Nigeria’s endless scourge of rape
From the dense forest of Sambisa, Maiduguri to the coastal marshy terrains of the Niger Delta, the trending news is rape. It is the everyday staple the news media feed us now. Our ears are inundated with sordid and sad tales of ladies, who were raped including old women and minors.
The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of English defines rape as the “crime of forcing someone to have sex with you, especially using violence.” Daily , we are regaled with tales about rape, so what is the reason behind the prevalence of rape in our society? Some people posit that women invite rape to themselves by dressing suggestively and scantily.
It is believed that the bare flesh of women, especially the erogenous zones and mid-riffs, sets men’s sexual hormones on fire when they see it. That’s why the campaign against indecent dressing is being carried out on campuses across the country.
However, in the olden times, it was said that women would do farm work and domestic chores either scantily dressed or in their birthday suits. Yet, they were not ravaged by male sex predators. So, some men’s rationalization of their perpetration of the act of rape on the grounds that they cannot rein in their sexual urge upon seeing the erogenous zones of women holds no water.
But, is it the sexual attractiveness of female toddlers that drive male rapists to defile them? can those minors who are without sexual attractiveness arouse sexual urge in normal men? Can women who are octogenarians excite sexual passion in normal men? These grandmothers and female minors who do not exude sexual charm have become sexual games for morally depraved men.
But why do rapists rape female octogenarians and little female children? The answer is not far-fetched. They rape these people to make their money-making rituals potent. This horrendous act of the rapists underlines the godlessness that has existed among us, although we devoutly profess Christianity, Islam, or other religious faiths. It is a pointer to the fact that we do not set store by virtues, such as love, holiness, faithfulness, and chastity which are preached by our religious leaders.
it is also saddening that our religiosity has not succeeded in stemming the tide of the erosion of moral values in our society. Instead of according respect to men of moral probity, we despise them for their poverty. However, people with ill-gotten wealth, who are morally debased, are lionized and eulogized and have become our role models.
More so, incestuous relationships have become part of our narratives. There are men, who deflowered their daughters and turn them to sex toys. And there are women who lured their sons into bed for sex. So, the family, which is one of the agents of socialization, has failed abysmally in its onerous responsibility of instilling good morals into children of impressionable ages.
It is an indisputable fact that both religion and family, which are agents of socialization, have contributed significantly to the increase in rape cases in Nigeria. We do hear tales about pastors who rape female members of their churches, too.
Again, in our today’s society, men’s addiction to hard drugs like tramadol, heroin, cocaine, marijuana, and others predisposes and emboldens them to commit sundry heinous crimes, such as armed robbery, kidnapping, pickpocketing, and rape. Those rapists, who are continually under the influence of drugs, are sadomasochists, who derive immense pleasure from sexually assaulting their victims.
These sexual perverts are neatly dressed and spruced up, and do not look like people who commit the crime of rape. They may hold top posts in the civil service, military, banks, and others.
And, there are men, who nurse grudges against their old flames, who jilted them. They couldn’t come to terms with the fact and reality that their romantic relationships with their girlfriends had come to an end. Instead of moving on with their lives, they would expend their mental energies plotting how to revenge on their former girlfriends. So, they would either bath their old flames with corrosive liquid or they would gang-rape them, inflicting both physical and psychological pains on them.
The effects of rape on rape victims are legion and devastating. Not a few female rape victims are traumatized for the rest of their lives after they had been raped. Are some women’s frigidity not traceable to the sexual violence that was inflicted on them by rapists? Even after they had gotten married, they would still have a great dislike for sex owing to what they suffered in the past. Their negative attitude to sex can cause the breakup of their marriages.
More so, victims of rape are stigmatized, which makes them have low self- esteem. That’s why some women who suffered rape did not make it public, not to talk of them inviting the police to arrest the rapists.
When rape victims keep silent, rapists are emboldened to continue perpetrating the vile act of rape and some of the rape victims are landed with unintended pregnancies while others are infected with the deadly HIV diseases and other STDs.
So, it behooves us to step up the war against rape in our country. In Nigeria, we have enough laws for addressing the issue of rape. And I urge rape victims not to keep quiet for fear of being stigmatized. They should invite the police to effect the arrest of the culprits and press charges against them.
Chiedu Uche Okoye
Okoye is a poet