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Published On: Thu, Jan 9th, 2020

The Unfinished battle against rape

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By Osikominu Oreoluwa Olaniyi

A teenage girl was raped by her church pastor. She said that one day her mother and her sisters travelled, so the pastor noticed their absence from church that day so he came to her house to “check up on the family.” Osikominu Oreoluwa Olaniyi Realizing that she was the only one at home, he took advantage of the moment and raped her.
When he was done with her, she was crying and he said to her that she should be happy that a man of God slept with her, and then left the house. That was all. He also raped her when he noticed that she was on her way home alone in the night at a secluded area and he drove off after that. From the story above we can start by saying, that rape is a type of assault usually involving sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual penetration carried out against a person without that person’s consent.
People who have been raped can be traumatized and develop post-traumatic stress disorder. Serious injuries can result along with the risk of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. According to available statistics, Africa has one of the highest frequency rates of child sexual abuse around hovering around 34.4 percent. As at 2004, 60 percent of children involved in child trafficking from Africa to Europe were Nigerians. Between 2012 and 2013, about 30 percent of women in Nigeria experienced one form of domestic violence or another, including rape. It was found that 24.8% of females’ ages 18 to 24 years experiences sexual abuse prior to age 18 of which 5.0% sought help, with only 3.5% receiving any services.
In Nigeria, when someone hears that a girl or woman has been raped, the first question people ask is, “what was she wearing?” But it’s not all about that. Little children are also being raped and what can a small child wear that could attract a man to rape her? People also ask questions like “What time did she go out or was she out in the night? As if people of particular sex cannot be free to go out and do their legitimate businesses anytime they want like the male counterparts? Some other time, they say the way girls relate with the opposite sex is the reason for the assaults. Put together, these excuses or reasons given by some members of the society for the heinous crimes of rape and other sexual abuses do not add up.
No reason is justifiable for someone to forcefully and without the consent of another, have carnal knowledge as well as abuse the other. Apart from little babies, young girls and women, there have been reports also of young boys and even adult males raped by matured women and men, at some other times by a gang. One can say the reasons why people rape is because they lack self-control, which means they cannot control their sexual urge when they see a woman or person of opposite sex.
Another reason is the sexual orientation which is the type of people they are attracted to or fancy much. For example, a man can be attracted to another man and that is his sexual orientation while some young men are attracted to woo older women and some women are attracted to like younger boys. Another reason could be revenge or vendetta especially in the universities and other tertiary institutions. When a woman offends a young man in a humiliating way, he may turn to rape as a way of getting back at her. One more reason involves psychological problems. This problem affects their way of thinking and relating to people which might explain why a matured man or woman would rape their daughter or son or a child, all in the name of satisfying their sexual urge.
One way you can help prevent rape is by listening to your sixth sense when alone. Although you can never fully protect yourself from potential sexual assault, it’s important that you avoid dangerous situations, avoid isolated public areas, trust your guts, keep your phone charged and with you, avoid going somewhere alone with someone you don’t know well and don’t use music headphones when walking alone. In addition, in order to reduce risk situations, when going to parties or social events, go with a group of friends and stay with the group, do not leave your drink unattended and if you do leave it, just get a new drink, do not accept drinks from strangers or someone you just met.
Despite your best efforts to prevent rape you still need to know what to do when being raped. You could make up an excuse that you are having your period or even that you have a sexually transmitted disease. You could call attention to yourself by screaming. If someone actually attacks you, scratch him with your fingernails and pull his hair, bite and kick just do anything to make him let go even for a second and then run.
If your attacker is armed with a gun or knife the above strategies may not work effectively so if you choose to physically attack an armed aggressor, your actions must be unexpected, sudden and extremely painful. Target his most vulnerable spots such as his testicles, eye sockets, instep or windpipe with a harmful intention. And in the case of little children being raped, parents should be extra careful who they leave their child with as no one can be trusted. They should always inspect their child’s body for any strange marks or bruises whatsoever.
No one wishes for anyone to be raped even those involved in the terrible act don’t wish for it to happen to someone they are close to like their sisters, friends, daughters and even mothers. It is a very sad and painful process even after the person has been raped it is very hard for someone to come out of such traumatising situation. Therefore, if anybody sees someone in a situation that seems to be leading to rape, they should help or help the person cry for help.

Osikominu Oreoluwa Olaniyi is a Public Affairs Analyst.

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