BY EMMANUEL EDUKUGHO
Ordinarily, rape is forcefully having sex with someone against her wish or will, especially using violence. Over 90% of predatory sex is perpetrated by males against females. To some extent, rape reflects the ambivalence, moral decadence, ethical bankruptcy, materialism, corrupt soul, widespread promiscuity and hypocrisy that have characterized Nigerians over the years.
There is no age limit regarding rape as children, babies, adolescents, matured adults, mothers, grandmothers, and women of over 70 years are being raped or defiled recklessly. Rape, generally speaking, is an infringement on the rights of individuals, particularly children and could amount to gross violation of child rights.
It is believed that there are 181 rape cases within six months in Lagos State alone. Compared to other states of the federation (36-state structure and FCT Abuja), one can easily imagine the number of rape cases which in totality could be alarming.
Recently, Edo State Police Command paraded 50 suspects for various criminal activities including being members of deadly secret cults, armed robbery and so on. Out of the 50 for an example, 12 were held for rape and defilement of underage children. Among them are suspects above 65 years who are to be arraigned in court.
Victims of rape generally are female children hawking on the streets in towns, cities and villages who are often lured by predators or seized outrightly and taken into a room, sometimes uncompleted buildings and raped.
Poverty and lack of access to basic education are some of the contributory factors to the unwarranted defilement of underage girls. Hawking has become a cultural trait in many communities whereby female children are given oranges, yams, cooked maize, groundnuts, tomatoes, plantains to sell mostly after school hours by desperate parents in bids to boost family income. Many children are involved in such forced labour to make economic ends meet. They could end up being lured into secret, quiet places or rooms and raped even by neigbours.
Incidents of rape are not limited to children. Young women, married or single can be victims.
A woman who refused to disclose her name told this reporter about her ordeal in the hands of rapists while returning from the office at about 9 p.m on a lonely street in Igando, a suburb in Ojo Local Government Area.
Her words: “As I alighted from the bus, I was walking along the road to link my apartment when I was overtaken by two youngmen and forced into a quiet secluded uncompleted building. They brandished sharp long knives and told me that if I make any noise, I will regret and therefore should co-operate with them. There was nothing I could do at that instance. No one was around and the place was extremely quiet. The two boys took me into the building and forcibly had sex with me one by one.
“When they finished, they ran away and left me on the ground totally exhausted. I could not get up for 30 minutes. When I managed to get up, I went home to where I was staying with a girl friend ; wounded, sad and unhappy.”
But she was unable to narrate the incident to her friend who noticed by my appearance that something was wrong.
Defilement has taken a spiritual dimension also. A pastor in Olorun- sogo, Abeokuta, Ogun State, 34, had carnal knowledge of a 20 year old church member. A charm was reportedly used on her after which she went into a trance as the pastor eventually had his way.
Another pastor reportedly raped a girl allegedly to “cleanse her spirit of dirt,” according to the victim in an Abuja court where the pastor was standing trial: “I cannot remember the number of times that he raped me. Papa (pastor) told me it was a continuous deliverance and he had to sleep with me to clean the dirt inside me and cleanse my future.”
There was another incident in Enugu in which two girls – aged 10 and 11 years were raped in one room by a 42 year old man. The two girls were defiled together, locked up n the room as the man engaged them in sex. Neighbours who suspected had to force the door open to rescue the victims who were already bleeding.
Also in Calabar, Cross River State, two men – aged 27 and 24 years respectively, allegedly conspired to rape a 12-year old girl whom they have been admiring for some time. On her return from school on that fateful day, both men reportedly had sex with this girl. One of the men held her while the other performed the act. After the first person satisfied himself, he held her for his friend to do the same. The victim’s mouth was held to prevent her from shouting.
When the girl reported the incident to her parents who were not at home at the time, they took her to the hospital for medical test. At that point, it was discovered that she had been violated, her hymen had been broken while her private part indicated forceful entry and also had infection. The matter was reported to the police who took them to court for prosecution.
It has been discovered that rapists were taking undue advantage of deaf girls to commit their heinous crime. According to a NAN report, a researcher, Dr. Oyeduni Arologun of the Department of Health Promotion and Education, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, in her research work titled “Sexual and Reproductive Health Needs of Deaf Girls: A case study of Ibadan,” revealed that many of the rapists of these deaf girls are their step fathers and other people well known to them.
They experienced sexual, physical, and psychological violence like anyone else. When they are sexually violated, they cannot complain. They don’t have the language to communicate and so most of the rape incidents go unreported to security agencies. The persons supposed to help them often do not understand sign language which is a means of communication of the deaf. Many of these deaf girls have been found to be HIV/AIDS positive when tested, because there are no intermediaries to interprete as deaf girls are not usually predisposed to disclose information to medical personnel.
According to the research finding, deaf girls are special needs people and so efforts should be made to provide them with the necessary skills to have a sense of belonging. Security agencies have been urged to promptly arrest and prosecute rape victims.
There are several men who defiled children for ritual purposes with the intention of getting rich after sex with kids of ages between one year and two years. Some also believed having sexual intercourse with underaged children could cure them of the dreaded HIV/AIDS disease. These are strange things bordering on occultism which propel men to engage in weird sex acts.
“Some men defile their own little daughters due to occult promptings. At the same time, they rape toddlers with the belief of getting wealthy or making money excessively. Many herbal doctors encouraged these unholy, immoral, incest-like behaviour,” said Meyiwa Green, a Sociologist.
He added: “Many youngmen rape grandmothers who are between 70 and 80 years and such have become rampant in recent years. The society has lost its moral bearing because of materialism. We have to go back to God for forgiveness so as to avoid hell fire at the end of our journey here on earth. The iniquities are becoming too many.”