On your mark, get set, let’s GET IT! We begin 2014 with our first official post. It is a rather interesting case because it is unexpected from a man who is allegedly more enlightened than the average Nigeria, given his international education and world travel, and should know better. Nevertheless, it is what it is.
Our Celebrities Behaving Badly feature has Nigerian Comedian, Basketmouth, leading the way with a horrific joke about rape. His joke, truthfully, reflects the realities of past and present Nigeria but what’s good to see is that online, at least, he was reprimanded and has since apologized for the poor taste of jokes.
TO be clear, I am not one who is down with apologies just because it may not be the political correct thing for the masses. If you believe in what you believe, stand for it and let the masses deal with it. Yes your economic well being may be threatened etc. but presumably, your values and your core are more important than money or public approval. In this instance, the joke by Basketmouth is simply horrific and as such it is good he apologized.
What Was the Joke?
Basketmouth’s joke essentially shares the challenge of an African man trying to date an African woman. After several he spends on drinks and food in the initial dating process, he tries to score sex with her. She is resistant. The man believes more spending will fix the problem. However, he is still unable to score, Basketmouth advises when the man reaches this point, the choice left is for him to rape his date, the woman.
Have we Seen this Kind of Joke on AML Before?
Should Basketmouth Lose his Endorsement Deal with Globalcom?
I met Basketmouth roughly in 2008 when he performed at a Nigerian Reunion Convention where I was an invited speaker as well as covering the event in my media capacity. I did not find him funny at all. Rather, I found Comedian I Go Die quite funny and elected to interview him instead. To date, my opinion of his jokes has not changed. Nevertheless, my personal preference does not negatethe fact that Basketmouth is a very hard working Comedian and to a large degree, has pioneered a new era for Comedians in Nigeria. He pioneered his signature Nigerian Kings of Comedy Show and created such demand that he expanded it into ‘African Kings of Comedy.’ Overall he seems fully committed to expanding the economic prospects for himself, his fellow Comedians and the entertainment industry in general.
This has indeed earned him endorsement deals including his major one with Globalcom. Since his tweeted joke yesterday, many are calling for Glo to terminate Basketmouth’s contract.
It is not that simple. Termination hinges on the morals clause in his contract, if any. Remember for entertainment deal making, talents you do not want a morals clause in your contract. If you do have one, you want it to be as liberally construed as possible to give you the opportunity to fix whatever the alleged issue is. In contrast, for brands retaining the talent, you want the morals clause. It allows you to give yourself room to exit the relationship in a case of Basketmouth horrific rape joke, Rick Ross and his alleged rape lyrics or Charlie Sheen behaving very badly, without a bloody legal battle.
What is a Morals Clause? Click here to find out.
Now, let’s get really serious here:
RAPE LAWS IN NIGERIA
As a Nigerian man or woman, you should know a few things about your country’s laws on rape. If you are also a visitor, especially a female, in Nigeria, you should also know these laws.
What is the relevant Chapter You Should Be Concerned with?
Chapter 30 with the Subheading “Assaults on Females.”
What are the pertinent laws or section governing rape?
It is pretty straight forward and self explanatory.
IF YOU COMMIT THE CRIME OF RAPE, WHAT IS YOUR CRIMINAL LIABILITY?
In a nutshell, any person (so could be man or woman) who commits rape, if convicted, receives a life imprisonment sentence.
IF YOU ATTEMPT THE CRIME OF RAPE, WHAT IS YOUR CRIMINAL LIABILITY?
If any person attempts the crime of rape on a woman or girl, he/she receives, if convicted, a 14year imprisonment term.
IF YOU COMMIT THE CRIME OF SEXUAL ASSAULT, WHAT IS YOUR CRIMINAL LIABILITY?
If you commit a sexual assault on a girl or woman, it is a misdemeanor. If convicted, you will receive a two year imprisonment term.
