Social media users, yesterday, took to the micro-blogging platform, Twitter, to express outrage and demand justice for a young man who reportedly committed suicide after he was added to a “list of rapists” on Twitter.
The Florida-based Izu Mmadubueze ended his own life after being accused of rape. This was disclosed by one of his friends, Nnamdi Anekwe-Chive, a security strategist and consultant, who said Izu took his life because he was wrongly accused.
“I just received a very troubling phone call in respect of Izu Mmadubueze. He is a relation of mine, who lived alone in Florida, USA. It has been confirmed that Izu from Umueze Anam, Anambra State, apparently committed suicide owing to false accusations of rape by this lady and her friends,” he wrote.
In June, a Twitter user (@nanichianese) had published names of men whom she claimed were sexual abusers. She also claimed she was asked to compile the list for “safety purpose. I have heard some folks ask for a compounded list of abusers to avoid for safety purposes. I will add to this thread as I find out more names,” she wrote.
Izu, who was said to have been on the list, had reached out to the lady to find out whom his accuser was so he could clear his name. The curator of the list was, however, said to have refused to disclose the victim’s identity, claiming the victim would prefer to remain anonymous.After further prodding, she disclosed the harassment was not physical, but she won’t be revealing any further details.
Izu then penned a note asking her to extend his sincere apology to the victim for any form of harassment he could have put her through “though he was still shocked at the accusation.”
Izu would later take his life. His last tweet on July 17, read: “Oh and if you’re reading this, I’m dead lol.”The curator of the said list has since deactivated her account amid reports that she had made advances at Izu in the past but was rejected.
Izu’s death has provoked outrage on Twitter with users demanding justice with the hashtag #JusticeForIzu. Social media users have called for tough punishment for people who falsely accuse others of rape or sexual harassment to curb the trend of ‘weaponising’ rape.
Oscar Romero wrote: “Every time we take a step forward in this issue of rape, there are always those that take us three steps backwards. How can we be fighting to create a safe space for victims to voice out and there are others weaponizing rape in a false manner to get back at others?”
Oluwafunmilayo wrote: “Women who falsely accuse men of sexual crimes should have to register as sex offenders and serve a mandatory jail term. False rape allegations should be taken seriously too. Nobody should ever suffer from this. It is becoming too much.”
Another user, @Uncle_clique, wrote: “Accusing someone falsely of rape knowing it would ruin their reputation and everything they have worked for, including their life, is pure evil. If your best comeback against someone is to accuse them falsely, then you are weak, wicked and beyond redemption.”
Stories bordering on rape, sexual harassment and gender-based violence have dominated the media space for weeks on end, with lawmakers recently amending and passing laws that prescribe stricter punishment for sexual offenders in the country.