In Sierra Leone, there is a common experience. The majority of the poor expect anyone with money or opportunities to share those resources with them. This disenfranchised majority has the courage to beg or ask anyone for free help. If one were grabbed during the perpetration of a crime, the police officers would probably prefer a bribe to justice. If a student flunked a test or exam, that teacher or professor would probably require money to pass them. Do you understand my point? When we have people, who consider themselves low in luck, who live a difficult life, accept bribes to look the other way, we have a systemic gap.
The Croix of this reasoning is that the needy have few alternatives to get what they need…
Consequently, gender comes into play when we base our ethical postulates on corruption. On one hand, a poor male may endanger his life or freedom to commit a violation to get what he needs to afford. On the other hand, we leave a needy female with options like hooking, begging, or staying without. Of course, weak men can also solicit as prostitutes or stay without. Furthermore, one can also argue that when we base a marriage on hypergamy, it becomes another form of hustling. The Croix of this rationalization is that the needy have few to no alternatives to get what they need. So they offer sex, commit crimes, or go without.
In 2017, I decided to return to Sierra Leone after twenty-three years abroad (USA, Canada, and Europe). I was a diplomat and a Grammy nominee who had published seven books. Since I had naturalized abroad, I now needed a visa. Upon arrival at the airport, I presented my diplomatic passport containing my visa from the Embassy of Sierra Leone in Brussels. However, after examining my visa and passport, the immigration officer at Lungi International solicited me for a bribe. Bear in mind that I had the correct documents. As he held my diplomatic passport, his solicitation was based on the notion that he is underpaid at his job.
I gave the officer a few dollars and continued to the next area, which was luggage claims. When I got there, several employees in the baggage claim conveyor belt area asked me for money. They pretended to retrieve my luggage, but they didn’t. I gave them a few dollars and advanced to the next area, which was customs. About five officers were standing there. Everyone asked for money. All of these people who asked me for money did so under the assumption that somehow, they are underpaid. Was it my responsibility to show compassion by giving them my money? Then there were the busboys to put my suitcases in the van.
These forms of corruption stem from the perception of lack, which is then linked to people’s innate need to do what they have to do to survive.
At the docks, more guys were waiting to load my things from the minivan to the boat. They also begged for money as they escorted me once I got off the boat. I had not even arrived at my hotel, yet none of them seemed to be considerate that I must be jetlagged from my delayed flight. Before you nauseate on this narrative, can you first consider the root cause of the continuing increase in the rate of violent crime, prostitution, and sexual harassment in Sierra Leone? What prompts this negative expansion? Think about which gender commits which violations and which citizens are victims of which evils and ask why.
As you analyze this information, you may observe that the main culprits that produce all these incautious circumstances are economical and sexual corruption in Sierra Leone. These forms of corruption stem from the perception of lack, which the people then linked to their innate need to do what they have to do to survive. It is not unlikely for women to offer themselves for a romantic relationship. Or casual sex. At the same time, men might offer loyal efforts or money. This is a culture where the poor have admitted their misfortune. That is why everyone strives so desperately for a success that goes beyond their capacity.
They take advantage of someone else who has already superseded and have the resources to show.
The person born into unfortunate penury is not satisfied with obtaining meager education to live and die as a civil servant in society’s lower class. Of course, they aspire to have better conditions to live their best life. They want wealth, love, travel, or security. But how does someone who has absolutely nothing achieve these benefits rather quickly? They take advantage of someone else who has already superseded and have the resources to show. Many disenfranchised Sierra Leonean women often find themselves in the juju man’s hut hoping to acquire a mind or behavior-altering potion to bewitch the affluent man they have targeted.
As for men, some may secretly prostitute themselves as well. Others may become swindlers and thieves: some, burglars, armed robbers, or pickpockets. Again, just a selected few graduate universities to pursue an excellent career, emigrate overseas, marry a high-value woman, or start their own business. A woman may turn to desperate prayers that seldom yield any answers. Only a few university graduates have a great career, emigrate abroad, marry a high-value man, or start their own company. These are my scenarios, you may have yours, but you get my point. Economic and sexual corruption affects genders differently.
My bottom line is that our women become sexual prey while our men become offenders. Even when every Sierra Leonean understands our economic woes’ depths, as a people, we should all be wary of the mindset of rampant corruption. A man in need is expected to pay or pledge allegiance. In comparison, a woman in the same position is expected to sleep with someone. Economic and sexual corruption is the root cause of the so-called rape culture in Sierra Leone. This is why today, at least 80% of women say they have been sexually abused, sexually harassed, or raped at some point. It is the effect of the have not’s mentality.
The difficult thing to do is to accept who we are while striving for achievement.
This reasoning is built on greed, possessiveness, and self-worship. Ironically, Sierra Leone is a godly country. You would almost always hear every Sierra Leonean respond with phrases such as “thank God,” “by the grace of God.” Or a series of religious phrases that depict a god-fearing conscience. Again, from a judicial standpoint, polygamy is still legal in the country. So, we ask, what is the difference between seduction and harassment? Is it wrong to seek casual sex? My question is, how far have we lost our moral compass? This moral compass is the consciousness we restore to exclude our entitlement from the meaning of right.
If you are poor, you are poor. Someone should not have to give you their shoes because of that. You are not entitled to the wealth of the rich. This person can share with you if they wish to do so, but they do not have to do that. Likewise, no man has the right to have sex with every woman he wants. If she denies his advances and rejects his attempts to seduce her, he has no right to force, deceive, plead, persuade or harass her to have sex with him. He should move on. We can not only fear God in words but also in our actions. The difficult thing to do is to accept who we are while striving for achievement. Theft, bribery, and begging are all the same. They develop into a culture of entitlement that then leads to crimes such as rape.*