THE UGLY FACES OF RAPE
For so many people, the stigma of coming out to speak up is keeping them in the dark and still leaves them harboring the pain of the nerve-wrecking experience of being defiled. Many thanks to the #Metoo movement, we have seen a lot of people speak up, try to heal and get justice from the traumatic experience of being abused, harassed and sexually molested in their life.
Sexual molestation is a very grave offence that should have a much more dire punishment when a person is found guilty. We have learnt of many cases of friends, spouses, neighbour and even parent who have been found guilty of molesting their children.
Nigeria Bureau of Statistics reported more than 2,200 cases of rape and indecent assault were reported in 2017. But experts say the true number of rapes is likely to be much higher, In South Africa,the ISS points out that if updated population statistics from 2012 are taken into account, the national rate was actually up by 1.5 percent. That means that 127 people per 100,000 of the population were sexually assaulted.
Also, an American Statistics from the department of justice,office of justice programs, Bureau of justice statistics shows that :
• 1 out of every 6 woman has been a victim of an attempted rape or completed rape in her lifetime (14.8% complete and 2.8% attempted)
• As of 1998, an estimated 17.7 million American women had been victims of attempted or completed rape. Young women are especially at risk.
• 82% of all juvenile victims are female. 90% of adult rape victims are female.
• Females ages 16-19 are 4 times more likely to be victim of rape than the general population to , attempted rape, or sexual assault.
• Women ages 18-24 who are college students are 3 times more likely than women in general to experience sexual violence. Females of the same age who are not enrolled in college are 4 times more likely.
Boys and also men are victims of rape but because it isn’t common and we hear more cases of female being raped they hardly talk about it and even when they do they are hardly believed .
Another American statistics from the Bureau of Justice statistics, sex offenses and offenders shows that :
• Men ages 18 -24 who are college student are approximately 5 times more likely than non-student of the same age to be a victim of rape or sexual assault.
• As of 1998, 2.78 million men in the U.S. had been victims of attempted or completed rape.
• About 3% of American men—or 1 in 33—have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime.
• 1 out of every 10 rape victims is male.
With this statistics it shows that Male suffer from this defilement as well as the female folks.
Rape can be categorized in different ways. For example: by reference to the situation in which it occurs; by the identity or characteristics of the victim; and by the identity or characteristics of the perpetrator(s). Below are a few categories of rape:
- Statutory Rape: The offense is often based on a presumption that people under a certain age do not have the capacity to give consent. The age at which individuals are considered competent to give consent (called the age of consent) varies in different countries and regions. In Nigeria, Section 31 (3a) of the constitution states that the age of consent is 18. Any activity that violates age-of-consent law, but is neither violent nor physically coerced, is described as statutory rape.
- Rape of Children: This act of sexual abuse can leave a long-lasting trauma for the victim. When it is performed by another child, typically a stronger child or an adolescent, it is called child on child sexual abuse. When it is performed by the victim’s parent, it is called incest. When performed by a non-family member; be it a guardian, therapist, religious leader or a caregiver, the effects can be similar to incentual rape.
- This act of sexual abuse can leave a long-lasting trauma for the victim. When it is performed by another child, typically a stronger child or an adolescent, it is called child on child sexual abuse. When it is performed by the victim’s parent, it is called incest. When performed by a non-family member; be it a guardian, therapist, religious leader or a caregiver, the effects can be similar to incentual rape.
- Serial Rape: Serial rape is rape committed by a person over a relatively long period of time and committed on several victims. Usually, this type of rapist is unknown to the victim and follows a specific and predictable pattern of targeting and assaulting victims.
- Spousal Rape: also known as marital rape. This happens when one party decides to forcefully engage in sexual activity with his or her spouse without consent. Statistics from the department of justice show that approximately 10-14% of married women are raped by their husbands in America. Approximately, one-third of women report having ‘unwanted sex’ with their partner. Historically, most rape statutes suggest that rape is forced sexual intercourse with a woman not your wife, thus granting husbands a license to rape. In Africa, many men think it is their right to have their way with their spouse without consent rape was forced sexual intercourse with a woman not your wife, thus granting husbands a license to rape. In Africa, many men think it is their right to have their way with their spouse without consent. Reeducation and efficient sensitization of couples is advised to curb such acts. Other types of rape that exists are: Date rape, Gang rape, Prison rape, Payback rape, War rape, Rape by deception, Custodial rape.
Sensitization for our young ones is also necessary to encourage victims to speak up and hold predators accountable especially in our part of the world where women are blamed for being victims of sexual predators. Rape apologists come up with quiet a number of flimsy excuses which includes:
• What they are wearing: studies have shown that rapist select their victims based on vulnerability and not how revealing their dress is or how sexy they appear.
• Walking late and alone at night and Being overly friendly
• You didn’t fight back? : They however are unaware that it is very common for the human body to completely shut down during an assault which makes it difficult to act, move, shout or even speak during the assault.
• You should have known: There is no way to identify a rapist. They come in different sizes and are as normal and sane as the average man with non-threatening tendencies until they strike on their victim.
Also, there is a big misunderstanding when it comes to date rape. Research shows that majority of date rapist are repeated sex offenders who target vulnerable people and get them intoxicated in order to perform the act of rape.
Another excuse is, “it is not rape if those involved have had sexual intercourse in the past”. Please note that because you have previously consented to sex with a person doesn’t mean they have right to your body. If there was no consent and the person forces his/her way, it is still considered rape. It may be your boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, neighbor, parents or anyone at all, no consent = rape!! If you are a victim of rape, reach out to someone you can trust and tell them about your pain and trauma; a trusted friend, family member, counselor or therapist can do just fine.
I stand to say that there is no reason for any sane person to want to defile another human. Stronger punishment should be given to the perpetrators when found guilty. Government should do more to help rape victims by providing counseling sessions and support group system.
Rape victims should be allowed to speak about it at their own pace. If you are one of those who accuse rape victims of not speaking up earlier, desist from such and please bear in mind that people process and go through trauma differently. As much as I support victims coming out, I am strongly against false accusation as this can be detrimental and counterproductive
Most time the feeling of guilt never stops, if you are a victim, try to let it out and let go; this could help with the guilt feeling and a faster recovery process, do not take it out on yourself and be reminded that no matter the circumstances, it was not and will never be your fault. Be mentally and physically prepared because often times, there will be triggers of the painful experience.
Finally, rest well and exercise your body and with time hopefully justice will be served and you come out better. It may not be a walk in the park; but you can come out better and stronger. Above all, speak your truth!
I am Emeka Gbandi and I stand against rape of any form.
WRITER: GBANDI EMEKA EMMANUEL
EMAIL ; firstname.lastname@example.org