In the last few weeks, Nigeria has recorded many cases of rape and other forms of sexual violence. From the case of Uwa a twenty-year old undergraduate raped and murdered in a cathedral to the rape of a two and seven month old by people old enough to be their grandparents.
The whole issue has been very frightening, alarming and disheartening. This makes one wonder why an evil syndrome could within a short space eat into the fabric of the moral system of the country.
The social media was agog with several hashtags such as #justiceforuwa to #saynotorapists. This was necessary to raise the consciousness of Nigerians and our government on the urgent need to promulgate strict laws to curb the excesses.
Many states had speedily taken action by passing several bills into law. One which comes to mind easily is Osun State which passed a life sentence in those caught in the act. It also said that anyone who attempted it was to serve a fourteen year jail term.
Some other individuals are proposing castration or murder since the crime was gruesome and most times led to the death of the victim. This was apart from the trauma the victims are subjected to for victim.
Many people were of the opinion that indecent dressing was the main cause of rape. However, I have refuted this claim in this article. This is because there are other underlying causes. This include but not limited to:
This is the lack of self-restraint, an inability to control oneself. We could also say it is unchastity in simple terms. Incontinence is caused by several factors such as over exposure to sexual and pornographic materials to bad companies. This makes it difficult for the individual to be able to hold himself. This is the reason why many rapists go as far as having intercourse with infants who are at the stage of development.
Our society needs to understand the fact that unless something tangible is done in this regard, we will keep heaping the blame on indecent dressing and regalia when in actual sense there are other underlying causes.
2. Weak Sexual Laws
This is another reason why several rapists are able to go scott free without being punished. The laxity of laws against rape and other sexual crimes can be a challenge especially for the safety of women. Nigerian laws have always been said to lack implementation. Thus, they merely exist on paper.
3. Impunity and the culture of silence/secrecy
The culture of secrecy has prevented many victims of rape from coming out openly to speak up. They prefer to cover the crime as they believe that it is best to let sleeping dogs lie and that there is no use crying over spilt milk.
This is most cases is a wrong notion which has no element of truth in it.
What then can Nigeria do to end the culture of rape?
Several things can be done. This include:
1. Orientation and mental rehabilitation
Since the mind is the gateway to the body, giving individuals orientation could assist and go a long way to abate rape in the society.
2. Breaking the silence syndrome
Victims of rape should be encouraged to speak up. This is an important role to end the culture. Keeping silent would allow the perpetrators walk free without being punished accordingly.
Educating youths and raising their consciousness about rape is vital. This can be in the from of workshops, conferences etc. Education will reduce the level of risk associated with rape and other forms of sexual violence and crimes.
4. Mounting pressure on the government
Looking at the issue back and forth, the government has the highest share of responsibility. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that Nigerians should mount pressure on the government. This could take the form of protests, letters to the government and legislators, use of the media etc.