It was a nightmare, in a full daylight, in a far South of African region, where it happened. A 25-year-old man allegedly raped a 12-year-old niece and, eventually, got her infected with the deadly HIV virus. According to TODAY news, the poor innocent girl was found with sores and rashes all over her private parts. When rushed to the nearby clinic by her grandmother, she was tested positive by the specialists. The most painful part of the fairy tale is that the heinous beast (the rapist) is sentenced merely to 16 years imprisonment. Of what pain will that inflict on him? In a little while, he’ll be free, but will the innocent 12-year-old victim ever be free from the pains and trauma of PTSD and HIV?
This is more of a drop in the ocean compared to millions of rape cases recorded virtually every day. Rape is the highest form of misogyny and degradation of the feminine gender. It is the act of violating female rights. This might sound strange but true: Rape crime is prevalent in Africa, worst in Africa’s most populous state, Nigeria. No less than 1 in 3 women and girls has been raped, at least once in their lifetime; more cases occur on a daily basis. In fact, it got to the point where a Nigerian daily becomes incomplete, a day, without reporting a rape case. The statistics can never be accurate enough because while we are talking of one, another happens.
The most troubling aspect of rape these days is that it is no longer the case of strangers raping a young girl in a lonely place or in the dark; rapists are now people of one’s household—boy-friends, uncles, teachers, nephews, cousins and the most unbelievable of all, fathers. Simply put, the person you call a friend or relative might be a potential rapist.
Last week, The Punch reported a case of a 29-year-old virgin who was blatantly raped and dumped by a motorcyclist. This might sound weird, but it’s true. Similarly, here in Lagos, two friends ganged up, drugged and raped a female friend. After raping her, the duo made away with her money—the sum of N150, 000. This happened at Haile Selassie Hotel, Aguda.
In the same week, we learnt the case of a father who allegedly raped his teenage daughter and at the end, blame it on the ‘devil.’ The very same term common to every rapist, “it is the devil’s handiwork.”
We have also heard the case of a poor orphan, 13, who was raped, impregnated and consequently dropped out of school.
The cases of rape in Lagos alone are like the grains of sand—uncountable. 1 in 3 women and girls are raped on a daily basis—anyone can fall victim; in fact, It is no longer the case of strangers raping minors; the most common rapist today are close friends and relatives. Remember, the word rapist is not written on the forehead. Shine your eyes and report any signs of sexual assault. Rape is real.
By Beatrice Mokwunye.