RAPE IN LUCY JONAH’S SHROUDED SECRETS Abstract Lucy Jonah’s Shrouded Secrets recounts the causes, circumstances and effects of rape on victims. The narrative gives a vivid and realistic picture of how innocent people fall preys to sexual predators who carry out the evil called rape. This paper examines the scourge of rape which permeates the novel and the different schemes rapists employ to carry out their wicked acts as well as how such deviant acts hurt victims socially, physically and psychologically. Insights are drawn from Freud’s psychoanalytic theory to examine how characters are influenced psychologically, and affected by their actions and inactions. Poverty, quest for greener pasture, ignorance and peer influence are some of the causes of rape as illustrated in the novel. Self- help, rugged dressing for ladies, eating a familiar meal, engaging in pleasurable activities and reflecting on nostalgic experiences are suggested as panaceas to the scourge of rape in the novel. Keywords: Rape, victims, panaceas, outcast, psychoanalysis. TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER ONE Introduction - - - - - 1.1Scope of Study- - - - - - - - Purpose of Study- - - - - - - - - Methodology- - - - - - 1.4 Theoretical Background - - - - - - - 1.5 Review of Related Scholarship and Justification of Study - - 1.6 Thesis Statement - - - - - - CHAPTER TWO CIRCUMSTANCES AND CAUSES OF RAPE - - 2.1Introduction - - - - - - - - 2.3 Poverty and Broken Home - - - - - - 2.4 Quest for Greener Pasture - - - - - 2.5 Conclusion - - - - - - - CHAPTER THREE SOCIO-PSYCHOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF RAPE - - - 3.1 Introduction - - - - - - - 3.2 Social Effects - - - - - - - 3.3 Physiological Effects - - - - - - - 3.4 Psychological Effects - - - - - - 3.5 Conclusion - - - - - - - - CHAPTER FOUR SOLUTIONS/PANACEAS - - 4.1 Introduction - - - - - - - 4.2 Self- Liberation - - - - - - 4.3 The Role of NGOs - - - - - - - 4.4 Mode of Dressing - - - - - - - - 4.5 Symbolic Cleansing - - - - - - - 4.6 Culinary Delight and Nostalgia - - - - - - 4.7 The Therapeutic Effect of Sharing Experience - - - - 4.8 Conclusion - - - - - - - - CHAPTER FIVE SUMMARY, FINDINGS AND CONCLUSION 5.1 Summary - - - - - - - - - - 5.2 Findings - - - - - - - - - 5.3Conclusion- - - - - 5.4 Works Cited - - - - - - - - - CHAPTER ONE Introduction Almost all human societies have sunk low into the abyss of immorality and wickedness. Visitor attack their hosts and friends and family members betray one another recklessly. Lucy Jonah’s Shrouded Secrets beams its searchlight on sexual violence which shatters its victims in the novel and in real life. One of the primary functions of literature is to mirror social ills with a view to changing for the betterment of all. This fundamental task of literature finds a place in Lucy Jonah’s Shrouded Secrets. The novel captures the defects that mar orderliness and decency in society, beaming its literary light on the evil of rape and other domestic vices that go with it. The challenge of rape is a contemporary issue that seems to have eluded all proferred solutions. Shrouded Secrets was published in 2016 by Lucy Jonah and its major preoccupation is the scourge of rape in society. 1.1 Purpose of Study The study examines the scourge of rape and specifically highlights its causes, circumstances, effects on its victims and its solutions as found in Jonah’s Shrouded Secrets. 1.2 Scope of Study This essay is limited to Lucy Jonah’s Shrouded Secrets published in 2016 and this is because the novel is detailed enough to capture the objective of this study. It is written like a collection of short stories on the subject of rape. Relevant excerpts from other related texts are cited where necessary. In what follows, we discuss the theory that underpins this essay, the methodology, as well as well present the incidents of rape in the novel, underscoring their circumstances, causes and socio-psychological effects. This study discusses how the scourge of rape is portrayed in Shrouded Secrets and examines the solutions presented by the author. It also critically examines the socio-psychological causes and effects of rape. The study uses insight from Sigmund Freud’s Psychoanalytical theory which lays bare the psychological make-up of the characters and their personalities. Lucy Jonah was born in 1946 and grew up mainly under the custody of relatives who lived a communal life so she learnt a lot from different people. She got married around eighteen years old to a man who was fairly older than her. The marriage was fruitless so she opted out for another one that gave her two children. Around 1976 she ran a sandwich course in College of Technology, Yaba, Lagos State in Secretariat Administration and Printing Technology. She took other correspondent courses and private tutorial in the art and act of printing and publishing. Jonah once worked with the then Examination Success Correspondence as an editor but she was later taken to other departments owned by the same company. She is an accomplished writer, business woman and renowned publisher in Lagos. Some of her personal life experiences are fictionalized in her prose works, especially in The Trial of Sins. She has the following publications (novels) to her credit: When Men Were Gods ( 2016 ). The Choice (2000) Ehianuka (an autobigraphy) (2006), The Trial of Sins (2016 ), Shrouded Secrets (2016) and The Pot and the Tripod(2016 ). 