Despite the law passed by the House of Representatives last year which provides life imprisonment for rape convicts and 14 years for an attempt to commit rape with a minimum of 20 years for anyone involved in gang raping, the number of rape cases making it to the media each week is still alarming. Young women are not the only victims of rape. Minors, old women, and young men are not also spared these days.
According to the recent NOI poll on the issue of child rape in the society, majority of the rape convicts are usually close family relatives and neigbours. They are well respected people in the society. They are: teachers raping their pupils, a father raping his daughter, clerics raping members of their congregation, a police officer raping a detainee, siblings raping themselves, an old man raping a minor, a boss raping a subordinate etc. In countries like South Africa and Zimbabwe with a myth making round that virgin cleansing cures and prevents HIV/AIDS, minors as young as six-week-old baby are also raped. In the year 2000, over 67,000 kids were sexually assaulted in South Africa.
The heart of a man is deep and wicked and always looking for ways to prove right evil acts. If it is of the belief that indecent dressing and deliberate flirtatious nature of women are the major causes of rape. Then, what does a six-week-old baby possessed to lure a man or clothed with in order to get raped? In South Africa, a six-week-old minor was raped by her uncle (News24, 28 November 2013); six men gang raped a nine-month-old baby (Panapress, 9 November 2001); Janet (18 years old) of Rivers State origin was gang raped at gun point by three boys. She later died by drinking a poisonous substance (sniper); in 2012, three women were arraigned before a Sharia court in Zamfara state for gang raping a twenty-year-old man, Abdulrahman Sulaiman, till he lost consciousness and was rushed to the hospital by passersby; A twenty-year-old security personnel, Jubrin Asli, from Chad was recently arraigned before a magistrate’s court in Lagos for sexually assaulting two minors, both aged three.
Most of the rape cases hardly get reported for fear of stigmatization and due to lack of trust in the criminal justice system. Some of our security personnel who are meant to protect the public are also perpetrators of the crimes in the society just like the case of a police corporal, Damadu Bzibu, who raped a 4-year-old minor in Plateau State. Some rape victims don’t even bother speaking out when raped for fear of losing respect from the public and especially from their loved ones.
Some handful of rape victims have died from complications arising from injuries sustained from forced sexual intercourse just like the case of a nine-year-old pupil of Fulfilled Greenland School, Ikorodu, Lagos, who was a victim of a fourteen-year-old student rapist, others suffers from depression, some had babies through the encounter due to their stance against abortion, some committed suicide while some also contracted HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases through getting raped…
Reducing the incidence of rape and helping the rape victims to get justice requires more than well written rape laws but rather a system that enforces the full implementation of rape laws.
Getting raped is not anyone’s fault. Rape victims should endeavour to speak out and get help as soon as possible.