“I pulled away and coiled myself at the top of the bed hoping he’d leave me alone/give up but he only pulled me closer to him and spread my legs open I begged him to at least use protection but he did not listen.”
A few days ago I opened my email account and was shocked by the words on my screen. Two women had come forward accusing the same man, rapper XO Senavoe, of getting them intoxicated and engaging in penile-vaginal penetrative sex without their consent. They were accusing him of rape. The next few days,a total of 7 women came forward, some by phone conversations and others by email. In this essay I only print 6 women’s stories.
One woman survivor did not want to use the word rape (another survivor later blamed herself), understandable, considering the following: (1) nobody wants to be a rape victim,(2) victim blaming ideology questions why the victim put themselves in the rapist’s presence rather than why the rapist made the intentional and conscious effort to infringe upon another human being’s autonomy and to rape them, and (3) even worse,widespread cultural illiteracy does not help us recognize rape where the perpetrator is not a stranger, and where the violence utilized is not bloody. That rape is widely represented as a nasty struggle with torn clothes, and bloody skin tears perpetrated by evil male monsters lurking. The subtle occurrences of sexual violence,where a man gently continues to violate a woman’s body despite her protest AND/OR her lack of consent, is not understood as rape.
After receiving their stories I reached out to XO to (a) let him know that I planned to publish the women’s accusations against him, and (b) give him the opportunity to comment on their accusations.
The Decision To Publish Or Not To Publish His Name
The decision was a very difficult one. Probably one of the most difficult ethical dilemmas I have faced in my life. This is not a game, this is about real people’s lives. In fact, XO’s attorney contacted me threatening legal action if I were to publish this article. Often times, fear, victim-blaming, and shame keep survivors silenced. On the one hand, I wanted to publish the allegations to disrupt the cultural wall of silence that allows perpetrators to continue to inflict their violence without accountability, there needed to be more voices heard. On the other hand, I am convinced that it would be unethical to deny XO the right to know who his accuser(s) are. And while the accusers are many, they are justifiably concerned about making themselves known to the public.
I chose to publish the allegations because I want everyone reading this to understand that manipulating and coercing women(or anyone) into having sex, through the use of alcohol, while normalized, is rape. And straight men need to understand that meaningful consent BEFORE any sexual activity is not an option, it is an absolute necessity.
The accusers, while numerous, prefer to remain anonymous because of judgment, fear, humiliation, stigma, and the demeaning, slut-shaming, victim-blaming attacks that all women who accuse men of rape experience.
Seven Women’s Stories: Six Published Stories
“I made acquaintance with XO years ago, he met me at an event and asked for us to leave to his place. I declined, following days he asked me to come over which I declined as well. He was needy, lonely and sad about being an orphan and family issues. Finally I gave in and went to see him, he gave me food and a drink. I did not expect alcohol but could taste it in the drink. He kept pouring and insisted we needed to both be relax to break any tension, I did. Eventually I was very drunk and felt dizzy and he started to undress me but I resisted and tried to get him off and told him I did not want to have sex with him, he listened and fell asleep. While he was asleep, after puking several times I took my bag and sneaked out and left. I continued to keep contact with him because I was grateful he respected my decision not to have sex.
Since then he had been pestering me to come over on many occasions even when I told him I had to study for exams he insisted I could study at his place so I avoided him for a while. One day at midnight, he came to my hall to come get me because I said I would not come to him. This was in 2015, I went outside and he was there, he took me to this place claiming he was tired so we were both going to sleep at this place he tried to have sex with me again but I refused. He told me to delete our chats when I decided to cut off communication with him so I did.
My last encounter was recent. After months of telling him no I did not want to see him, I thought he had given up. I was from a party heavily drunk and he said he’d come for me because he lived around I agreed. When we met he took me to his place and promised to take me back to school, at his place I was tired and wanted to sleep, he insisted I drunk some more, I did drink a little more and told him it was enough. He lay by me and begun to undress me by the time I realized he was on top of me and was about penetrating, I told him no he said it would be ok while penetrating I pulled away and coiled myself at the top of the bed hoping he’d leave me alone/give up but he only pulled me closer to him and spread my legs open I begged him to at least use protection but he did not listen, what seemed like forever it was finally over. I could not sleep I felt disgusted and wanted to leave immediately, he was asleep. I woke him up and insisted he brought me back to school. He begun to object but I told him I did not want to be there so he did. I came back took a shower and slept tried to forget my experience till date I still feel dirty and regret agreeing to meet him in the first place.”
