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Counsel Corner: What if a woman is a rapist?

With Dayo Benson

I read your publication, May 31, 2012 Law and Human Right’s  column on rape. What about women that forcefully have sex with minors  and men, is this not rape?

Lawrence, J.Jnr. Bomadi, Delta State.

OF course there are instances when few women gang up to rape a man for reasons best known to them. I say few women because it may be inconceivable for a woman to rape a man except in some exceptional circumstances. e.g. it is possible for female adult to rape a minor or physically incapacitated male.

However, the law does not contemplate that a woman has capacity to commit rape. That is why the law uses phrases like canal knowledge and penetration of female vagina etc. Indeed, one of the essential ingredients to prove rape  is slightest penetration of the female organ. This is an act which only a man can perform.

Hence Section 357 of the Criminal Code Laws of the Federation defines rape  thus “any person who has unlawful canal knowledge of a woman or girl without her consent or with her consent, if the consent is obtained by force or any means of threat or intimidation of any kind, or by fear of harm or by means of false or fraudulent representation as to the nature of the act, or, in the case of married woman impersonating her husband is guilty of an offence which is called rape.’’

These provisions are similar to Sections 258 and Section 259 of Lagos State Criminal Code which provide that: S. 258  “(1) Any man who has unlawful sexual intercourse with a woman or girl, without her consent, is guilty of the offence of rape and liable to imprisonment for life.

(2) A woman or girl does not consent to sexual intercourse if she submits to the act by reason of force, impersonation, threat or intimidation of any kind, fear of harm or false or fraudulent representation as to the nature of the act.

(3) Sexual intercourse between a man and a woman who are married is not unlawful.

(4) Sexual intercourse is complete on the slightest penetration of the vagina.

S. 259- Any person who penetrates sexually the anus, vagina, mouth or any other opening in the body of another person with a part of his body or anything else, without the consent of the person is guilty of a felony and liable to imprisonment for life.

Perhaps law makers at states and federal levels need to have a fresh look at the Criminal Codes especially on this issue.


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