The country is aghast that a Nollywood actor called Baba Ijesha has found himself in a tight spot for allegedly raping a 14-year-old girl. The most nauseating of the act is that the act had been going on for seven years before nemesis caught up with him via a CCTV trap. SEVEN YEARS! However, this piece is not about Baba Ijesha. What he did does not qualify as news anymore, except because of his personality.
Nigerians are no longer shocked when a report breaks as regards the violation of one woman or another. Our women are now endangered by sex predators lurking virtually everywhere.No day passes without reports of one woman or minor being raped and, in the worst scenario also killed. It is sickening that some of the culprits are close relations, even fathers of the victims.
There is no age discrimination in the savage attacks. Not long ago, a court in the North sentenced a man to death for raping a two-year-old baby to death. In some cases, the victims are even younger and scarred for life. A septuagenarian grandmother was also raped in the comfort of her room by a 25-year-old monster who claimed to be under the influence of alcohol. She was lucky to have survived the ordeal.
One cannot help wondering what demon has taken over the menfolk to resort to this basest of means to satisfying sexual urge. Of course, as is usually the case, these fiends must find an alibi in the devil, or they were acting under some influence, including witchcraft spells. Some even blame the skimpy dressing of women.
Of course, the brazen provocative dressing of some women is condemnable but it cannot justify rape even by the wildest stretch of imagination. Come to think of it, how seductive is that baby in diapers or the grandmother violated right inside her bedroom, her safest haven?
I believe sex is the cheapest commodity in this country. Therefore, real men do not have to rape anyone to satisfy their urge. A woman should not be seen as a mere sexual article. If you think those skimpily dressed women are sex starved and seeking whom to sleep with, why don’t you just ask them, instead of forcing yourself on them? Even if they are not game, there are many slaughterhouses at Good Evening Street nearby, offering fun for a pittance.
It is heartwarming that police arrested and detained Baba Ijesha. However, I find their fixation on defilement worrisome. The law has a way of complicating simple matters. To defile is to reduce in value, which is just what rape is about. And, mind you, this has no particular reference to the Nollywood actor but rather to all lewd men everywhere. It is this kind of loophole that fuels rape because either there are loopholes to exploit to wriggle out of the heinous acts or there is really no serious move to nab perpetrators and bring them to book.
It does seem that Nigeria is not yet ready to tackle the menace of sexual violence headlong. The same overly lenient methods have been in force for far too long, coupled with unserious attitudes of investigating officers and lack or relevant tools like the rape kit. A lot of times, poor victims are compelled to settle out of court because of financial requirements. Thus, some victims resort to bearing their pain, instead of speaking up and being denied justice despite losing their dignity. Some are induced to accept financial compensation and move on because of societal stigma despite the psychological trauma.
We need to revisit the proposal by Hon. James Faleke that convicted rapists should be castrated. It is unfortunate the lawmakers killed that bill after a controversial debate. This is not surprising though, considering that many of the high and mighty in society are equally guilty of rape in one form or another. They are the ones that ‘molest’ underage schoolgirls through monetary and material inducements to warm their beds. It is a well known fact that having a sexual tryst with the underage, whether consensual or not, is rape. So, how do we expect the lawmakers and powers that be to make such laws when they have manipulated Lolitas in their harem, even as wives? The situation is that pathetic.
Nigeria needs that kind of legislation before they rape all our women to death. Once that throbbing instrument of mass destruction is sliced off, such men would no longer pose as danger to the womenfolk. Alternatively, locking them up in solitary confinement for life should suffice for those convicted of rape or defilement.
We should also consider similar stringent legislation against false alarmists, those who cry wolf where there is none. Because it has become the norm for women to allege rape once their philandering is exposed or as a blackmail to get even with men.
We must take cognisance of the fact that rapists indulge in the dastardly act because they are certain to get away with it and they usually do anyway, due to the permeable legal system we operate in this country. Until we develop a legal framework that does not treat rape with kid gloves, we will continue to have more cases on our hands. We also have a dysfunctional system where society tends towards cultism and all manner of deviance, including rape, which has become fashionable for some.
Parents and guardians should take precautionary steps to secure their children and wards. Trust your girl-child to no one because almost all rape predators are trusted people close to the family. It is not good testimony to motherhood that Baba Ijesha allegedly had his way with his innocent victim for seven years before nemesis caught up with him. Parents and guardians must spend enough time with their children and wards, and do everything to win their friendship so that they will not keep secrets but confide in them whenever inappropriate proposals are made to them without fear. Parents should know their children well enough to notice when there is a change in attitude and lovingly probe to find out what the issue is. They should also not be in a hurry to judge the child or dismiss whatever report they bring to them.
Dismissing the vapid notion that skimpy dressing leads to rape is not because there is no sense there. It is simply because you cannot steal someone’s car because the owner did not park inside his garage or because he left it unlocked. Nevertheless, we must recognise that a lot of times people have lost their valuable property because of carelessness. To this extent, therefore, it is advisable that women take extra care to protect their honour. It is baffling why a woman would expose her butt anyhow without shame. It is unladylike to expose your private part to the public. That privacy is the myth around every personality involved.
Of course, we need to see to it that girls dress decently. A woman’s private parts must be cherished. Once everything is exposed, it does not speak well of the woman and, indeed, could be an invitation to be sexually harassed or abused. Some call it looking sexy; the question is, are you looking for someone to have sex with you?
More annoying is the kind of flabby, stretch-marked body, and overly used southward breasts folded into protesting half-dresses. I consider it an insult to manhood to fall prey to such seduction. If indeed there are men so seduced, they are definitely potential psychiatric patients.
All the same, the legal administrative system must be strengthened to protect our womenfolk. We must stir from our inertia and confront the monster staring the nation in the face. We must ensure speedy investigation of cases, prosecution and punishment for convicts. Since Nigeria launched its first sex offender register, not much has been heard of it though it was definitely a laudable step in the right direction. Has it, as it’s characteristic of everything Nigerian, been bogged down by administrative bottlenecks and incompetence of concerned public officials, such as the police and investigating officers.
We are talking about our mothers, sisters and wives here. Certainly, it demeans us as a people when hooligans molest and humiliate mothers of the nation.