Rape simply means having sexual intercourse with someone without the person’s consent. It is very important that consent is recognized when defining rape. Without consent, sexual intercourse with another person is rape.
Rape is sexual assault that involves sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual penetration carried out against a person without that person’s consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority, or against a person who is incapable of giving valid consent, such as one who is unconscious, incapacitated, has an intellectual disability or is below the legal age of consent.
There is no gender who is safe from the evil act of rape. It is very important we understand that most cases of rape are perpetrated by those who straddle within the continuum of care giving such as a father, an uncle, aunt, cousin, a teacher, a police man, a house help, an aid worker etc. It occurs in homes, workplaces, and even medical and social institutions set up to care for people. Many of the victims are too young, weak or ill to protect themselves.
However, women are most vulnerable to rape in our society, and they are most times forced by social conventions or pressures to keep silent about their experiences.
Women and men are raped. In the news you hear of teachers raping their students (both male and female students), sex for marks etc. These are sexual abuses that often times people are forced not to talk about.
Men are vulnerable to rape as women but the cases of women who suffer from such rape cases are enormous. Women are more vulnerable
The greatest causes of rape all over is the misogynistic and heavily patriarchal culture in Nigeria that seeks to always demean women and their worth. Women are always looked down upon and undermined by cultural, social and economic prejudices and predispositions that allow sexual violences like rape to occur.
The high rate of insecurity and conflicts in the country has also skyrocketed the rates of rape and sexual violence among vulnerable women and girls in conflict regions. A lot of people use this as an opportunity to abuse their power and rape vulnerable women, children and boys.
The most important way we can all end the issue of rape is speaking up and speaking out about these issues such that we break the culture of silence. This will help create needed awareness and educate/enlighten the public on why we need to address the issue of rape and all forms of sexual and gender based violence in society.
We should also be able to hold our leaders to account especially at the state level by tasking them to domesticate legislations that protects citizens from such kinds of sexual violence such as the Child Rights Act that was passed by the federal government in 2003, and the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act that was passed in 2015.
Most of these cases happen in Northwest and Northeastern states in Nigeria, but little is done by the state governments with regards to the right legislation that protects these citizens against such forms of violence. We need to remind them about their responsibilities and support them in ensuring that such legislations are passed to address the issues.
Most importantly, we must educate and encourage young girls and boys to speak out about these issues. We must teach them lifeskills that empower them and create a more equal and just world. Where men and women work side by side for a sustainable, just, equal and safe world for every gender.
We must also change the narrative that blames rape victims. The rapists should be blamed, the rapist is the evil one, but often times you find society blaming the victim. We must change that narrative, provide support system for victims and survivors and come out together as a community with one voice to condemn the act and also the rapists. Rapists should be stripped off their honour and made to face the full wrath of the law.