The only issue I have with this particular statute is that it says, the assault has to be “unlawful and indecent.” The “and” conjunction creates a loophole. Meaning, one could technically assault a woman or girl, the act is unlawful but if it is not “indecent,” then there is no sexual assault. Problematic if you ask me.
PROBLEM WITH NIGERIA’S RAPE LAWS IN GENERAL
Rape against young boys and men is not covered. The stories and sexual crimes against our young boys are equally as alarming as that on our women, especially these days. The statute should clearly expand to cover boys and men.
The other main problem is enforcement. However, thanks to social media, especially, we are seeing people begin speaking up against these crimes which is critical towards mounting pressure for criminal arrest and conviction.
The Criminal Rape Code Section provides as follows:
Assaults on Females: Abduction
357. Any person who has unlawful carnal knowledge of a woman or girl, without her consent, or with her consent, if the consent is obtained by force or by means of threats or intimidation of any kind, or by fear of harm, or by means of false and fraudulent representation as to the nature of the act, or, in the case of a married woman, by personating her husband, is guilty of an offence which is called rape.
358. Any person who commits the offence of rape is liable to imprisonment for life, with or without caning.
359. Any person who attempts to commit the offence of rape is guilty of a felony, and is liable to imprisonment for fourteen years, with or without caning.
360. Any person who unlawfully and indecently assaults a woman or girl is guilty of a misdemeanour, and is liable to imprisonment for two years. . .
FOR NIGERIANS IN AMERICA, NIGERIAN-AMERICANS AND OTHER AFRICAN GROUPS, HERE IS WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT RAPE LAWS IN THE USA.
1. One, you never want to be accused, arrested or convicted of rape. Don’t let that ever happen. “No” means no regardless of how you swing i.e. straight, gay, bi or what have you.
2. In the USA, an adoption of the British Common law system limited rape to rape by a man against a woman, just like present day Nigeria. Modern statutes, however, have expanded such definitions so gender is irrelevant.
3. In most states, rape is a first degree crime, although some states do have tiers i.e. rape in the second degree etc.
4. Full penetration is not necessary, it can be slight.
5. Each time you penetrate, it means you can be charged with yet another rape count. So, for example, you could have 15 counts of rape charges filed against you if you penetrated 15times during the course of the rape against your victim.
6. Sex with a minor is RAPE i.e. statutory rape. This is where a lot of our youths (males in their 20s onwards) of African heritage in the USA are beginning to get caught. In many states, a minor means under 18 years. However, do note that the age of a minor could vary depending on your state.
7. Also, be aware that as a convicted rapist, most states require you to become a registered sex offender, for life. Also, do note that you need not rape your victim to become a registered sex offender, sexual assault whether felony or misdemeanor can qualify you in some states.
8. Finally, married men can be rapist too. The laws in the United States of America protect married women from rape. I find it odd that many Africans think that a husband cannot rape his wife.
Let’s narrow in on California where I practice. Below are some of the relevant rape statutes you should know.
California Penal Code Section 261 deals with Rape in general | California Penal Code (CPC) Section 262 deals with Spousal rape | CPC section 261.5 deals with Statutory rape | CPC 266(c) deals with Oral Copulation by Force; and CPC 289 deals with Forcible Penetration with a Foreign Object.
Are people falsely accused of rape? Yes a lot more often than you think. Indeed, it destroys life when that occurs. Often, also, the men who get caught up in this, associate with women they had no business associating with in the first place. While bad things do happen to good people, lifestyle choices and association makes a difference in terms of the serious legal trouble you can bring on your door steps.
In 2011, the Nigerian Government launched a national rape hotline. I’ve been asking if that hotline is still functional and looking for an online presence. So far so good, I am yet to receive a response. Perhaps some of you can look into it on the ground and circle back so I can add it to this post.
Advocates Using Film to Change the Status Quo – Watch Big Daddy’s Documentary
Also Watch this Excellent Ghanaian Classic Movie on Rape Titled ‘Without Her Consent’ it Includes an Actual Criminal Trial, courtesy Reel African Digital Distributors.
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