Academic journal article Gender & Behaviour

Taming the Rape Scourge in Nigeria: Issues and Actions

Academic journal article Gender & Behaviour

Taming the Rape Scourge in Nigeria: Issues and Actions

Article excerpt

Introduction

The issue of rape is not an abstract issue as it has unveiled its ugly mask in every society, and how do we describe the brutal nature of this shameless masquerade in Africa, especially in Nigeria? What is it about our societies that make vulnerable the female gender to all sorts of abuse and in the case of these paper; rape. What could have triggered the increase in recent times? What could have caused perpetrators to sexually assault their victims?

These questions are not easily answered, because in rape cases questions are easily asked but answers are much more difficult and inconvenient to answer. The closest thing to an answer is the close shoulder, the emotional reaction that one receives when the issue is mentioned.

It is understandable when there is an emotional response, but that is not enough. There is need to get to the root of the matter and understand it, by undertaking an in-depth research so as to take well-informed actions. Otherwise we will remain in the dark on how to curb this scourge and the alarming dimensional increase witnessed in recent times.

Rape is the act of forcefully having sex with someone against their will. Others have defined rape as a sexual penetration by one person against another person without the consent of the victim.

However victims of rape have no age limit as babies, and the aged are vulnerable to this menace. Interestingly 90% of victims of rape are female. Rape is a denial of women self-preservation; it is the intrusion of their privacy, it is an inhuman and violent act. Rape victims are usually ashamed, humiliated, afraid, and there is little or no law to protect them. Even the law enforcement officers that are meant to protect these victims also assault them in different ways, even sexually. The study described an incident of a 14year-old girl in Abuja who was raped by a police officer in the police station. Though what had brought her to the police station was not rape related, but a fight. She was sexually assaulted violently by the policeman because she threatened to report the policeman's sexual advances. This and many more of these cases occur daily in Nigeria.

The Statement of Problem

Amnesty international gave a gruesome picture of the rape scourge in Nigeria when in one of its publications, a few years ago painted the picture of how hopeless the Nigerian case is, quoting a victim of rape:

"There were three men, I have pains even today, they used my daughter too, she is 12 years old. They also raped my sister. Another man raped a woman who was four months pregnant and she lost the child. They were military men. Everyone in the village saw them, they didn 't hide, they didn't care, I didn't tell the police because I feared them" (Amnesty international, 2007).

The situation has not changed, but instead it has grown worse. The picture above is just a tip of the iceberg as there are many more cases like this, if not worse. Unfortunately it has been on the increase all over the world. In the UK, there are about 147,000 rape cases every year and only a thousand plus are convicted (Kayode 2014). The trend is the same in India, where in every 20 minutes, a case of rape is reported and only less than 25% of these cases are persecuted (Ibid.). In Lagos state, western Nigeria, about 10,079 cases, which constitute only 18% of the rape that, occurred between 2001 and 2005 (Peters and Olowa, 2010; Caroline, 2012) were reported. An NGO (Mirabel centre), reported 170 rape cases between July 2013 and January 2014 (Kayode 2014). Also reporting a high rise in rape cases, the police command identified gang rape as the most common, as it was at the top of the crime chat in 2013 (Ibid.).

From the statements above, it is crystal clear that the rape scourge is on the increase all across the world. Rape is not a delightful sight to behold. It is so devastating for the victims, even when the assaulters are persecuted in rare cases. …

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