From the recent case of a 14-year-old girl who was raped by an unknown man in Lagos, to another young girl that was allegedly raped by a man who later claimed that she was his girlfriend, inside a kiosk in Iyana ipaja Lagos. The alarming rate at which such rape incidences are being reported on the pages of the newspapers and also on social Medias are now widespread. Rape reflects the ambivalence, moral decadence, ethical bankruptcy, materialism corrupt soul, widespread promiscuity and hypocrisy that have characterized Nigerians over the years. There was a case of a 44-year-old man from Ini local government area of Akwa Ibom state who actually confessed to having had sexual intercourse with his daughter several times. What then can we say about a man in Enugu who raped three of his children ages 3,7,10? Another 10-year-old girl who cried out after constant defilement by her father for a period of 18 months in Lagos. What can we say about all this? Victims of rape generally are female children hawking on the streets in town, cities, and villages. Who are often lured by predators or forcefully 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 underaged girls. Hawking has become a cultural trait in many communities whereby females are given oranges, yam etc to sell mostly after school hours by a desperate parent in the bid to boost their family financial power. Many children are involved in such forced labour to make economic ends meet. Rape and other forms of several harassments need urgent and serious attention from family institutions, civil society groups, government and the international community if we really want to ensure a violence-free society for all. In Nigeria, a total number of 150 reported cases of sexual and physical abuse were recorded in Lagos state. The commissioner of women affairs and poverty alleviation Mrs Lola Akande said the ministry in the last one year had treated about 589 cases ranging from sexual abuse, physical abuse, and child labour. If nobody is alarmed at the frequency of these occurrences, we are. They seem to have grown in frequency maybe because our institutions are not addressing these crimes by dealing with the perpetrators. In a survey carried out on rape cases in Nigeria universities, we discovered that in one of the top federal universities. Out of 100%, 67% did nothing after they were raped while 33% made some kind of feeble report of being raped to friends, a course adviser and others made the report to parents or guardians. If that number in our tertiary institutions would decide to keep quiet after they have been raped by lecturers and fellow students, it means we have one hell of a problem on our hands. Keeping quiet after been raped may just be one good reason why the crime is on the rise in Nigeria. We also found out as well that most people keep quiet because they don’t have confidence in the security agencies. This lack of confidence can make a student and the larger society to begin resort to self-help in the resolution of incidence in rape and sexual molestation in all strata of our lives. The men of today are now lust in the need to satisfy their sexual urge, forgetting the fact that these females are the future of tomorrow. Our females are to be respected and treated as queens in the community. They deserve the best from us which is yet to come. The time has come for our men to zip up their trousers and complement our girls. The judiciary has to intensify efforts in removing the delay in prosecuting rapist, being fully aware that the rape cases are hard to prove. We believe that the law must no longer be lenient with the rapist at all levels in the community so as to deter perpetrators in the society.
Onilogbo Adesegun writes
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