13th September, 2010
Daily, newspapers and magazines are replete with horrible tales of rape. No gender is leftÂ out but the regular victims include female teenagers, housewives, female children and evenÂ female toddlers, not forgetting young boys who are sodomised for fetish reasons andÂ sometimes for pleasure by sick men.
The danger of this horrible scourge to the victims are multifarious.Â The psychological andÂ physical effects of rape may sometimes remain with the victims for life.When such storiesÂ appear in newspapers, the first reaction of readers is to ask why. Why would a man rape aÂ woman? Why would a man rape a toddler? Why would a group of men rape all the female they setÂ eyes upon?
War, as it happened in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the so-called rape capital of theÂ world, may be a good reason for these animals but are we in a state of war in Nigeria thatÂ females now need to be wary of where they walk or parents of where their female children go?
As recently as last week, a pastor was reported to have raped another pastorâ€™s wife. TheÂ victimâ€™s husband, also a pastor in another church was said to have sent his wife to theÂ rapist to help collect a bag. But the randy rapist was said to have tricked the woman andÂ had his way with her. The case is still in court.
Another report in the same publication, and on the same day, told the story of anÂ 11-year-old girl who was raped by four men and infected with the dreaded HIV disease. WhileÂ one of them has been arrested, the three others are now at large, and doubt, infecting ofÂ her victims.
Several cases have been charged to court but the rapists soon get back on the streets. WeÂ believe the punishment for rape is too lenient in Nigeria. In the United States and EuropeÂ on which our laws are modeled, the punishment for rape, if proven beyond reasonable doubt,Â is a deterrent to would-be rapist hence such incidents are rather far and in-between.
In February, 2009, Italy changed her punishment on rape to life imprisonment. Nigeria cannotÂ afford to be different. We cannot fold our hands and allow these animals destroy our wivesÂ and children. The National Assembly should enact stringent laws to deal with the rapeÂ scourge instead of their usual bickering like children at every sitting. Non-governmentÂ organisations too must put pressure on the Federal Government and lobby the NationalÂ Assembly to take another look at our laws of rape and other unacceptable sexual conducts.
Our children have a right to grow up in an atmosphere devoid of sexual miscreants. TheyÂ should be given a chance to grow up like most of us did. According to the Child Rights LawÂ in Nigeria (31(2) enacted by the federal government in May 2003, anyone convicted for rapeÂ is liable to life imprisonment. But nobody seems to be enforcing the law. Thus women andÂ girls continue to be raped and molested.
Most of the time rape cases in Nigeria go unreported because even the human right group,Â Amnesty International acknowledges that the Nigerian government is failing to prosecuteÂ police and soldiers who rape women and children with impunity.
African Director of Amnesty International, Kolawole Olaniyan says: The harsh reality listÂ that if you are a woman or a girl in Nigeria who has suffered the terrible experience ofÂ being raped, your suffering is likely to be met with intimidation by the police,Â indifference from the state and the knowledge that the perpetrator is unlikely to ever faceÂ justice.â€