Today, there are alarming cases of rape, defilement and incest in our society. More worrisome is that many cases are either not reported or withdrawn for settlements out of court.
Some families of victims of these forms of sexual abuse are either scared of the aftermath of the court case or the stigma of making known that their kids were raped, or the shame that makes some mothers who knew and have caught their husbands abusing their daughters and still cover-up for their husbands.
Many perpetrators of these cases surprisingly get Lawyers to back them up when cases get to court. Some have so much money and can even stop prosecution either at the police station, family court or the law court as the cases may be.
Between January 2018 and December 2019, Kids & Teens Resource Centre recorded 128 cases of child sexual abuses in Ondo and Ekiti States of Nigeria.
Most of our cases are handled in collaboration with strong institutions like the States’ Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, The Nigeria Police Force, Nigeria Civil Defence corps, Media, Child Protection Network and Gender Advocacy Network members.
Rape, defilement and incest cases are criminal according to child right law in Nigeria and ignorance of the law is not an excuse. Perpetrators have different reasons for their acts. Some said it was the work of the devil, some claimed not to be aware of what came over them, some did it for ritual purposes.
The society most times blame the victims of sexual abuse for being careless or on their mode of dressing, it should be recorded that no one has the right to rape another person irrespective of the dressing. What can we say is wrong with kids in diapers, students in school uniforms or those raped in their parents homes?
Sometimes people who are raped sustain injuries and sometimes they don’t. Someone consents to sex when they agree by choice and have the freedom and capacity to make that choice. There are lots of circumstances in which someone might not have freedom or capacity to consent to sex. For example, rapists will sometimes use weapons or threats of violence to prevent a physical struggle. Sometimes they will take advantage of someone who isn’t able to consent, because they are drunk or asleep.
Many people who are sexually attacked are unable to move or speak from fear and shock. They may be in a coercive or controlling relationship with their rapist, and/or too young to give consent. Sex without consent is rape. Just because someone doesn’t have visible injuries doesn’t mean they weren’t raped.
Our law enforcement agencies and institutions must ensure justice is served when a case of sexual abuse is reported as this will restore the confidence of victims or caregivers to speak out against rape