1.3 Methodology The method of analysis adopted in this essay is qualitative. This means that an in-depth textual analysis of the primary text was carried out. Relevant materials like academic articles from journals, text-books and the Internet are used. Analysis and interpretation of text are based on the researcher’s understanding and that of scholars who have written on the problem of rape. The psychological approach to literature is used in this study since it deals with the human minds in relation to society. Specifically, Freud’s Psychoanalytic theory underpin the analysis of the endemic incidents of rape in the novel. 1.4 Theoretical Background The literary theory adopted in this essay is Sigmund Freud’s Psychological criticism, also psychoanalytic criticism, which seeks to know how the subconscious state of characters and writers’ states of mind are brought to the fore in literary works. Rapists and raped victims have feelings which can be better understood by paying attention to their unconscious state of being. Freud’s concept of id, ego and superego summarize how the conscious and unconscious elements of the mind influence human behaviours in the face of societal laws regulating human conducts. Ann B. Dobie maintains that the Psychological criticism is employed, “to probe the workings of the human psyche in order to understand why people act as they do” (48). Human feelings arise from the psyche, hence this essay focuses on Freud’s components of the mind which he tags the id, ego and superego and how they affect people’s behaviours (rapists and raped victims) in the case of this study. The human psyche is very complex because it goes through many stages or phases of development before it attains maturity. These psychological stages include the Oral Stage, the Anal Stage and the Phallic Stage. Charles E Bressler writes that, “as infants, we experience the oral phrase: when we suck our mother’s breast to beefed, our sexuality (or libido) is activated. Through this activity our mouths develop into an erotogenic zone that will later cause us to enjoy sucking our thumbs and still, later in life, kissing” (123). According to Wikipedia, “the mother thus logically becomes your first “love object”, already a displacement from the earlier object of desire (the breast). When you first recognized the fact of your father, you dealt with humbly identifying yourself with him; however, as the sexual wishes directed toward your mother grew in intensity, you become possessive of your mother and wished your father out of the picture. (the Oedipus) Complex” (Web). Bresseler goes on and says that “in the second or anal stage the anus becomes an object of pleasure when children take the delight of defecation and, simultaneously, realize that they are independent person who are separate from their mothers. During this stage the anus becomes an erotogenic zone” (123). It is noted in Wikipedia that this stage is between two to four years, “following the oral phase, which is split between active and passive impulses: the impulse to mastery on the one hand, which can easily become cruelty; the impulse to scopophilia (love of gazing). According to Freud, the child’s pleasure in defecation is connected to his or her pleasure in creating something of his or her own, a pleasure that for women is later transferred to child bearing. Bressler says that, “in the final phase, the phallic stage, a child’s sexual desire or libido is directed toward the genitals when the child learns the pleasure that results from stimulating one’s sexual organs”(124). Wikipedia holds that the penis or clitoris “becomes your primary object-cathexis. In this stage, the child becomes fascinated with urination, which is experienced as pleasurable both in its expulsion and retention” (web). Society has sexual boundaries which specify the extent to which a well developed genital can explore. Freud uses the Oedipus, Castration, and Electral complex to explain how the sexual organs and libido are controlled. This means that the cordial bond between a girl-child and her father or that of a boy-child and her mother must be removed. According to Bresller, “if a child’s sexual development is to proceed normally, Freud maintains, each must then pass through the castration complex. From observing themselves, their mothers, and perhaps their sisters, little boys know they have a penis like their fathers, while their mothers and sisters do not. What prevents the male child from continuing to have