Human sexual abuse is not just a matter of instinct as many people believe. It is rather an action which is controlled by decisions and social norms. The Nigerian Senate passed a bill in 2015 which prescribed life imprisonment for rapists. Despite the measures taken so far to combat the menace of rape in Nigeria, the problem tends to escalate geometrically.
Rape generally may result into short or long-term psychological effects on the victim, including psychopathology later in life. Rape terribly hurts women. It is like stabbing a heart and leaving the dagger in the bleeding wound. Rape goes with anger, regret, denial, rejection coupled with emotional pain. For children who are defiled, the horror and emotional trauma that accompany the act can be devastating. Many defiled children hardly recover from the emotional trauma as they experience loss of self-esteem, childhood, confidence, depression and psychological crisis. In older children, the trauma can be extreme especially if the child is threatened with weapons or gagged before the act as some perpetrators do.
There has been a lot of outcry in newspapers, radio broadcast, blogs, and other mass media platforms about rape in Nigeria. Agencies fighting against rape should partner with the governments, parents, and other stakeholders on how the society should treat rape offenders and what to be done to bring succor to the victims.
No single agency of government can address sexual assault prevention alone. Portfolios across all levels of government, including education, health, justice, and crime prevention, as well as the non-government sector and community stakeholders have a significant contribution to make.
Public enlightenment has been shown to be a critical tool in changing behaviour, attitude, beliefs and value system. Therefore there should be intense public enlightenment and education at schools, social clubs, cultural group gatherings, churches, mosques and the media.
Lanre Akinbo, Lagos.
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