“This guy will manipulate the hell out of you. The fav is that he’s an orphan blah blah. He pulls that pity card a lot. And tells you stuff like he really likes you and etc. Get you to come over. It’s drinks and whatever goes from there. And there’s that issue of wanting to keep his relationships lowkey so if you say pim he gets mad. No. He just wants to keep his shenanigans under wraps. I won’t say I was raped, cos I’m grown enough to know what I’m doing, but the experiences those other girls shared were definitely identical. If they were underage or children, even if not, it’s still a serious thing.”
“I was casually scrolling through my TL and I saw this tweet and opened it out of curiosity and boredom. And there it was. I was actually shocked then happy. But that happiness didn’t last because I saw counter tweets to the stories the girls told.
You see the thing Is I myself have been a victim. I saw this cute guy on my TL listened to his music and fell in love with the whole brand. We follow each other and surprisingly he almost immediately gets into my DM. Chat for a while and then gives so much pressure to hangout after about a week. I go over being bored and he says he needs to get a drink. He goes to buy it and we go back to his apartment. Now mind you I told him I will not stay long because I already didn’t even want to come but the pressure so yeah. (That was my first mistake). Next thing I know he is asking me if I drink and I say once in a while. This guy manages to convince me to take shots and I foolishly do( he is very manipulative and I was probably naive as well. I mean I had a crush on a ‘celebrity’ and I was hanging out with him. OMG )
Then I get drunk and opana(XO) says he will be sleeping in his other room (it’s a 2 bedroom apartment in an estate around ashongman) so I’m good. I’m feeling safe and as I drift off he comes back in. Then he lies down by me and I’m like. He is bored and will go when I fall asleep. This is when I start to feel like something isn’t right. Next thing I know he has pounced on me and is literally forcing his way with me and the sad part was I was too drunk to fight back but sober enough to know what was happening. And he kept whispering ‘don’t worry I won’t hurt you 😧’ but he actually was because he was big. Woke up to all sorts of pain and kept vomiting because of the alcohol. The asshole on his way to drop me home also then told me he came in me and that I should get drugs and delete our conversations. 😧
Now I know you might say why did I decide to go and visit at 7pm. But you see the fact that someone visits you and is off the opposite sex doesn’t mean they want you to pressurize them into drinking, making them weak and then having your way. It took me some time to process what had gone on because I didn’t even know whether it was rape or not because nobody forced me there.
But trust me I would never had slept with him if I was sober. He comes on with that holy good person lawyer crap! He isn’t that nice ladies. I’m sharing this because I want you to be careful and not be naive. I decided to take it as a lesson but I can prevent others from having the same experience.
XO Senavoe is a manipulative demon who likes little girls who idolize him because of his sakora and ‘career’ . Avoid him ladies.”
“Ok hi. I was initially afraid to talk about my experience with xo. I mean, I still am, but this is for any other potential victims out there. This happened earlier this year; a friend and I were out for the night, and then she informed me that a friend wanted her to come over, and since it was just the two of us I didn’t wanna be left hanging, so we both went to said friend’s [xo] place.
The thing is, he’s very friendly, at least initially, and chatty, he makes you feel at home, brings out the drinks and you just keep talking and talking about everything. You don’t even realize you’re drinking, and even then, you’re with a friend. There’s two of you. What could possibly go wrong? The drinking and convos continue, and then it hits you; You’re drunk. meanwhile your friend is already passed out. and you wanna go home, but you came together, so you can’t leave without her. And then he starts touching you and holding you, oblivious to your protests. He takes you both to his room, starts kissing you and basically stretches himself out on top of you. And he’s super heavy. And you’re drunk. And you can’t keep struggling. So you just give up. And then he tries to take your shirt off, but you resist, and instead he rolls it up anyway and does whatever he wants to do. You pass out. Wake up an hour or two later and he’s still at it. This time you’re on your front, and you legit think you’re dreaming. There is penetration you’re aware of, but he just won’t get off you. You pass out again. And then the next morning, hungover as hell, he bundles you both in a cab back to wherever you came from. And you don’t even know when and what to start thinking, because, you went there. Voluntarily. Granted, it was very foolish of you, but you were ok with being in a stranger’s house because oh there’s two of us. And he’s sorta kinda popular. Nothing bad can happen right? Yeah.”
Survivor 5 (confirmation of MO):
“So I met XO at a party briefly and we exchanged numbers. It was very casual, we texted a couple of times and he wanted to hang out. I had canceled on him a couple of times so I just said yes and decided to see him. It was a Sunday and I said we could go to a cafe. I met him at the mall – someone dropped me off and I knew he was driving – so I expected that we’d go somewhere in East legon or airport.