incestuous desires with his mother is fear of castration by his father” (124). Wikipedia calls this stage “latency period during which your sexual development was more or less suspended” (web); that is, repressed. For the girls, Bresller says that: Whereas boy must successfully negotiate the Oedipus complex in order to become a normal man, a girl must successfully negotiate the Electral complex if she is to make the transition from a girl to a normal woman. Like a boy, a young girl is erotically attracted to her mother, and like the boy, she too recognizes a rival for her mother’s affection; the father. Unconsciously, however, the girl realizes that she is already castrated like her mother. Since she knows her father possesses that which she desires, a penis, she turns her desires to him and away from her mother. After the seduction of her father fails, she turns back toward the mother and identifies with her. Her transition into womanhood being complete, the girl realizes that one day she, too like her mother, will possess a man. Through her relationships with a man, her unfulfilled desire for a penis (penis envy) will be mitigated and her sense of lack will be somewhat appeased. (124-125) Freud argues that there is a psychological riot or conflict in a girl’s sexual organ and it must be repressed. Freud’s theory as illustrated in Wikipedia states that, “the young girl, also experiences the castration complex, with the difference that her tendency is to be a victim of what Freud terms “penis-envy” a desire for a penis as large as a man’s. After this stage, according to Freud, the woman has an extra stage of development when “the clitoris should wholly or in part hand over its sensitivity, and at the same time its importance to vagina” (web). All the sexual developments which Freud explains are better expressed in his Dynamic, Economic and Tripartite model. Freud psychoanalytical theory has many models which explains human nature and behaviours. These models of the human psyche reveal the state of the mind in relation to human conducts in society. Dynamic model is the first model and it deals with the conscious and the unconscious part of human mind. Bressler writes that: our minds are a dichotonomy consisting of the conscious (the rational) and the unconscious (the irrational). The conscious, Freud argued perceives and records external reality and is the reasoning part of the mind. Unaware to the presence of the unconscious, we operate consciously, believing that our reasoning and analytical skills are solely responsible for our behavior. Nevertheless, Freud is the first to suggest that it is the unconscious, not the conscious, that governs a large part of our actions. (121) human minds are actually endowed with two parts which conflict with each other and whichever won controls a larger part of our actions either good or bad, that is, rational or irrational. Bressler goes forward to say that, “the irrational part of our psyche, the unconscious, receives and stores our hidden desires, ambitions, fears, passion, and irrational thoughts” (121). All human beings have the capacity to reason and before actions are taken, the mind is involved. Even unintentional actions and slip of the tongue emerge from our minds. Though they are considered unconscious actions. Economic model is the second model developed by Freud and he maintains that this model has two parts: the pleasure principle and the reality principle. Bressler states that: The pleasure principle craves only pleasures, and it desires instantaneous satisfaction of instinctual drives, ignoring moral and sexual boundaries established by society. Immediate relief form all pain or suffering is its goal. The pleasure principle is held in check however, by the reality principle, that part of the psyche that recognized the need for societal standards and regulations or pleasure. Freud believed that both these principles are at war within the human psyche. (122) In every society, there are the good, the bad and the ugly and the diverse people behave differently. The bad like rapists, armed robbers or corrupt leaders crave for immediate satisfaction thus Freud maintains that it is the pleasure principle which controls their actions. The good is controlled by the reality principle hence the pursue noble acts. Tripartite Model is the third aspect of Freud’s psychoanalytical theory and this dwells on the three conflicting parts of the human psyche. They are the id, the ego and the superego. M.H Abrams states that “Psychoanalytic criticism deals with a work of literature primarily as an expression in an indirect and fictional form of the state of mind and the structure of personality of the individual author” (256). This theory offers insight that can be employed to x-ray human behaviours and actions. It enables critics to probe why a deviant may rape a helpless victim and how victims feel about their pain. Dobie further asserts that “in an effort to describe