Rising Cases of Rape in Nigeria

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Cases of rape of minors and teenagers is on the increase in Nigeria going by daily media reports on the incident recently

By Anayo Ezugwu

Despite the fact that sex is now a cheap commodity in Nigeria, some men who cannot control their sexual urge are on the prowl, looking for children to defile sexually. Investigations revealed that cases of rape especially among minors and teenagers are on the increase across the country.

Although there is no official statistics of the number of rape cases recorded in the country this year, the media is awash with reports of rape cases on a daily bases. But a 2017 report by Women at Risk International Foundation, WARIF, showed that one in every four girls experience at least one form of sexual assault before 18 years of age. “We are over 160 million and half of the population are women, and half of the women are under the age of 24, that’s 10,000 girls everyday that are survivors of this horrific crime,” the report stated.

The latest of this animalistic act is the gang rape of a 13-year-old girl at Ajuwon, Ogun State. The victim is still suffering from the trauma she experienced after she was allegedly raped by a gang of four boys.

The victim was reportedly raped while being unconscious. According to the victim, who works as an apprentice nurse after school hours, she was approached by one of the gang members on her way to her workplace on Friday, November 23. The suspect blew an unknown substance into her eyes, which made her lose consciousness after she resisted his advances. It was gathered that the suspect carried the victim to an uncompleted building in the Baale area of Ajuwon, Ogun State, where his gang members were waiting for him.

The victim said she regained consciousness after the boys had allegedly had their turns with her. “When I was coming from school on Friday, one of the boys in the community held my hand and I told him to leave me alone but instead, he dipped his hand inside his pocket, brought out a substance and blew it into my eyes; I immediately became unconscious.

“When I woke up, I saw myself in an uncompleted building and I asked him what I was doing there but he shouted me down. When I looked around, I saw four boys with different charms and an axe surrounding me. I asked again why he brought me to an uncompleted building and what he did to me, but I was shouted down again; when I tried to stand up, the boys brought out a knife and an axe and threatened that if I shout, I would be killed.

“I started begging them not to kill me; when I checked my body, I saw blood coming out of my private parts; I was offered cotton to clean the blood but I rejected it and used a cloth that was with me to clean the blood. When they eventually allowed me to go, the boys told me that after what they had done to me, I would not be able to conceive and they threw me out through the window,” she said.

The victim added that one of the suspects suggested that they should kill her so as to cover their tracks but another gang member opposed the suggestion and threatened to kill her with an axe if she mentioned to anybody what they did to her.

Despite the threats by the suspects, Ogun State police command has arrested one of the suspects’ mother for aiding the escape of her son. Abimbola Oyeyemi, police public relations officer in the state, in a statement said since the case was reported, the police have been on the lookout for the boy that was identified among them and when he was seen, the mother of the boy shielded him and allowed him to escape. “The mother is in custody at the Ajuwon Police Station and she will be charged to court for aiding the escape of the suspect, if she is not able to produce her son.”

But Eugenia Irobiegbulam, executive secretary, First Whizkidz Educational Foundation, who is handling the case, has called on the police to redeem their image to ensure that the suspects were apprehended. “We want justice for the victim because we know there are many victims like her. The girl-child is stigmatised and shamed for what she knows nothing about.

“The victim has not been able to go out since the day of the incident; according to the medical report, she was badly wounded and we are trying to get her healed medically, psychologically and emotionally. Why can’t the police arrest these suspect and bring them to justice? The police will make an arrest and bail out the suspect, while the girl-child is suffering,” she said.

Similarly, the death of Ochanya Elizabeth Ogbanje, a 13-year-old, who died few weeks ago of rape is still fresh in the minds of Nigerians. Ogbanje died on October 17, after battling vesico vaginal fistula, VVF, and other health challenges for months.  She was admitted in hospital due to years of sexual molestation by her aunty’s husband, whom she referred to as uncle.

Andrew Ogbuja, a lecturer at Benue State Polytechnic’s Department of Catering and Hotel Management, Ugbokolo, and his son, Victor Ogbuja, allegedly began molesting the deceased three years after she moved into their home.  Ogbanje went to live with her aunty at the age of five and the abuse started in 2013 when she was eight.

Reports said she was regularly drugged, abused, molested and raped. At the time of her death, she was a JSS 2 student at the Federal Government College, Gboko, Benue State.

The Benue state government has vowed to prosecute Ogbuja and he is presently facing trail at the State High Court in Makurdi. But Governor Samuel Ortom of the state has directed the ministry of justice to take up prosecution of the rape and homicide case entered against Ogbuja.

These are just few examples which show what many women in Nigeria, especially children and teenage girls are being subjected to. Rape used to be a matter that was hushed in whispers or rumours because it belongs to the realm of forbidden acts and was indeed uncommon.

But in recent times, the reverse has been the case. The media are inundated with reports of cases of rape which have become a common phenomenon everywhere in homes, the neighbourhoods, schools, worship centres among others. Experts have raised the alarm on the danger which rape portends in the society.

Aliu Damilola, a clinical psychologist, with the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Lagos, said from observation, children are mainly the targets of rapists today because they are naïve and can’t protect themselves as well. “Aside the punishment given to anybody that rapes a child or an adult, parents has a big work to do.

“Parents should take time to study their children, examine them regularly and create an enabling environment that would enable them to report any one they suspect around them. We should not wait for something to happen before reporting it. And for the adult ladies, they should try and dress decently to avoid harassment,” she said

According to Damilola, children who suffer constant rape or sexual abuse either by their relatives, neighbours or someone older than them may end up having some psychological symptoms like post-traumatic stress disorder and rape trauma syndrome which is always characterised by symptoms like withdrawal, anxiety and constant nightmares in adulthood. These, she said, are all manifest symptoms of rape tendencies.

Linus Awuta, a gynaecologist with Federal Medical Centre, Keffi, Nasarawa State, described the rising incidents of rape as a pathetic experience. He said the painful aspect of it is that most of the victims are teenagers who have brighter future ahead. He appealed to relevant authorities to live up to their responsibilities to forestall this ugly incident. “After conducting test on them, we discovered that half or more are positive to various degrees of sexual transmitted diseases.”

Similarly, Funmi Falana, national leader and chairperson, Women Empowerment and Legal Aid, WELA, said violence against women in public and domestic life had continued to increase, as cases of rape and spousal murder had also become very rampant in the society. “Domestic violence in most cases are being perpetrated against women and children and sometimes men in the hands of their wives but the common forms of violence in the home are perpetrated by males who are in positions of trust, intimacy and power over the female partner, like husbands, boyfriends, fathers, fathers-in-law and mothers-in-law, step fathers and step mothers, uncles, among others,” Falana said.

– Dec. 7, 2018 @ 16:05 GMT |

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