Having sexual intercourse with a woman or girl without her consent or incorrectly obtained consent is described by the Criminal Code as rape. The action is a crime and frowned upon by society but as with other vices of society, rape is still a major concern. Though many campaigns have been held, the offenders still commit the action with a properly functioning heart and brain. This, should be known, does not reduce its abnormality. 2020 had a lot of rape cases with fathers raping daughters, guys raping girls and generally females being raped. During that period, many believed the female sex should not be the only one spoken of on spelling the term rape.
Legally, the description of rape makes it out to be only carried out by a male to a female and not the other way round. But it should be acknowledged that the male sex also gets raped. This has only been legally recognised by the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act which is in operation only in FCT, Abuja. Society makes it a minor and not time-worthy vice. With this being said, there are sexual abuse and sexual harassment – these are different from rape – but they are new chapters though gets mutual with rape sometimes.
Now, it is accepted that indeed the male sex gets raped but not nearly as much as the female sex. The cause of the imbalance is gender. Gender is the interpretation given to sex by society. Dealing with the concept of rape, the interpretation is general in all societies; African, Asian, American, Western- as much as can be named. The female sex has been interpreted as weak and the male as strong. This interpretation went so deep that the male sex began to believe they could overpower the female sex in all aspects; physically, emotionally and mentally. They did overpower the female sex but they did it together with society. And when it is done, the question and blame are first directed to the female.
All three areas of overpowering is connected to rape. The physical action can – and in most cases – cause bruises and injuries. Emotionally, the rape victims are downcast, sad and hateful. Mentally, they get traumatized and gaslight comes in. Gaslight is the term used to describe a situation in which an abuser or offender makes the victim feel that he or she is the cause of all that came to him or her (that is, the victim). What more damage can be done?
The story of a girl who was raped in the church went viral last year and the first question most persons asked was, “Why was she in the church alone?”. Should the answer to this question count though? No matter the venue a person is, the attire worn, the manner of carriage, no one ought to be raped. The talk has been ongoing. The wrong thinkers have been directed to the right path. Victims have been indulged to speak up and live with their head up high. But, with all that has been and is being done, someone is still getting raped. Can it be assumed that this is becoming a norm? The talks and orientation have been and is being done but to what extent?
More can still be done. More campaigns, field works and seminars should be held. As the world is going digital and meetings are being virtual, webinars can be held. Non-governmental Organizations that focus on correcting the mentality of people on gender needs to do more. Provisions should also be made for the rehabilitation of offenders as it could be a psychological issue that needs to be addressed given that not everyone is mentally stable while doing the act. It could be as a result of drug abuse or a past experience, whichever it is, a rehabilitation centre will be handy.
Turning a blind eye or a deaf eye to the problem of rape is not beneficial to anyone including the passive ones. The rate of rape cases has increased in recent years and if nothing is done there is a high possibility of a massive increase in coming years. This will bring about more mentally unstable persons thus depriving the universe of human resource. The fight against rape is an inclusive one and all hands must be on deck if we are to repel this growing menace from our society.
Yusuf Fathia Abolore