the conscious and the unconscious mind, Freud divided the human psyche into three parts: the id, the ego and the superego. They are for the most part unconscious. The id for example, is completely unconscious, and only small part of the ego and the superego are conscious. Each operates according to different, even contrasting, principles” (51). Human minds are affected by different factors within a specific environment and these affect behaviours which depend on individuals desires and state of mind which in turn affect society. This is applicable to the phenomenon of rape and the mindset of rapists. The psychic drive of humans is located in their id which Dobie describes as: the repository of the libido, the source of our Psychic energy and our psychosexual desires, gives us our vitality. Because it is always trying to satisfy its hunger for pleasure, it operates without any thought of consequences, anxiety, ethic, logic, precaution, or morality, demand swift satisfaction, and fulfillment of biological desires, it is lawless, asocial, a moral. As Freud describes it, it is only striving to bring about the satisfaction of the instinctual needs to the observance of the pleasure principle. (51) Man would like to live in unrestrained pleasure if given the chance. The part of man which craves for unlimited pleasure is the id. It is the reckless and it is the part of the mind that pushes a man to rape a defenceless girl. Eward H. Straunch states that “man’s action is caused by certain subconscious impulses and forces over which he has little or no control” (96). In the same direction, Dobie goes further by stating that “the id can be a social destructive force unrestrained, it will aggressively seek to gratify its desires without any concern for law, customs, or values” (51). Dobie and Strauch agree that there is a psychological impulse or force that is the id which influences human unrestrained actions. Their position validates the view that psychological criticism can explain why certain actions are taken by characters like rapists who fail to control their sexual impulse in the face of societal laws. Within the human mind is a psychological apparatus which restrains the destructive drive of the id. This may be referred to as human conscience which checks the excesses of humans. Dobie argues that, “the ego, which operates according to the reality principle, is one such regulating agency. Its function is to make the id’s energies non-destructive by postponing them or diverting them into socially acceptable actions… it mediates between our inner selves and the outer world” (51). Every civilized human society has customs, traditions and laws which are put in place to guide against selfish and reckless behaviours. Sometimes, the need for unlimited pleasure forces a man to go against societal codes of conducts. If this is not promptly checked, it will degenerate into a society describes by Thomas Hobbes in “Leviathan”. In such society, there will be, “ continual fear and danger, violent death, and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short” (62). Society must be rid of vices and kept under a decent control. If there is nothing like conscience, that is, ego to check the id, there will be reckless destruction here and there. In the assertion of Dobie, “the superego, provides additional balance to the id, for it furnishes a sense of guilt for behaviour that breaks the rules given by parents to the young child. Similar to what is commonly known as one’s conscience, it operates according to the morality principle, for it provides the sense of moral and ethical wrongdoing” (51). The superego ensures that society is kept in perfect order as a result of this it moderates the actions of man such that no matter how cruel a human can be, there are still restraining elements controlling his actions. This is an aspect of psychoanalysis that deals with society. The belief that human psyche and environment influence our behaviours in society is stressed by Strauch who argues that, “psychic and environmental factors determine how we react and what we do”(96). Everyone has a way of reacting to societal constructs like laws, customs and traditions. While some people strive to be conformists, others become deviant. Superego, the restraining psyche of man however balances the forces which lie between “how we react and what we do” to quote the words of Strauch. On his examination of psychological theory, Wilbur Scott maintains that the application of the theory on literary texts “enables and encourages a deeper probe into the dramatization of human situation” (69-70). The scourge of rape as a social distress is one of the human situations society has been fighting from time immemorial. Every society has laid down rules which everyone is expected to adhere to but sometimes non-conformists do things in their own ways. For example, it is the same sexual pleasure a rapist gets that a married man gets form his legally married wife. A rapist, however, chooses to shun the processes and customs attached to marriage and relationship. Instead, he forcefully grabs and violates any woman to satisfy his urge ignoring sexual and moral boundaries. This study relies on Freud’s psychological principles to explore the problem of rape in society as depicted in Jonah’s Shrouded Secrets. One of the principles is the Pleasure Principle which focuses on man’s desires to readily get immediate satisfaction without regard for societal or moral laws and the other one is the Reality Principle which moderates the actions of man in line with societal laws and morals. 