Rape Victim, Public Opinion Vrs the Rapist— the story of Mr Isaac Kyei Andoh

About 9 years ago at Ablekuma, I had an encounter that’d forever change the way I look at an allegation however convincing it sounded.

There was this lady who lived about 3 houses opposite where I lived. She was almost always seated in front of a saloon adjacent my place so, in the spirit of ‘neighbourliness’, I greeted her anytime I walked past the saloon. The more you greet people, the more you begin to see each other as friends. I view of this, we moved from greetings to “how are you doing?”

I was almost always with a movie so she requested that after I’m done watching it, I should let her have it. This evolved to become a constant exchange of movies for close to two months. It all took place in front of the saloon and so I was shocked when one day she knocked at my door to request for a movie. She stood outside while I fetched the CD for her, it happened a second and a third.

Never did this go beyond she standing behind my door to collect a movie, not even once.

All this while, I didn't know her exact door in the compound house she lived. The motivation wasn’t there to go beyond this because aside from being older than me (that’s, I never do older women), I was dating and my girlfriend was known to my landlady.

One day, I locked myself in the room to watch some movies on my laptop. I was completely shut out of my surroundings because I was using a headphone. If you love to watch movies with headphones, you’d know that it gives you an extra focus.

Then I head a very aggressive knock on my door, it was quite unusual. When I opened the door, behold, there was my landlady, she asked me to come out. When I did, she held my hand, said nothing and just dragged me to her room. I was lost but kept my composure.

It was the very first time I entered her living room and there I was, confused as to what had necessitated that.

She sat me down, she was practically shivering, took a deep breath and asked me if knew the lady I’ve been referring to in this post. It was difficult making out her name but after describing her, I got to know that she was the was.

Apparently, the night preceding that day, while with her boyfriend, a land guard with whom they had a child, another man came to call the lady through her window. When pressed as to who the person was, the lady told her guy that it was me and that I have been doing that regularly despite several warnings from her.

She showed him to my house.

The guy pulled a cutlass to come a confront me at my place but luckily for me, because the door was locked, he turned back after creating some scene in the house. I heard none of it but everyone in my house was out there to witness what went on.

I told my landlady all I knew about her and the fact that I didn't even know the door to her room, let alone her window.

For over eight hours, the guy, joined by two others kept loitering around with the hope of seeing me and possibly lynching me. I was kept in my landlady’s room throughout the period despite my insistence to meet him and the lady to explain things to him. I thought that upon seeing me, the woman would confirm that I’m not the one. To me, it was a case of mistaken identity.

But you don’t negotiate with land guards, the only language they understand is violence when their ego is bruised. I didn't understand this, my landlady did and insisted that I remain there until the guy leaves for his own house. He lived at Palas Town, over 6 km away from where his girlfriend lived.

At about 8 pm when he was gone for over an hour, my landlady asked me to come out, together, we went to the lady’s house, with her landlord present she was asked about the incident. I was waiting for her to say that the guy got it wrong and that she wasn’t referring to me.

I was wrong, I had the shock of my life when the lady insisted that it was me. She even had the gut to ask me: how many times have I not warned you about this?

Just typing this has got me a bit emotional, I can almost see her lying with absolute confidence.

At this stage, I went ‘word-rupt’, all I could say was: I won’t curse you because I know that if I do, it’d come to pass, if I have ever seen your window, or seen your door prior to today, a car should knock me and kill me.”

Her landlord insisted that I overturn know, I declined and told him that if nothing at all, liability was on me and I know I haven’t done that.

My landlady put in a word for me, swearing that I can never do what the lady accused me of because I am very well behaved.

The next day my landlady led me to a man said to be head of all the land guards in Ablekuma, his official title is Asafoakye (meaning head of the army), the man in whose hands the protection of the lands was entrusted.

He called the lady and got her boyfriend to be present so that the matter is resolved once and for all.

I told my part of the story, the lady maintained her story,

The guy agreed to let go of the issue with the intervention of the Asafoakye and even told me to thank God that our path didn't cross that day.

The matter was closed because the guy agreed to forgive me and not that the lady had told a lie. It was difficult to draw such a conclusion and the consistency and fluency with which she repeated the issue made it more difficult. Indirectly, I was guilty.

To appease him, I had to give him a crate of club beer as a sign that the matter won't is revisited.

With my experience, no rape allegation is true until proven so, I won't call such an allegation a lie or treat it as the gospel.

If I am forced to give the benefit of the doubt to someone, then the accused gets it because the court of public opinion is predominantly against the accused in rape matters. They pay the price before the court makes a determination.

The law says that until one is proven guilty, he is innocent, not partially innocent or partially guilty: he is totally innocent. At the same time, we shouldn’t treat people who make allegations of being raped as liars, we will discourage victims from coming out. Even as we point to the inconsistencies in some of the claims, we should bear in mind that not all victims are able to tell their stories in a convincing way.

The opposite is also true, some liars are able to cook perfectly coherent allegations.

This is why we should leave everything to due process and allow the system to make a determination. This is not the place to pronounce people guilty.

To you the ladies too if you can tell over hundreds of thousands of people on social media that you have been raped, then you should have the courage to use the opportunities provided by the law

This is not the place to report rape, you won't get justice is here.

Be wise, use the right medium to address your issues.

The judges here will destroy you and the one you accused in equal measure.

And to you out there, if you claim a rape allegation is true, then another also has the right to say that it is false.

The accuser is as much a human as the accused. You cannot take one side of the issue and judge another for taking the other.

Who made you a judge?

It is also important we start treating rape seriously at both ends in equal measure: the punishment for rape should be the same as the punishment for false rape allegations. That’s my opinion

There is a reason 99% of the times I don’t share an opinion when rape allegations dominate this space, it’s more complex and goes beyond the narations that inform the basis for our judgement.

Has he raped her? No
Is she lying? No

Which is which? Ask the judge

Isaac Kyei Andoh

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