Busola Dakolo, Biodun Fatoyinbo, and the Role of The Church in Sexual Assault #Churchtoo

I should preface this post with the disclaimer that I am pissed! Normally, I would take some time to reflect on an issue before writing about it, but I deliberately want to write this post while I'm still feeling very angry. So if you are Nigerian or somehow you have found your way to Nigerian Twitter then you must have heard of Busola Dakolo who bravely and courageously shared her story earlier yesterday. What is this story, you ask? She gave an exclusive interview detailing her alleged raped by COZA's Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo. She alleges in painstaking detail how Fatoyinbo found his way into her life, groomed her, and when the time was right walked right into her house and raped her. She was only about 17. There is a lot to dissect on this issue, mostly because this is a problem that is a symptom of a much larger problem we are facing today. Generally speaking, the Church as an institution has been notorious for protecting rapists and other predators. And I am SICK of Christians turning a blind eye to this. I am also sick of pastors and the likes being conspicuously silent on the issue of rape and sexual abuse in the Church. Most of all, I am sick of enablers who continue to worship these so-called men of God who are predators.

Let's start with this specific case. Ordinarily, any allegation of rape or sexual assault is enough to make any sane person angry. But this is far worse. In 2013, Ese Walters, then media personality narrated her ordeal with this man and how he allegedly sexually assaulted her in his hotel; how he took advantage and manipulated her; and worse, how he has done this to a slew of other girls. He went unpunished.  His response was that he would give a "robust response". He never did. For years, whispers have been circulating of how this man used his position and charisma as a "man of God" to lure girls, convince them that he was their "spiritual father", and when they were completely vulnerable, would rape them or sexually assault them in one form or another. The unfortunate part is this man has never once been held accountable. His church has been growing. If anything, he kept on being ostentatious: he would throw fancy yacht parties in Dubai, and he would throw banquets to welcome dignitaries and pastors from America. For lack of a better word, the man is tacky. I have read my Bible enough to know that that kind of greed and excessiveness is not of God. And since by their fruits you shall know them, I knew something had to be up with him and frankly, that specific church. This man is so audacious that when he would finally respond to Busola Dakolo's accusations yesterday, homeboy basically equated himself to the Church. As far as he is concerned, an attack on him is an attack on the church. I can't even. I really can not.

Secondly, churches in Nigeria are too powerful. There is no oversight of any kind, no regulations, so they do what they want and when they want to. Now because Nigerian Christians worship their pastors a little to much, you can see the problem. People, develop your own personal relationship with God. Yes Christ really implored us to find a community of like-minded people to worship with and that will always make it necessary to be a part of a Bible-believing church. But no man is your spiritual leader, your pastor is not your "daddy".  Jesus died and rose on third day, and then left us with the holy spirit for direct access to God. Most of all, we are charged to call out BS in the Church. When Jesus was here in human form, He did not suffer fools gladly at all. Over and over and over again, we see how the Church in the Bible brought issues to the forefront and dealt with it.  Not cover it up and hope that by some magic it disappears.  We need churches [all over the world] to maintain this same energy. When there is evil in the church, call it out and when necessary hand the guilty parties to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Protect victims and fight for victims.

If you are privy to atrocities committed by your pastor or by your church, and you don't speak out or if you still go and worship in that church (COZA, in this case), you are complicit. You are not a person I want to know  because light has no business with darkness. And if you stand for evil and injustice, we have nothing to do with each other. My loyalty is not to any man of God or any church. my loyalty is first of all to God. I can wake up and leave my church today. Hell, I have done it before. I don't understand the silence of other Nigerian pastors on this matter. I don't understand how those Instagram pastors whose voice are normally loud and vocal when it's time to say feminists are going to hell fire, I don't understand how and why they are quiet now. I do not understand how those "mommy pastors" and "mommy GOs" who know how to condemn women for wearing short skirts or not being virgins, why can't we hear from them? Anyway, the rest of us will speak up for them.

The part that scares me is the amount of Nigerian parents that have subjected their kids to abuse in the hands of pastors or so called respected people in the society, only for those kids to be sexually assaulted. When they dare speak up, they are accused of one thing or another. I have never really understood what it feels like to suck up to a pastor. I have never even had a personal relationship with any pastor in any church I have attended.  This is largely due to my upbringing. First of all, we went to a church where the pastor could get audited. So accountability is at my core. But second, my parents were never those weirdos who would send their kids to the pastor's house to do chores or some nonsense. Olorun maje.  I want to emphasize that I do not think Busola's parents were like this. In fact, her mom was initially skeptical of the man, so props to them.

But this is a larger issue in Nigeria. Too many Nigerian women have been sexually assaulted and mostly by people they know and people their parents trusted. Women have been sharing their stories since yesterday and it's disheartening. It is also not an exaggeration to assume that about 80% of Nigerian women (in my generation) have been assaulted at one time or another. This is why I always implore men [and women too, of course] to watch how they react when stories like this come out because some of your loved ones who have been victims are watching you to see if you can be trusted to listen when they eventually share their stories.  And I promise you, I am certain you know someone who has been assaulted even if they still cannot share their stories because of fear of stigma or shame. And if someone reading this is one of those people, you still do not have to share your story if you don't want to.  Many people are also wondering why Busola is only just coming out with her story. The Igbos have a saying, whenever you wake up is your morning. This is Busola's morning. I will also say Nigerians are an interesting bunch. How is someone supposed to report rape when your lawyer, your first point of defense is already judging you? We see them on Twitter, we see how they talk about victims. Or when the police is acting as a mediator and begging your parents to just forget about reporting.

Let me make this clear, even if Busola was a full blown prostitute, she did not deserve to be raped. But Busola was a seventeen year old girl whose naiveté was taken advantage of and who was violently raped by a man who told her to be grateful that a man of God raped her. Pause. I need to breathe. Nigeria is an interesting place because there is a faux morality everywhere. So Busola was a perfect victim, if there ever was one. She is married to a successful and famous musician, she is a Christian, a businesswoman: the point is she needed to be perfect before she could be believed. If she was single, or if she smoked and drank, or had piercings and tattoos, well, I guess you can guess what comes next.  So I want to commend Busola's bravery and courage for doing this. Busola, we see you. We stand by you. We support you. Most of all, we believe you. We also need to do better for every person that has been a survivor of rape and sexual assault. You do not need to be perfect to tell your story. For every Busola out there, we need to do better by them.

One more thing. When a Muslim does something bad, y'all start disturbing other Muslims to "denounce" that Muslim. This is nonsense by the way, because when one White man shoots up a school because mommy hurt him as a kid, I don't automatically think of all White men as shooters, neither do I automatically make it the burden of all White men to criticize him. I will make an exception this time around: y'all, DRAG us Christians. Call out the BS and make sure that every Christian you know denounces this man and this act. Because if they don't then they are complicit so CALL THEM OUT. If you are quiet about your pastor’s rape, you are complicit. If he continues to be your pastor, then you’re just weird at that point.

People are asking him to step down from his position, that's his life's problem. I want the law to take effect. I want a world where rapists and sexual assaulters are tried, prosecuted, and sent to jail. I want justice. And I want victims to be protected at all cost. I want a system where people are not raped, but if it does happen I want a system that does not fault the victim for the actions of the perpetrator.

Love, and some justice,


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