that time on this sad story.’ Asabe concluded.
‘Well, let me read it first, then I can tell you whose side I am on.’ I offered, walking next to her towards my front door.
‘No, let me tell you the story in brief since we are racing against time. You see a young lady was reported raped as a result of which she is expecting a child. The rapists include her 50-year-old stepfather and his 60-year-old neighbour. While reading the story, I was telling myself that I could kill such a husband if I were in his wife’s place. And that was why I asked what you would do if it was you married to this monster.’ She explained.
‘Be sure that if I were to catch him in the act, I would have no second thoughts about killing him. I will grab whatever weapon I can lay my hands on and simply hit him with it because this is my daughter we are talking about and his being my husband just isn’t important. In any case what good is a husband who can defile your daughter? This is a girl who is supposed to be his daughter because a stepdaughter is virtually no different from one’s own daughter. Additionally she is a minor. Yet he overlooked all that in pursuit of his lust, how can such a man deserve consideration from either his wife or the society at large? You know in Islam, a man cannot even marry the daughter of a woman to whom he was married, if the marriage was ever consummated, and this is a Quranic injunction. What then do you think is reserved for the man who had carnal knowledge of his stepdaughter without marriage? Such a man should just be taken to a Sharia court where he will get the death sentence because adultery is a capital offence in Islam. And that is what I would do, if I didn’t catch him redhanded but learnt about it afterwards.’ I replied.
‘Exactly Bint. That’s also why I remained in the car to calm myself down. I was boiling with rage when I reached the end of the story, especially the part where the other randy old man, the 60-year-old neighbour, was saying that he was with the girl thrice and had been giving her between N200 and 50 naira.’ Asabe said.
‘Oh my goodness, then we are not talking rape here Asabe, we are talking about the luring and seduction of a minor. An immoral old man who probably has daughters older than she is, joined her equally immoral stepfather to defile her. How unfortunate. But we can’t let this pass by like any of the cases that vanish into thin air.
We are going to mobilise our members and members of other women groups to demonstrate again these paedophile rapists. We will campaign that all such men should be castrated as a measure to stop them from defiling any innocent girls in future. Where Sharia law is in force we must campaign for the death penalty because that is what Islamic law stipulates for adultery. Whatever happens we must make sure that beginning with the two neighbours published in this newspaper, no rapist or child molester will ever dare it again. He won’t have the weapon with which to inflict harm on any girl in future.’ I opined.
‘Yes Bint, additionally, we must make some radio jingles in which we will enlighten young women on how to identify immoral overtures of dirty old men and resist them. They must be encouraged to report such overtures even if they were from uncles and stepfathers and to desist from accepting money or gift from men who make such gestures towards them.’ Asabe suggested.
‘You are right Asabe such jingles will go a long way in preventing rape cases among our vulnerable young women. But we must also liaise with Muslim scholars, and urge them to frequently preach against adultery in mosques and on broadcast media. Such immoral old men seem to have forgotten the divine punishment for defiling young women and so they lure them with money and abuse them. They should be reminded. The young women too seem to have no knowledge of the religious implication of giving themselves to men for money, such preaching will surely enlighten them and prevent them from falling victim.’ I concurred.