News Analysis

Rape And Its Attendant Challenges

According to a survey in 2018 by Nigeria demographic and health, thirty percent of girls and women aged between fifteen and forty-nine suffers sexual abuse.

The survey sates that at least two million girls experience sexual abuse annually and that only twenty-eight percent of cases is reported while only twelve percent result in convictions.

Available records show that a good number of suspected rapists move freely on the streets after committing the heinous act.

Also worrisome is the fact that not much is being done in respect of strengthening the law to incisively deal with perpetrators of rape.

Rape victims suffer a sense of abuse that goes beyond physical injury. They may become skeptical of men and experience feelings of embarrassment and disgrace. Victims, who suffer rape trauma syndrome experience physical symptoms such as headaches, sleep disturbances and fatigue.

The weak stance of the law towards rape needs to be seriously addressed. Women and girls who are raped have little hope of obtaining justice and reparation. Victims are sometimes pressured into withdrawing the case or parents of victims prefer financial settlement out of court to a criminal prosecution.

Such as the case of a grandmother who was recently arrested for allegedly collecting fifty thousand naira bribe from a man, Seun Olarewaju, for raping her three year-old granddaughter to cover up the crime.

Where cases are brought to court, prosecution sometimes fails because police refer cases to a court lacking appropriate jurisdiction and progress is then obstructed by the slow administration of the judicial system. In some cases, the alleged perpetrator is charged with a different and less serious criminal offence.

The nation’s justice system should be strengthened to enforce

The child rights act which provides that sex with a child is rape and anyone who has sexual intercourse with a child is liable to imprisonment for life upon conviction to serve as deterrent to others.

Commendably, the Nigerian governors’ forum has strongly condemned all forms of violence against women and children and pledges commitment to ensuring that offenders face maximum weight of the law.

Furthermore, the ministry of women and social welfare should up its game by liasing with relevant authorities to find lasting solutions to rape issues.

The boy child from a tender age must be taught respect and dignity for women while musical videos and films depicting women as mere sex symbols should be reviewed.

It is essential to recognise the need to provide emotional therapies for survivors in the nation’s hospitals.

Rape is never the fault of survivors; they live with the shame and guilt and often find it difficult to forgive themselves.

Knowing this, therefore, family support and favorable environment is needful to promote the healing process which is often slow while linkage with a support group is essential to encourage experience sharing and eventual recovery.

Monijesu Oseni

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