Rape, Its consequences and Rippled effects.
Rape as an act is heinous and inhumane. According to Violence against Persons Prohibition Act (VAPP), Rape is when a person intentionally penetrates the vagina, anus or mouth of a person with any other part of his/her body or anything else without consent, or with incorrectly obtained consent.
The devastating effect it causes is almost beyond repairs as a victim may never truly recover from it. In all its variety, Rape remains a terrible act that can never be justified. Just as Julie Mogbo, an activist describes “Rape is like cancer, It has no respect for age, sex or race. It starts from a spot and then gradually spreads to the entire body system ”The resultant effect for one is almost eternal as the victim goes through a lot of trauma and psychological imbalance.
Mogbo continues “It steals a victim’s pleasurable desires, purposeful drives and prospective dreams and in many cases, life. Without any invitation, a feeling of worthlessness creeps in”.
Rape is a menace that practically destroys its victims depriving them of stability or normalcy. Due to the recent ‘speak up, don’t stay silent’ trend a good number of victims attest to being in a continuous state of fear, shame, guilt and eventually depression for a long time whereas some even contemplated or attempted suicide.
Rape can lead to a variety of problems such as loss of womb, sexual pleasure, sense of worth and even happiness etc. Mogbo, also known as (The Family Bond Nurse) finalized that “Rape is like a song track placed on repeat: the incidence keeps on happening long after it has happened. With each replay, the hands and the words turn to blades cutting and creating indelible scars long after tissue healing has taken place”.
Why is Rape on the increase?
In the past, rape was regarded as a punishment well deserved; fingers were usually pointed to the victims in one way or another as being guilty and deserving rape.
The reasons could range from their dress code or frolicking with the wrong association or even when one is considered too proud or disrespectful, but in recent times the reasons for rape has exceeded these lousy excuses as rape now transcends physical attraction, revenge, spite etc. These days, a day hardly goes by without the report of rape on a victim somewhere around the world and the gory details usually include an attempt on the victim’s life.
Perhaps one reason why rape is on the increase in Nigeria is due to the country’s ineffective laws and the inability of our judicial systems to bring these culprits to book.
Bukola Dakolo recently attests to this on her verified Instagram page when she cries out on the silence of the Ministry of Justice in Abuja after the concluded investigation report for the onward prosecution of Biodun Fatoyinbo who she accused of rape In 2019 , handed to them over a month ago. She wrote “…the Nigerian legal system isn’t wired to help sexual abuse victims get justice”. The founder of Peach Aid Medical Initiative Nkasiobim Nebo says “Nigeria is not doing enough to tackle rape cases and this is why the incidences have increased at an alarming rate, there may be skeletal laws and policies already passed, but have they been implemented?” she adds that “there is little or absolutely no policy that has been put in place to help rape victims, rather they are stigmatized and humiliated”. According to All Africa, Nigeria has at least five legal provisions which provide access to justice for rape victims namely: The Criminal Code, the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act (VAPP), the Penal Code (PC), the Criminal Laws of Lagos(CLL), the Controversial Child Rights Act(CRA).All of which have their specific jurisdiction and has recently been outlined as unable to effectively serve justice by Premium Times.
Another reason for the increase of rape in Nigeria may be in the resultant effect of rape itself on a long run (the ripple effect of rape) and the delay in Justice. Just as a drop of water causes a ripple on a calm body of water and that single ripple goes on to cause other ripples which in time disturbs the serenity of the water, the same goes on in a society where a rapist roams freely, he damages as many as possible and they in turn goes on and does same to others.
It becomes a situation where the victim becomes a predator as well and all these are the results of silence (victim) and delay in justice. Founder of Movement Against Domestic Violence, Edoamaowo Udeme says “we are not doing enough to tackle the issues of rape in the country that explains why victims keep quiet instead of speaking out”, she adds that “… in the criminal and penal codes, the law prescribes life imprisonment for convicted rapists but since I was born till now, I don’t think I have seen anyone go to jail for life for rape. The most we have had is the recently enacted VAPP where rapists have been sentenced to several years”.
How can we curb/bring an end to rape?
Ineffective policies should be implemented and effected immediately and perpetrators of rape apprehended, tried and justice served according to their crimes without delay. According to All Africa, lawmakers in the wake of the recent rape cases are concerned but conscious. A lawmaker, James Faleke recommended that persons found guilty of rape should be castrated, his prayer was rejected but all in the House adopted the motion for stiffer penalties against those found guilty of rape.
A Nigerian activist and Executive Director of Adopt A Goal For Development Initiative, Ariyo-Dare Atoye says” …we should get tougher and commence a #CutItOff campaign in addition to other measures that the government are putting in place, what this means is that if your manhood will make you to commit rape, we must encourage potential rapists to #CutItOff, it is not a sin…”A senator, Sandy Onor in an interview says “…the society needs to be properly educated…
As Africans we need to operate by our own ethos and laws…There should be propriety in dressing…that is also not enough reason for any boy, or man to rape a woman. Our boys must be taught to show a sense of responsibility, they must hold to the tenets of who a gentleman should be” just as Francis Sule, an actor and inspirational speaker puts it in his video on Instagram“Let’s have boys know that masculinity is not some inherited checklist of mannerisms that they must live by, lets raise emotionally intelligent and wholesome minded young men that knows that it is not okay to go about misbehaving just because they were born with a penis, let us teach them love and respect for themselves and others.
As senator Onor advised the society should be properly enlightened and educated on the reasons, causes, effects and punishment of rape as well as the importance of proper consent before intercourse introduced. Let’s seek consent first and desist from rape; it is heinous, inhumane and has a long-lasting ripple effect.