[OPINION] RAPE: When The Perennial Monster Knocks This Time

Covid-19 reports these days seems not to be news that many are eager to know how well about any longer, compare to days before now. Government relaxing the lockdown and opening of some parts of the economy is one of the major reasons and perhaps, as no cure is in sight from the lab, thus, people can’t wait forever – they have to learn how to live with Covid-19. Indeed, we have to.

Though, cases are still on the rise throughout the world and fatalities are not reducing either but the fear for the pandemic has drastically reduced as we can see in some climes where protests are on going (due to dearth of justice) in which people are no more adhering to the 2-meter apart social distance rule and face masking associated with coronavirus.

As it is in other climes, so it is in Nigeria, however Nigeria seems to be faced with another ‘endemic’ called RAPE, though it has been a crises since God knows when but the reportage of rape here and there – from the national dailies, to the online media, to the various social media platforms down to all means of communication have been very alarming. A day hasn’t gone without a rape or alleged rape case been publicised.

Like earlier stated, rape isn’t an issue that started just yesterday, it has been since time immemorial, however, the manner in which the recent ones got to the hearings was a shocker. A 22-year-old university student Uwaila Omozuwa, was gang raped and left to die inside a church in Benin. Inside the House of God? One will wonder what sort of human does that, perhaps a psychopath or person living in a society with more house of worships, but less Godly people.

Few days after the gory incident in Benin, similar case was recorded in the Ibadan, Barakat Bello, 18, was raped and murdered in the comfort of her home. A 13 year-old girl was raped by a 25 year old man in Niger State. In Jigawa, eleven deranged men raped a 12-year-old child. Then there was the rape of a 17-year-old sachet water hawker in Ado Ekiti. A 42 year old man lured another 12 year old girl into his apartment and forcefully had canal knowledge of her. The victim has been reportedly sent a message to the rapist while narrating her order. She said: “God will Judge”. This happened in Otukpo, Benue state.

Also, in Kwara state, a 15 year old girl was defiled by an alleged well-known Musician. Across the online space, series of rape allegations have been trooping in like some sort of contest. And as at the time of writing this, a corps member with the National Youth Service Corps was gang raped in Uyo by two friends when she went to their apartment to charge her phone. There are other news of minor defilement and aged ones are not spared either. It is just frustrating and disturbing at the same time as the reports keep rising day in day out.

One would wonder the reason why all what is in someone’s thought is to perpetuate sexual assault in today’s world if not psychopathy, for there is no, in all ramifications, a justification for rape.

Another thing that will come to mind is asking about the punishment for rapist, since it is agreed that indulging in the act of forcefully coercing someone into sex is an offence. It has been observed that one of the reason why rape crisis hasn’t been eradicated is because of low conviction of rapists despite the fact that the law of the land frowned at the act.

Most cases usually be dead on arrival due to lack of substantial evidence which is enshrined in the criminal code as “prove of penetration and the requirement of corroboration”.

It is high time government at all level reviewed this law and be more up and doing in ensuring that justice is been upheld whenever pressing issue like sexual abuse is been presented. Though some quarters have called for castration or death penalty as the best punishment, but that might not be effective enough as it has been tested in some places without result to show. A castrated person still has at least, 10% probability to be sexually aroused and a person sentenced to death will have no regret of his action.

Also, death sentence hasn’t been a deterrent to more perpetrators, while Imprisonment has also been questioned too.

There will be a way for rapist to suffer for their crimes, government should look into that without necessarily executing irreversible punishment. And as rapist gets their punishment, anyone found wanting in wrongly accusing someone of sexual abuse should also not go without been punished.

Government should also make compulsory provisions for the care of sexually abused victims, just as pioneered by the Governor of Ekiti State who signed into law a Compulsory Treatment and Care for Child Victims of Sexual Violence bill which is meant to augment the Gender Based Violence Prohibition Law of 2012.

Written by: Temitope Hassan (@hatdapoet)

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