Udofia Joseph: Addressing rape and other sexual offences in Nigeria

Rape is the crime of forcing another person into sexual intercourse. In Nigeria, this includes Statutory rape, which is the act of having sexual intercourse with a minor – anyone under the age of 18. Often times, Nigeria no 1 discussion forum, Nairaland is flooded with news and discussions about cases of rape, usually involving girls far below the age of 18 at the receiving end.

One cannot but ask, why is rape on the rise? How does one justified nairaland.com/2211434/man-32-rape-defiles-10-year-old? How exactly? It is inane to imagine that such animalistic behavior have found domicile in a right-thinking human being. In our society today, men have wives, young male adults have girlfriends and “side chicks” who often rise to the occasion whenever the man calls, and vice versa.

Even, the sex role has even been outsourced to the hundreds of sex workers who line the street, lying in wait for their employers. While prostitution is considered criminal in Nigeria, little is being done to curtail it, seeing the awesome reception it receives from people of all classes and strata. From the shanties in the popular Oju Irin, off Bodija Market, Ibadan, where a round can go for N500 to the GRA streets of Port Harcourt where the rich get their share of the cookie, at mouth-watering prices, clients and employers return home – satisfied.  While I do not support prostitution, the Nigerian society seem to have decriminalized the crime, as it seems to do more good than harm, in providing a solution to the insatiable libido of men. So why do we still have cases of rape?

In society today, rape is far from being frowned at in the society. This is largely so because ladies are generally seen as objects of sex. This is further worsened when a lady pays a visit to a male colleague. More often that not, such visits are interpreted as coital visits. You cannot hang out with a lady without society seeing you two as active sexual partners. Ladies are viewed as investments and men, as great business moguls, expect a high ROI. I remember a friend of mine who was terribly sick after a long day’s work. His female friend came visiting and in that state, he still had carnal knowledge of her. When asked, his reply was simple: “I have spent so much on that girl. I have to get a return on my investment”. In cases like this, among others, if the lady is unwilling to open her legs, rape is the man’s final resort.

Rape could also be homosexual. I know of a young male adult, who was nearly raped by another in 2010 in one of the nation’s citadel of learning. According to him, this happened a little past midnight. He was about to alert the neighbours, when the attempted rapist said “How will U tell people I want to rape you. Do u know how they will look at you”. At that moment, the attempted rapists’ words were indeed words of wisdom. He returned to his bed like nothing happened.  Rape victims usually undergo a bad ordeal. The trauma they pass through, possible panic attacks and stigma from the society. Evidently, the stigma faced by rape victims largely contributed to the victim’s muteness in the face of such barbaric experience.

Are they not friends? Maybe they had consensual sex but something went wrong. People will come up with different excuses in defense of the accused. They even go as far as calling the girl, a gold digger, who was after the man’s wealth. The moment you receive a gift from an average guy, he will come asking for the cookie one day. You either make the cookie available or return the gifts.

You cannot totally blame the man anyway? More ads on our TV screens continue to objectify women as sex products. Take a look at the recent ad by New Age Charger and PowerBanks, imploring us to get our phones charged so as to capture the butts of women. How obtuse!

Popular artistes use erotic scenes and lines in their songs, without which the songs or videos may not gain wide acceptability. As we know, songs are the gateway to the human soul. Songs aptly capture our emotions. We are bombarded daily by sex scenes. Nollywood is also upping the ante, in a bid to catch up with Ghanaian films, which are getting popular among Nigerian youth for the ardor contents. Charles Babbage cannot be righter- Gabbage in, gabbage out.

The big question is: What are we doing to stem the rising case of rape in the society? As the custodian of the society, what is the government doing to stem the rising case of rape in the society?

Parents have a huge role to play in this issue. In many homes, the film ratings are generally not adhered to. I was in a friend’s place watching a movie. His friend’s brother, well below the age of 10, was also around. We had started watching a movie and some ardor scenes came up. Apparently, I told the young boy to excuse himself as the film is above his age grade. My friend replied deviantly: “Leave am joor. Eruku leleyi” loosely transmitted as “Leave him alone. This one is a don”. A don at age ten?

In order to address the issue of rape and sexually-related offences in Nigeria, families need to be more vigilant. A friend narrated his ordeal to me while he was younger. Having lived in a one-room apartment, popularly called “face me, I face you” while growing up, he recalls his neighbor, a young lady, who often came to pick him from home while he was between ages 5 and 8. After spending some time with the lady, the only thing he remembers about their experience is “hair”.  He recalled the lady did many things to him which he didn’t understand at such a tender age. After his first sexual intercourse at age 15, the memories became clear to him. Evidently, the lady always played with his genitals and rub it in her pubic hair. Today, this experience has had a profound effect on his sexual life, and while he is still single, he remains sexually hyperactive, with an insatiable urge to perform sexual activities.

While the twitter community anxiously awaits the outcome of the Sugabelly vs Audu Mustapha rape scandal, it is pertinent as parents to nurture, and listen to our children well. Parents need not be shy in engaging their children in discussions on sex. Sex education is not unholy and should be treated in our churches, mosques and other religious gatherings. The younger generation is getting smarter and the need to be well informed, cannot be over-emphasized. The younger generation should not objectify women as sex objects, but appreciate the rarity of such a gem.

Also, the ladies should not see sex as the means to a fulfilling life. Using sex as a tool to secure juicy offers, money or assets is no different from the prostitutes who line the streets at night. Government should crackdown on clubs and shanties, as prostitution remains illegal in Nigeria. The truth is, people in Government know these places as they patronize them. Let us secure the future of our country, the girl child, and the vulnerable kid on the street.

Let us secure the nation. Say no to rape and let us put an end to this scourge. Remember, the next victim could be your sister, mother, friend or you!


 

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