1.5 Literature Review Jonah’s Shrouded Secrets has not attracted critical comments as such being a recent text. This essay, however, employs critical comments on sexual misconducts in other studies. The concept of rape is examined as part of this study’s review of literature. The concept of rape and classification according to Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia is adopted. It defines rape as : a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual penetration carried out against a person without that person's consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority, or against a person who is incapable of giving valid consent, such as one who is unconscious, incapacitated, has an intellectual disability or is below the legal age of consent. The term rape is sometimes used interchangeably with the term sexual assault. The rate of reporting, prosecuting and convicting for rape varies between jurisdictions. Internationally, the incidence of rapes recorded by the police during 2008 ranged, per 100,000 people, from 0.2 in Azerbaijan to 92.9 in Botswana with 6.3 in Lithuania as the median. Worldwide, rape is primarily committed by males. Rape by strangers is usually less common than rape by people the victim knows, and male-on-male and female-on-female prison rapes are common and may be the least reported forms of rape. Widespread and systematic rape (e.g., war rape) and sexual slavery can occur during international conflict. These practices are crimes against humanity and war crimes. Rape is also recognized as an element of the crime of genocide when committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a targeted ethnic group. People who have been raped can be traumatized and develop posttraumatic stress disorder. Serious injuries can result along with the risk of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. A person may face violence or threats from the rapist, and, in some cultures, from the victim's family and relatives. (Web) Rape is a sexual intercourse carried to on a victim who is usually over powered by his or her violators. This forceful and unlawful penetration may be directed to a victim’s anus, viginal, mouth and this may be done with objects, the perpetrators’ sex organ or body parts like fingers. Once the consent of a victim is not obtained before a sexual intercourse is carried out, rape has can be said to have taken place. It is a crime that is punishable under the law but it appears that patriarchy makes male perpetrators of rape to go almost free. Relevant agencies fight rape to protect the dignity of humans especially helpless girls. Types of Rape Acquaintance Rape This type of rape occurs among people who are close, for example, co-workers, school mates, family friends and distant family members. Victims of acquaintance rape are often caught unaware because they often trust their violators prior to the attacks. Gang Rape This occurs when a group of people plan to sexually assault their victims perhaps someone who is proving stubborn to them. This type of rape often leaves victims heavily battered or in a near death state. Juvenile Rape This is sexual abuse on children. It is more of incest because children are often left in the hands of their close relatives or neighbors who turn out to be sexual predators. Prison Rape Inmates in prison cells sexually assault one another since it is sometimes difficult to express their sexual urge with the people they need. It is also linked with custodial rape ( in prison custody) where warders violate people under their care ( patients or prisoners). War Rape Soldiers are always guilty of this since victims or prisoners of war are always at their mercies. They use threat and force to sexually assault helpless people caught in war scenes.
Theft Rape This is a forceful sexual intercourse that is carried out by armed robbers on their victims. Some bandits derive pleasure in it so they assault their preys after looting them.
