Stepping Up Fight Against Rape

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Rape, in all its ramifications, is a serious crime against man and God, as it depicts man at his most bestial level in his bid to satiate his uncontrollable libido. The incidence of rape has continued to increase, particularly in Nigeria.
Most worrisome is the fact that the female folks have increasingly become victims of vicious rape in the country, and nothing concrete appears to have been done to check the ugly trend, as most perpetrators of this heinous crime are often not brought to justice.
A recent study on rape prevalence in Nigeria carried out by the Institute of Public Health, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), and sponsored by Global Health Action indicates that rape cases in the country are on the increase by the day.
The survey also reveals that Nigeria has recorded 31.4 per cent of rape cases against females and 5.7 per cent against males; and that all these cases involve persons of both sexes within the sexually active adolescent bracket.
Similarly, police sources disclose that no week passes without reports of rape cases and that rape matters are either not reported or are under-reported, essentially due to cultural or social reasons.
Further offering an insight into the pathetic situation, a human rights group’s spokesman, Mr Evans Ufeli said despite the prevalence of rape incidents in Nigeria, only 18 convictions have so far been recorded in the country’s legal system since independence.
He posited that though the nation’s Criminal Code specifically prescribes adequate punishment for proven rape cases, victims are either frustrated by the police or the legal system-cum public prosecution.
The Tide agrees no less, because, while the law prescribes life imprisonment for rape and 14 years imprisonment for those involved in attempted rape cases, the enforcement of the law has been the greatest impediment. This is primarily because law enforcement in the country generally has been frustrating, cumbersome, tedious and unacceptable.
It is no gainsaying that lack of diligence on the part of law officers handling issues of rape has been the major reason why victims are reluctant to report their ordeal to law enforcement agencies, the International Federation of Female Lawyers (FIDA) or other relevant bodies.
This is coupled with the perceived stigma that the society attaches to such cases, a situation which invariably makes parents of rape victims shy away from also reporting such matters.
The stigma which the society often attaches to rape victims has no doubt exacerbated the increasing incidence of rape in the country.
It is, therefore, against this background that we call for proper sensitisation of the citizenry and recommend that proper diligence be applied in the handling of rape cases in the country.
Indeed, the society should not subject rape victims to psychological trauma or stigma for a crime they did not bargain for. It is most reprehensible that even minors, between the ages of two and eight years, are now victims of rape by male adults. That youngmen rape minors, mutilate their bodies and kill them for ritual purposes, leave a sour taste in the mouth.
Thus, the need to check this ugly trend has become more compelling. And it is high time stakeholders evolved ways and means of curbing the rape menace in the society. There is also the need to strengthen the country’s legal system, to check the increasing incidence of rape, and possibly insulate it from the vagaries of serial rapists. The re-orientation of the youth in this regard, with a view to returning them to the path of moral rectitude can be a starting point. The time for action is now.