In recent time, the menace of rape in our society has taken a more serious shape. Incidents of rape now make headlines daily with perpetrators of rape ranging from minors to aged individuals. It is indeed pathetic how certain individuals have become so based to rape in our society without fear of the whip of law.
What Is Rape?
The United States department of Justice archives defined rape as the penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim. I prefer this definition because it is simple and cover for male and female rape.
Female rape is the most common in our society. WHO has estimated that 35% of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or sexual violence by a non-partner (not including sexual harassment) at least once in their lives. Some national studies also estimated that up to 70% of women have experienced sexual and/or physical violence from intimate partner in their life time. Incidence of depression, abortion and HIV are high in women who are rape victims.
Although not as common as female rape, male rape also occur in our society. In fact, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center in her 2010 estimated that 1 in 71 men (1.4%) in the United States have been raped at some time in their lives. This include completed forced penetration, attempted forced penetration, or alcohol/drug facilitated completed penetration. Approximately 1 in 21 men (4.8%) also reported that they were made to penetrate someone else during their lifetime. Most men who were made to penetrate someone else reported that the perpetrator was either an intimate partner (44.8%) or an acquaintance (44.7%).”
UNICEF in 2015 reported that one in four girls and one in ten boys in Nigeria had experienced sexual violence before the age of 18. You’ll agree with me that that is huge!
Laws Against Rape
The incidence of rape has caused some nations to enforce strict laws against perpetrators. In Nigeria, the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act of 2015 state that the minimum punishment for rape is 12 years imprisonment without fine and the maximum punishment is life imprisonment. However, where an offender is less than 14 years old, his maximum punishment is 14 years imprisonment. Where there is group/gang rape, the offenders are jointly liable to a minimum of 20 years imprisonment. Names of sexual offenders are to be kept in a register and made public. It also provide that victims of rape are entitled to compensation as the court deems fit.
The Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act 2015 however is limited to FCT, Abuja. While some states like Oyo, Ebonyi and Anambra have also enacted similar laws, others are still bound within the limit of Southern Criminal Code and Northern Penal Code. As a matter of fact, the definition of rape according to the Penal Code in the Northern States and Criminal Code in the Southern States should be revised.
While the world is trying to put an end to this animalistic behavior, it is saddening that some individuals are not sincere in levying allegations against others. For ulterior motives, these tear-spilling roller coasters are now using the ”heat of the moment” to bring innocent citizens under the multiple assortments of punishments prepared for rapists. Even though you might argue that this is just 2-8% of reported cases, if excesses are not curtailed by the law soon, many other too will start to forage along that path. To prevent this, our governments need to come up with stricter laws to serve as deterrent to those who think they can pervert the law.
False rape allegations leave lasting hurts in the minds and lives of victims. Apart from the bad reputation it affords innocent souls, victims may lose their jobs and wallow in life-long traumas. I strongly recommend that punishments for false rape allegations should be as fierce as that of rape itself.
1.The United States Department of Justice Archives: http://www.justice.gov
2.World Health Organization, Department of Reproductive Health and Research, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, South African Medical Research Council (2013). Global and regional estimates of violence against women: prevalence and health effects of intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence, p.2. For individual country information, see UN Women Global Database on Violence against Women.
3.NISVS 2010 summary report :https://www.nsvrc.org/statistics