Ceremonial/Ritual Rape Some deadly rituals or initiations required some superior members to sleep with new in takes. This is done under a terrible condition that victims may not be able to resists therefore it leaves them brutally injured. Monica Udoette and Joy Nwiyi note that African writers do not turn a blind eye to the issue of wayward behaviour like sexual assault: Issues relating to sexual behavior and activities in African social circles have not always enjoyed the privilege of being brought to the fore. The social religious and cultural biases of Africans, as it were, seem to have kept these issues “concealed” as much as possible. However (un) acceptable sexual activities and relationship(s) within and outside African society are being interrogated by African writer in recent times. (245) Udotte and Nwiyi are correct because the issue of rape is one of the trending issues in African literature. It is a serious matter which affects the well-being of every sane society. In a bid to put a stop to it, Jonah’s Shrouded Secrets satirizes all those who celebrate or support sexual assaults. The novel reveals the evil of rape with a view to finding a permanent solution to it. As earlier noted every society has codes of conduct which must be adhered to. It is, however, disheartening that some individuals break such societal codes and norms, as Ogaga A. Obaro says, “Individual deviance is deviant behaviour involving a person acting alone contrary to established customs, mores and laws of the group or society. Thus, the armed robber, the thief, the burglar, the murderer, the rapist, the drug addict, the prostitute and so forth who acts as single individual is an individual deviant” (26-27). Ogaga clearly points out that certain individuals in society find it difficult to abide by laws guiding social conducts hence they do things in their ways, this is an act of deviance which civilized society frowns at. Jonah condemns the abuse of women especially young girls whose sexuality is violated in society that cares less for women’s rights. Rape occurs every minute and it is disturbing that little or nothing is done to discourage this ungodly act especially by those who subscribes to patriarchy. As a moralistic writer, Jonah uses her novel Shrouded Secrets to protest against rape in order to protect the interests of raped victims who die in silence. Nawal El Saadawi’s Woman at Point Zero has a similar theme of rape and sexual molestation which is at the front burner of Jonah’s Shrouded Secrets. Just like Omosigho who is sexually assaulted by his uncle, Ibekwe Ezeakolam in a study on Woman at point Zero notes most men derive pleasure in exploiting women. He asserts that “another layer of female oppression comes from men, starting from Firdaus’ father, uncle, husband Bayoumi, and Marzouk the pimp. Firdaus is passed from one abusive guardian to another after the death of her parents. A well-educated uncle repeatedly molests her sexually” and “ persuaded by his wife and taken in by the prospects of a big dowry, the uncle forces her into an early marriage with more-than –sixty-year old sheikh Mahmoud” (76). This bitter experience is echoed in Jonah’s Shrouded Secrets. It is similar to the story of Omoshigo the protagonist and Salamatu, her clinical client, Jonah and Saadawi agree that the incident of rape is alarming therefore they project it in their works as evil. Canon Gilbert O. Madubuike asserts that, “ any sexual behaviour therefore, that does not contribute to the welfare of the individual or society can be regarded as risk behaviour. Such behaviours as rape,, watching pornographic films”… (21). Every society must cultivate right behaviors which can promote and protect human dignity. Rape is a terrible sexual behaviour which has ruined many victims. Maduibuike further states that, “sexual risk behaviour has a lot of psychological and physiological implications on the survival of the human race. For example, Chukwuma (2008), assert that many victims of rape (a major type of sexual-risk behavior, suffer a lot of humiliation and even death” (27). This assertion is apt because it captures the experience of characters presented in Jonah’s Shrouded Secrets. Rape has a devastating effects on those who survive it. Jone-Frances Agbu affirms Madubuike’s assertion when she says that “child sexual exploitation involves a breach of trust or an exploitation of vulnerability and frequently both. Sexually exploited children not only face on their developing sense of their sexual identity, but a blow to their construction of the world as a safe enough environment and their developing sense of other as trustworthy” (74). Rape hurts victims beyond what can be described and that is why civil or humanitarian groups fight very hard to halt all sexual-devastating behaviours. From the foregoing, it is evident that no critical work is found to have been written on Shrouded Secrets. This essay therefore examines the scourge to underscore its socio-psychological causes and effects. 1.6 Thesis Statement In all the incidents of rape in intriguing circumstances in Shrouded Secrets, Lucy Jonah vividly presents the crudity and lasting sociological effects of rape on its victims and consequently demonstrates how the scourge should be tackled in society.
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