Today was supposed to be a “Terrific Tuesday”. Good Terrific. First day in the faculty as a final year student, my teeny weeny afro out there for everyone to see and say :
“Oh my God, Chimdinma, you cut your hair!”…
“Why did you cut hair!”…
I woke up feeling very positive and when I finally wore my “school uniform”, I said to my roommate “I think I look decent today”. I always look decent actually. With a positive mind, I got dressed for the faculty.
My only makeup was my smile. And a little powder.
I needed to talk to a lecturer on some project topics I had picked. I had called her a day before and so I was ready. She turned out to be great, she gave me ideas and helped me think outside the box and said she wouldn’t mind supervising me. I was super happy. After our interaction, she asked that I help her collect a course review paper from the Sub-Dean.
Sub-Dean : If you’re here for transcript or whatever, go the faculty officer……
Me : Sorry Ma, Dr. A, sent me…
I was barely in the room when she asked me to stop…
I began adjusting my blouse and skirt and bag and everything.
Sub-Dean : Do you realize what you’re putting on is inappropriate?
I assumed she was referring to my “black and black”…and then I said “Ma, I thought we were allowed to put on black on black”
Sub-Dean : I mean do you know that your skirt is short?!
Me : Really Confused. I have no idea Ma.
Before I could make a move, she got out her phone and took a picture of me. She then commanded me to come take a look.
Sub-Dean : Now would you say this skirt is “above, on or below the knee?”
Me : I didn’t know what to say really and so I just said “a little bit above the knee Ma”
And then the rants came. She began talking about how I looked inappropriate and asked if I thought the boys would come talk to me because I looked pretty. No. She said. She said, they would come because they needed something from me and once they got it, they would leave.
She told me about her undergraduate days, how she had so many male friends and how they would always tell her that they knew the difference between “Party materials and wife materials”…
Apparently, I was the party material.
While she was saying all these, two men were seated in her office. She introduced one as the new Oil and Gas lecturer. And that was when that one, a black fat man, deemed it fit to comment.
He tossed his phone from the chair where he sat, to where I stood beside the Sub-Dean and asked that I bend down to pick the phone so they could see the back of my skirt.
I FELT SO VIOLATED AND ABUSED.
…because they were all acting like I was some kind of badly dressed lady. I can’t even explain how humiliated I felt.
And so I bent down, like a responsible lady would bend down in public to pick his tossed Nokia torch.
Now I wish I shoved that phone into his mouth. I wish I made him swallow it. I wish he chocked from it.
And then he asked why I bent that way? And went ahead to say I bent down that way because I knew my skirt was short.
Jesus Christ! Even if I was tying a wrapper, I would have still bent down that way, with my side, as though I’m greeting in a yoruba manner and not with my buttocks out.
And then he laughed. God. This wicked laughter.
The second man, a lean man, began spitting out the venom in his mouth.
He told a story of an article he had read on Facebook. About a girl who bought a phone case for her phone and when her father asked why she did, she said she needed to protect the phone cos it had value. And her father replied, asking why she puts so much value on a phone yet little on the body. Why was there a need to protect the phone but not her body parts.
He said this story, looking at me, like I was putting on only bra and pant. He went ahead to say that whenever he talks to a lady and she begins adjusting her clothes, that he usually walks out and ends the conversation.
This he said with a look of disgust on his face.
The Sub-Dean then said… “and if we get rapped we would say it wasn’t our fault.” Why would a woman say such?! How dare?! To think she’s a lawyer. I was mentally screaming :
Short Skirts Don’t Rape. Rapists Rape. And my Skirt isn’t even Short. And no lady, absolutely no lady, deserves to be raped. Even the sex workers. No one!
They said a whole lot of things. I would spare you all the details.
I was angry.
I was weak.
I was disgusted.
I wished I wore a really short skirt then. I wished my boobs were popping like popcorns. I wished I used too much makeup. I wished I painted my nails hot red. I wished I applied a hot red lipstick.
Maybe I would have deserved their rants and BS talk. But I was the good girl. I was supposed to be decent.
She said I should never put on the skirt to the faculty.
Oh, and I’m never taking that Oil and Gas law as an elective. A man that would toss his phone and ask that I bend down to pick it up isn’t worth learning from. Tufiakwa.
My Tuesday wasn’t Terrific after all. 😦
After the experience and with anger in my soul, I got my friend, Dolapo Osobu, to take me pictures. Starting with the back of my skirt.
I won’t let anything kill my joy this semester.
I won’t let anything and anyone steal my joy. I would graduate this year and I would write a very beautiful long essay with a wonderful supervisor. I would become a lawyer who would scream to anyone that cares to listen :
NOBODY DESERVES TO BE RAPED!!!