Stripping down on women issues


Countless rape cases in Nigeria have simply been going unreported. it is heart wrenching and a sad situation .The rise in rape cases is indeed an ugly phenomenon, especially sexual assault on both minors and underage girls .Despite the outcry over the rising cases, little have done to curb the violence against young girls and minors .According to a report,3 in 10 Nigerians have disclosed that they know someone who is a rape victim. At least 72% are ages 1 to 15 years .The statistics fully indicates how one in every three girls have experienced one form of sexual assault or abuse in her life. Over 70% of rapes are committed by whom the victim is acquainted to and 9 out of 10 rape cases are never reported and the rapist will rape again. Rape is a crime to humiliate and take away power from a victim. And are mostly targeted at young teens and children who are vulnerable and who don’t seem to talk much. Most often, victims will have met their rapist casually either in their homes, at a friend’s home or a relative. Most rape cases results in about 32,000 pregnancies each year.

In Nigeria, Uwa Omozuwa rape and death story shocked many. A 22 year old student was bludgeoned to death in her home state of Edo .This led to street protest and a persistent online. Petition which was signed by thousands. The outrage on social media was swift and quickly a hashtag #justiceforuwa was launched. Uwa Omozuwa was raped inside Redeemed Christian church of God where she had gone to read for her upcoming examination. The outcry against the church of God was unusual simply because Nigerians hardly go the backdrop of churches .But for many, it was a heinous act and warranted even the wrath of God. Uwa didn’t live to tell her story.

18 year old Barakat Bello was gang raped in her home when attackers arrived at home possibly to rob them. Barakat Bello was alone and was in the bathroom when the hoodlums arrived. They raped her and macheted her body until she gave up. She lay in her pool of blood until her younger sister discovered her body. Social media went agog with a hash tag #JusticeForBarakat. Although all hands are on deck including the Muslim Students Society of Nigeria, Oyo state Area Unit, Barakat’s Victims and assailants are still at large. Barakat didn’t live to tell her story.
The stories of Seyitan Babatayo and photographer, Busola Dakola takes a different turn.

Women made allegations against prominent men in the likes of famous musician D’bang and Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo who owns a popular gospel church. Busola accused Biodun of raping her 20 years ago when she was minor. She was the first to make such allegation. Pastor Biodun stepped down but return to his service after a month of suspension. Seyitan alleged that famous musician D’bang made sexual advances towards and later returned to her room with a copy of her room key and raped her. Although Seyitan Babalola and Busola Dakola faced so many scrutinies in Nigeria, lived to tell their stories. Their characters and motives were heavily looked in the glaring mirror.

Many victims are left with a sense of doubt whether to report or not .The hypocrisy is loudly manifested in the lives of victims. Nigeria is a country highly grounded in patriarchy and its norms has eaten deeply .Men are seen as semi gods who believe that existence of women should be at beck and call of a man. Her sexual readiness and availability exists to his dominance. With a weak legal system and array of thousands of reported and unreported rape cases, the war against rape is far from over. Rape is a violation of fundamental human rights. UN Commissioner for human rights Michelle Bachelet, states that perpetrators of rape and other forms of sexual violence must be held accountable, capital punishment and torture are not the answer. The shortcomings of the legal footings in Nigeria distract victims fro taking bold steps towards justice. A case could take years to build up and prosecution hardly sees the light of the day discourages victims back to their shells. For a fact, the northern part of Nigeria practices sharia system of justice that in most cases runs in variance with the violence against person’s prohibition Act. The north is heavily in bedded in religious belief.

The sex education should also be directed towards boys and teach them what consent is and what means to a woman. No factor can justify rape. Religion can be a back bone in curbing rape .Clerics should emphasise and preach against rape as a sinful act in the sight of God.The government should strengthen the judicial system so that laws can take effect. This will give the victims a credible sense of belongings to the justice system therefore entrusting themselves. Parents must advice their children to desist from believing in strangers and must kill the culture of silence in our young girls. Perhaps also, mothers should be more friendly towards their daughters .This will enable our girls to be more open in day to day activities with us.

Maryam Husain MaiBasira studied at the London Academic Business School Stratford, United kingdom and a Gender and Human with The Federation of International Gender and Advocate and Fellow human Rights (FIGHR) New York, and currently running a Master’s Degree in Gender Studies at the University of Abuja.

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