Every day, we read on the pages of Nigerian newspapers or hear over the radio and television, of chilling reports of the activities of rapists in the country. Long before the explosion of our so called civilization, we hardly heard of rape. Raping was almost alien to us in Nigeria. So also was armed robbery and many antisocial behaviours plaguing the country today.
Since the oil boom of the early 70s, following the end of the civil war, our society has gone chaotic with all manner of criminal activities. Reports of armed robbery, car snatching and other associated crimes have become the order of the day.
Just within the last few months, Nigerians have been entertained, yet chilled, with gory stories or rape. Few months ago, a Headmaster was accused of raping an eight-year-old pupil in his school. Men over 60 are known to have raped under-age children, according to reports. Not long ago, a headline “Pastor rapes member in the altar” was on the pages of a newspaper.
We must stop to pose some questions. If these stories were correct we can ask, why did some Nigerians turn into animals? What type of sexual enjoyment can they derive from assaulting these little kids? What has gone wrong in our society? Is it civilization?
It is a well known fact that some people sexually assault their maids, their relations. In an attempt to satisfy the animalistic urge, must people debase themselves to a level of beast in the bush?
Unfortunately, many rape cases are never reported to the police by the victims or their parents. Even when they are reported and police decide to take action, the complaint will always develop cold feet, preferring not to continue the case for fear of scandal. In such circumstances, the police will do nothing than to close the case. That is why rapists continue to have a field day while their victims suffer in silence.
Anybody who has become a victim of rape is exposed to a life time trauma which she may find difficult to shake off. No rape victim likes to carry the stigma.
Unfortunately, sexual intercourse is an act that takes place secretly which those involved would not like to discuss openly. This explains why many rapes go unreported either to parents or to law enforcement agencies. That is why some mothers and wives who have reason to suspect that their husbands are sex maniacs are compelled to have their watchful eyes on their children and maids. Those who indulge in raping must understand that if one is found guilty of rape, one could be sentence to a maximum of seven years imprisonment. Equally, those who fail to report rape are failing in their duties as responsible citizens. We must change our attitude in this regard.
Furthermore, husbands must be supportive to their wives whenever they have cause to suspect that their daughter, maid or relation living with them has been a victim of rape. They must muster the courage to take up the matter. Law enforcement agencies must use extreme caution in handling such cases. Rape cases should be assigned to a senior female officer in whom both the victim and her relations or parents can repose confidence. It is only by developing strong attitude in this respect that the incidence of rape in our society can be minimized and reduced to the barest minimum.
On the other hand female students, pupils and other minors should not be exposed to people perceived to have deviant behaviour. Headmistresses or headmasters in both urban and rural primary and secondary schools must be very watchful at all times. Break periods or periods following the end of terminal or annual examinations offer rapists ample opportunities to catch their unsuspecting victims. That is why these school heads must double their surveillance mechanism. Even among male teachers they should not be out of “watch list” by the school heads.
Painful enough, due to the ravaging economic hardship and other social and economic imperatives such as having too many children, some house wives in order to make ends meet, send their female children and other maids to do some hawking after school hours, on weekends and during holidays. They should understand that this is the most dangerous exposure of these children. As they hawk their groundnuts, banana, sausages or other edibles, they could easily be lured to a corner where a rapist is in the waiting to defile the child. Besides, such a rapist may have the best opportunity to brain-wash a female hawker, with just few naira notes which can easily weigh any kid down.
A new dimension of increasing cases of rape in the society is that which concerns mostly the so-called evangelical pastors or “miracle pastors”. With the proliferation of Pentecostal churches all over the nation, and also with the increasing social collapse of our value system, many women in search of miracles have turned to these “pastor magicians”. Those in search of babies, those wishing to get married, or even some needing to stop their husbands from misbehaving, troop to these pastors daily for miracle.
There are also ladies struggling to get jobs, promotion in their work places etc. These fickle minded women trust these evangelical churches are seen crowding round these young pastors with “sugar-coated tongues” seeking all kinds of miracles.
It is a well known fact that one in dire need of a child can go to any length. A female vocalist once said that she was ready to do anything, including eating a toad, sleeping in grave yard, attending every crusade and sleeping with any pastor as long as she got a child. What a frustration!
These pulpit magicians exploit the credulous nature of women. It has almost reached an epidemic level for pastors to rape of their members. Therefore, parents and guardians must sharpen their eyes towards their children and intensify their supervisory role.
Furthermore, husbands, particular of those whose wives are too anxious to have babies must not allow them loose in the hands of these “new generation wife snatchers”. The incidence of raping is becoming too rampant. Women must bear in mind that “child bearing is an act of nature” and not by conduct of invocation, forced or pretentious prayer or even black magic. They should not submit themselves to the dubious pastors in their frustration. But above all, we must know that any act of rape is a high crime against God and the law of the land. It must be checked.