Next thing I knew we were driving away from that part of town towards Dome. So I was like what’s going on/is there cafe here? My cousins live in Dome so I didn’t expect there to be anything there lol.
Then he asked me if I knew any cafes at that part of town as if I lived there.. I was like no. So I was confused. I thought I hadn’t made myself clear. Then he was like oh okay then we can go to my house. That’s when I started feeling really off about the whole thing. We stopped somewhere, he asked me what snacks I wanted.. He bought drinks too. It was really weird because the whole thing had been entirely platonic for me and suddenly I was on the way to his house.
By the time we got to his place I was really tense and started feeling like it was a bad situation. I literally met him once, and I was in his apartment alone drinking. I even thought to make sure he didnt put anything in my drink cus everything felt so wrong.
So we literally just drank and talked and watched TV and I tried my best to be really aware of everything because I was very uncomfortable.
After like 40 minutes I wanted to go home. He tried to persuade me to stay but I said my parents were calling me. So he drove me home.
After that I didn’t really try to see him again cus the whole thing was weird.. I just thought it was a one off weird thing. But the messages kind of shocked me.
I don’t know what the people who commented meant by manipulative or pressured but I felt pressured to meet with him. I remember kind of being like ‘ok fine I’ll just go see him bc he keeps hitting me up’.
What was especially weird for me was that there was nothing in our relationship to indicate that I wanted to be at your place drinking on a Sunday night. I thought maybe that was just him but it was still very weird for me.
Obviously after reading the story I feel like he had planned to take me to his place anyway.. because I don’t know you wouldn’t communicate to someone you don’t know that you’re taking them to your house.
After that incident he asked me to send him pictures of myself lol. Weird shit like that.
That’s about it. I hope it’s helpful.”
(Another confirmation of a pattern of coercion through alcohol, this person did not reach out to me but had a DM image shared)
Hi, XO. You’re someone who’s adequately respected and maybe even admired in Ghana. What for, I struggle to understand, because your ‘rap career’ has never had a direction and some of us can’t really see where it’s going, if anywhere. If you were practising law, maybe that’d say something in your favour but anyway, that’s not why we’re here.
You’re a grown man. You lie to young girls about your age, often reducing it by a decade. Granted, at least of the ones I know, they’ve been legal, not minors. But, XO, you need to stop manipulating young girls in/barely out of their teens. You emotionally blackmail them, sweet talk, and you have a way of persuading/pressurising them to come over. I don’t know if it’s naivety or pity they feel for you but they end up coming over and you start with the drinks. You keep them coming until the girl is tipsy and tired. Then you get them to relax and lie down. And you get on top of them. As a tall person, you’re quite heavy too and for a young girl who’s tipsy and tired to push you off would be quite difficult. You ask them to “just hold you” and at this point, they barely have a choice cos you’re heavy and already on top of them. Then you start to take it further. Refuse as they may, you turn their repeated soft no into a reluctant, obliging acceptance. That’s not okay.
XO, I don’t want to call you a rapist because, in my eyes, you seemed a respectable man for so long. I just wish you’d stop messing around with young girls so much. It’s in a way they feel they can’t talk about it’s. It’s bad. Legon alone, I could really count close numerous young ladies you’ve tried a move on. Stop it. You have a beautiful girlfriend. She doesn’t deserve this. Focus on her and stop whoring around. Thank you.
~Concerned citizens of Ghana
P.S. The next step would be to report you to the authorities and get you listed on the sex offenders register if need be.
Often times accusations of rape are framed as “he said, she said”. In this instance it is “he said, she said, she said, she said, she said, she said, she said, and she said.” 7 she saids.
What I want, is a safer, better world for everyone, where people have healthy sexual relations, and where every party involved agreed to engage in sexual activity in their right state of mind.
This is one of the scariest things I have ever done in my life. I am terrified of the potential repercussions, but nothing will change if no one acts.
[Update: Point of Clarification: 7 women in general came forward. 6 out of the 7 women alleged rape and 1 woman just discussed an MO. However, only 6 stories are printed here. 1 woman’s alleged rape story is not printed here because she was scared of being identified. So there are 5 alleged rapes, and there is 1 MO story printed.]
[Update 2: The owner of the texts would like for her texts to be used properly. She intended for her texts to be used as evidence of his pressure/manipulation to hang out and NOT as evidence of sexual abuse]