By Bayo Fasunwon
Imagine this. Tiwatope is your daughter. Dutiful, brilliant and obedient. She just turned thirteen, but her breast was the size of an orange. Then in the cool of the early evening you sent her to buy some drugs for her younger brother. She never returned. Unknown to you, while obeying your instructions she had seen Tunde, a sixteen year-old-boy, well known in the neighbourhood. He had beckoned on Tiwa, who obeyed as was expected. Feigning an important incident to be seen, Tunde had lured her into an uncompleted building, where other five boys were hiding.
Tiwatope’s clothes were torn, her voice of discontent and protest muffled by strong hands over mouth. Her legs were spread eagled, and the six boys had carnal knowledge of a virgin, in turn. They would have left her in pain, but it dawned on them that she knew Tunde. So they returned, held her by the neck, pinned her struggling but weak legs on the ground, and oozed out life from her. She died with her dreams, a future medical doctor or legislator or President’s wife, lay dead. She, your daughter, has just been raped to death. Would you fix blames or fix the problem?
Rape is having sexual intercourse with a person without obtaining willing consent. It also connotes sexual relations with a person below the age of consent. It is therefore a sexual connection between people borne out of force or threat. The pain inflicted by rape is not only physical but psychological and spiritual. A raped person has the psyche brutalized and maimed for life. The trauma for victims, who survive the ordeal, is everlasting. It creates a heart seared with hot iron, and a body mutilated, abused and denigrated. The scars rarely heal. Unfortunately, the air waves have been inundated with posts of this dastard acts in Nigeria, in recent times.
A young girl had supposedly gone to Church, the secret place of the Most High, to study, only for her corpse, raped and battered to be found desecrated without mercy. Another had returned to her home, only to meet daredevils who raped her and took her life. Time would not permit to relate the story of a seventy five year old, raped by a young man or a three month old raped by a middle aged man and domestic servants torn apart by their master’s rod of reproduction. The bizarre narratives seem unending. But why are people raped?
There is the provocative school of thought. These have suggested that women get raped because of their loose, revealing style of dressing. They wonder why a female would go about in micro miniskirts, bum shorts, transparent blouses, low necked breast revealing tops, and body hugging jeans that make them look sexy. They argue that men are aroused by what they see, hence seeing a nearly naked woman is enough to set a man on fire, and push him into the wicked act of rape. If this is true, then how do we explain the rape suffered by men from women and homosexuals? What about Hijab wearing and SU adorned females?
A documentary about the Koma people in Nigeria, revealed a community of humans who do not wear clothes. While being in their nakedness, rape has never been reported amongst them. They have also blamed rape on the seductive attitude of the victims. They believe that the victims could have spoken, walked or behaved in a manner that would have aroused the rapists to perform their wicked enterprise. While growing up in my village, it was a daily sight to behold young teenage girls, with formed breasts unclad, marching on cooked palm fruits in canoes to extract the palm oil, often times alone. Yet no incident of rape against these was ever recorded. So, rape goes beyond the appearance of the victims. Rather it is triggered by the lust in the perpetrators of the evil act, their inhumanity and cowardice. T
In my private research, it was discovered that there are many causes of rape in the Nigeria society. In the first place, rape is sometimes performed as a form of punishment or revenge on victims. In this regard, rapists justify their criminal attacks on the fact that the victim had disrespected them at one time or the other. Another common cause is robbery. Armed robbers had often raped their victims in order to humiliate and or subdue them. A fast gaining ground to rape in our society now is rituals.
For those seeking power, fame, wealth and protection from the gods of darkness, the semen, vaginal fluid and blood procured during the course of the bestial act is believed to be a potent ingredient in the concoction being prepared for their desired goal. So for this, by lady who is even willing to do their bid is not considered for lovemaking. They deliberate seek out for the unwilling and tearful. Furthermore and attached to this are those who are asked to get involved in rapes as a precondition to joining a secret cult or society. Thus rape becomes an examination which must be passed before joining the group. Furthermore, young people engage in rape under the influence of drugs.
The drugs deaden their reasoning faculties and deaden their conscience, thereby making them see rape as a trivial issue. Unfortunately too, exposure to pornographic contents also provokes this insane acts by the rapists. Having fed their minds with illicit pictures of nude and undesirable elements, their minds in turn process the images, and instructs the brain to do likewise, then rape occurs. The commonest, though least reported cases of rape are those who have to sleep on bed of disrespect because they seek for favours such as admissions, pass marks, movie role and jobs.
In order to fight this odious phenomenon of rape, many have faulted the prosecuting process of criminals of the act. Many lawyers have claimed that it is difficult, given the expectations of the penal code, to prove a case of rape. However, one could disagree with this stance. If acts of rape are reported on time, and the necessary medicals are done, nailing the rapist becomes easy. It is important to note that many have lied that they have been raped when such had never occurred. The burden of proof as expected by law is still okay, but the law and society has to stop the stigmatization of the victims in order to encourage them speak out, and get the criminals nailed. In my opinion, the penalty of life imprisonment is still okay for perpetrators of rape, but when victims are murdered in the process, the convicted criminals also have to pay the supreme price.
All in all, I join my voice to the myriads all over the world to condemn in strict terms the incidence of rape in Nigeria and the world over. Government must put more efforts at preventing the incidence of rape by attacking the causes. Family members and communities must also expose rape cases and rapists, and allow the law to take its course on the matter. A dogged, consistent and productive fight against robberies, rituals, cultism, pornography, seductions, sex for favours and drug abuse, would invariably curtail the incidence of rape in Nigeria.
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