It is like a plague, the regular cases of reported and
unreported rape in the country’s mass media as
well as confirmed reports from different police
stations across the nation’s geopolitical zones is
daily threatening the essence of the society.
Rape and other sexual assaults cases are complex crimes
to analyse in several parts of the world because it is rarely
reported. Women in some countries rarely have their
complaints recorded, due to the extreme social stigma
cast on women who have been raped, or subjected to one
form of sexual violence or the other and for fear of being
disowned by their families.
Each day, the media and the social media are awash
with weird stories of absurdity; from child defilement
to the rape of both young and old women. Not even
infants are safe from the evil rampage of these rapists
these days. It has remained a recurring decimal across
the country. Sometime ago,reports of the serial rape of
elderly widows in their 70s and 80s in Opi, Nsukka,
Enugu State by a band of thugs in the community
shocked everyone.
Also there is the case of a 14-year-old girl who was
raped by an unknown man in Agege area of Lagos and
another raped inside a kiosk in IyanaIpaja, Lagos.
There aremore pathetic stories of a 24-year-old political
science student of the Benue State University who raped
his stepmother after he returned home from school and
some men, who raped a 3-year-old and 15-year-old
girl in Gombe andTaraba states,respectively. Or that
of a 45-year-old man who murdered girls, aged 2 and
4,after raping them. The alarming rate at which such
rape incidents are being reported without a whimper
of rebuke from theauthorities as a form of sanction is
worrying. Sadly enough, all these reports went without
prosecution or conviction. This only helps to encourage
would-be rapists and child molesters.
In Lagos State alone, the Government said it recorded
no fewer than 12,120 rape cases and other sexual
violence matters in the last four years.And this must
be a conservative figure considering unreported cases.
According to the State Commissioner for Justice and
Attorney-General, Mr. Ade Ipaye, government in the
last one year also convicted about 140 sex offenders.
The Lagos situation is not different from what obtains in
other states of the federation. As a matter of fact, some
states are deeper into rape crimesbut little or nothing is
heard about prosecution or conviction.
The basic truth is that many cases of rape and child
abuse are actually not reported, thus making the culprits
go scot-free in most cases.Even those that were reported
are not prosecuted due to the attitude of parents and
guardians who would prefer not to pursue the case
for fear of possible stigmatisation. Most victims would
rather live privately with the pain and shame of their
experiences than report and risk the consequences of
stigmatisation and the possibility of finding spouses.
While minors who are victims helplessly forge ahead
in life with violated psyche, they are exposed to all sorts
of dangers including the dreaded HIV/AIDS, sexually
transmitted infections, psychological trauma and
unwanted pregnancies. The odds are so many.
It is however sad to note that people prefer to suffer
in silence, having been victims of such offences that
have legalsanctions. The law has made provision for
the prosecution of rapists and imposition of appropriate
sanctions. Victims and their families should therefore
be willing to come out to seek legal redress in their own
interest and the society at large. The time has come for
all and sundry to change their slipshod attitude towards
rape and other sexually related offences.
Certainly, apart from commensurate punishment,
these rapists need psychiatric help greatly to possibly
rehabilitate them. However, webelieve that the bulk of
the work of prevention belongs to parents and guardians
whose responsibility it is to protect these hapless victims,
especially as the establishment has adopted a heartless
attitude and unwillingness to enforce compliance with
the law. Since most of these crimes are perpetrated by
close family members, parents and guardians should be
on the watch and not trust relatives and friends as they
may eventually betray such trust.
We strongly believe that incidences of rape can be
brought under manageable control with the appropriate
attitude and response from government to sanction and
repudiate such barbaric acts of violation. Considering
that rape victims go through lifelong trauma arising
from their awful experience, perpetrators deserve stiffer
penalties. One way to deter rapists and reduce the crime
is to pronounce tougher penalties on convicts under the
law. A life imprisonment would suffice.

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