The incidence of rape among women in the society today has become so alarming and gives room for concern. This rising epidemic of sexual violence in the country is so rampant up to the extent that minors are not even spared, so much so that even some fathers are raping their own daughter. Rape is defined as forced sexual intercourse or other sexual activity usually initiated by one or more persons upon another person without their consent or against their will. The act may be carried out through the use of physical force, coercion or abuse of authority against a person who’s incapable of valid consent either by way of been unconsciousness or below legal age of consent. I have often wondered what kind of sexual satisfaction can be gained by forcing sexual intercourse. Each time I read about incidences of rape, my heart shivers at the pain these women go through. The other day I read how an 18 year old girl committed suicide a few days after she was gang raped by a gang of three men at gun point in Yenogoa. Women are often reluctant to bring up charges of rape against their perpetrators because they see public admission of having been raped as a dent on their social standing and may often lead to stigmatization so they would rather prefer to keep quiet about it. It has been said that while a murderer destroys the physical body, a rapist degrades and defies the soul of its victim.
Rape is something that happens every day in Nigeria, so you can imagine the amount of children, boys or girls that are constantly been abused by their uncles or aunties and relations and even domestic workers that are at the mercy of their masters and madam and how their lives are been destroyed. I remember what happened to a friend of mine when he newly got married some time ago. This friend of mine got married to this beautiful, soft spoken and gentle girl. However, two months into the marriage, our friend cried to us that he does not think he can continue with the marriage. When asked what the problem was, he told us he thinks his wife is mentally unstable. He told us that when he started courting his wife, she never allowed him access to her body. She always rebuffs him whenever he makes advances to her. Initially he thought she was the holy holy type that does not want to engage in premarital sex so he decided to wait till after their marriage, however when he asked her if she was still a virgin she had told him she was not. He didn’t press further because he just thought that maybe she had decided that no more sex till after marriage. However, after the marriage things still remained the same. He was still unable to make love to his wife…because every time he attempts to do this, she always refuses to allow him. Not until one day his wife told him that the only way he could make love to her was if he goes violent on her. She told him that he needs to beat her to submission before he can make love to her. Initially he thought she was just joking with him, but he later realized that she was serious when she started crying and begging him to beat her if he wants to gain access to her body. She told him that she has seen that he was suffering due to no fault of his, that was why she had to open up to him to let him know that he would have to force his way through. But why will he beat and rape his wife, he thought to himself. This continued for about 2 days until eventually he had to succumb to her wishes. He hit her hard on the face one day, she encouraged him to hit her harder and harder and harder and so it continued till he eventually raped her.
It was after this episode that she now narrated how she was constantly been raped as a child at the tender age of 11 by an uncle whom they used to call Hitler. According to her, this uncle of hers was a soldier. He was the one her parents used to call to discipline them whenever she and her brother did something wrong, so they dreaded him a lot. It happened that her parents had to travel to the village one weekend for a burial ceremony and they called uncle Hitler to come and stay with them that weekend . According to her that was the most horrible weekend of her life. Because for the three days that her parents stayed in the village she went through hell with this uncle of hers who looked for any opportunity to lock her up in a room pretending to discipline her not knowing that he had ulterior motives. This uncle raped her and threatened her that he would kill her if she told her parents what happened. It was this incident that has affected her psyche so much so that she cannot bring herself to having sex without first playing out those violent scenes. Now the problem my friend is having is that he cannot continue to act out those violent scenes and rape his wife anytime he wants to make love to her. He was advised to take her to see a psychiatrist to help counsel her.
You can imagine how an incident like that has affected the life of that woman. There are quite a number of these incidences that tend to destroy such women and only a few like Oprah Winfrey who had also experienced child molestation has risen up against all odds to become what she is today. There have been cases of girls who were raped by friends that they had trusted. Last year there was this video which went viral of some boys from Abia state university who were raping this young girl while she cried and begged them to even take her life. It was later found out that the girl was the wife of the cousins of one of the rapist. This same thing happened again recently in the university of Lagos where a young man and his friends ganged raped a girl and circulated the video on the internet. This goes to show that it’s a common occurrence that is happening everyday in our society and because it has not happened to people around us we do not seem to care. In all of these, the most painful part of it are cases of fathers raping their daughters. Now how can any sane man rape his own daughter? A child that you are suppose to protect. There was this case of Adewale Adeleke a 35 years old bus driver, at Ota, who had being raping two of his daughter for two whole years. And also this very horrifying case of Sylvester Ehijele a 49 year old man who was accused of raping his seven year old daughter and a year old granddaughter. According to the story that was not even the first time he was doing it, as his 17 year old daughter had confessed to the mother that her father had raped her consistently in the past.
All these put together, I really wonder what would really make a man commit rape. Is it that feeling of inadequacy or are there issues that borders on control, dominance authority, or capability. However, there are evidences to show that sexual violence is a learnt behavior in some adults, particularly as regards child sexual abuse. It may be that such people had been molested in their childhood or are themselves victims of such circumstances. However, these are not enough reasons to justify the action of these people. In my view the society needs to do more to prevent the frequent occurrence of this situation. A situation where sexual offenders are made to go scot free or are given light sentences is totally unacceptable. The government, the law enforcement agencies, the judiciary and even the legislature need to wake up to their responsibility of protecting the citizens against sexual offenders most especially the rising case of violation of children by adults because this is really evil. While adults can offer some resistance, children cannot, and so these adults take advantage of their vulnerability. In the western world Pedophilia is a grievous crime and pedophiles are appropriately dealt with. The same thing should be applied in Nigeria. Stiffer penalties should be given out to these rapist and pedophiles to stem the tide of this epidemic that is ravaging this country. Parents too should be mindful of who they leave their kids with. It is the responsibility of every parent to protect their child. Teaching them sexual education at a very young age is the way to go. I believe that with enough enlightenment and campaign against this trend we would minimize if not totally eradicate the occurrence of this situation to a great extent. So NGOs, women rights group and everyone of us should all join hands to save our children and women from these monsters. Let us be attentive and vigilant to our children needs. God helping us we shall overcome. Cheers.