Sexual Violence and Satire in Selected Stand-Up Acts of Okey Bakassi and Basket Mouth
The psychopathological model of examining and accounting for sexual violence which saw rapists as mentally ill and unable to control their sexual impulses was challenged and discarded in the 1970s on the realisation that inability to control sexual impulses is a myth. This paper, by interfacing satire with the traditional theories of humour (superiority, incongruity and relief theories) deconstructs the use of satire in two purposively selected stand-up acts – Okey Bakassi's “Nigeria police is the best in the world” and Basket Mouth's “Granny Got Raped”, to establish that in Nigeria, the “irresistible impulse myth”, with the help of socio-cultural beliefs, is still used in establishing victimhood in cases of rape where a woman considered to have “provoked” a rape is not seen as having been “truly” raped. Satire acts as a double-edged sword, producing a conflict of meanings in the stand-up artists' intentions and the responses of their audience. The purpose of satire in the stand-ups fluctuates between reformation/didactics and ridicule. It is not clear whether the stand-up artists intended laughter or reconstruction as the end product of their acts. But, the hearty laughter provoked by Okey Bakassi and Basket Mouth answers rather than raise questions about the understanding of rape in Nigeria and the general attitude of the public to sexual violence and the sexually violated. The laughter drives to the conclusion that the Nigerian society still largely holds on to the “irresistible impulse myth”.
Keywords: Nigerian stand-up comedy, rape, culture of silence, victimhood, ridicule.