Defenseless persons especially women and children have been victims of various forms of abuse. With the Lockdown on movement, pedophiles and other sexual predators seem to be thriving in their heinous acts.
From the rape and gruesome murder of Vera Uwaila, Barakat Bello and Azeezat Shomuyiwa. These are amongst the many unreported cases of sexual abuse and child molestation in Nigeria. In Anambra State, 80 cases of rape have been recorded since the lockdown, occasioned by the COVID19 pandemic.
The Director Anambra State Child Welfare Service, Missus Nkechi Anazodo made this known. She noted that before the lockdown, there were 32 cases in the State’s Ministry of Women Affairs.
Sexual violence has become the order of the day especially during this period of lockdown. Even old men now rape children of 12 years and below. The problem we have is that people don’t report. Last week a case was brought to us of a 70 year old man that raped a four year old child. The case has gone to the police. Before the lockdown, we had only 32 cases of rape in the Ministry. But the figure recorded within the last few months is over 80. It is unfortunate that some men have left their wives to be having sexual relationship with children less than five years. Missus Anazodo said.
According to Anazodo, fathers have allegedly raped their daughters more during the lockdown. They are accused of threatening to kill their daughters if they report.
In most cases, family of the victim prefers to let sleeping dogs lie owing to stigmatization.
What should be the next line of action, in cases of rape?
The Director Anambra State Child Welfare Service said it is advisable that the victim should be taken to a referral hospital within two hours of the rape for effective result as treatment and counseling of the victims are free and the identity of the victim is usually well protected.
The only evidence a rape victim has her body. However many a times the victim do not have the courage to express their pains.
Vanguard newspaper reported that the 12 year old girl allegedly rape by 42 year old Eddy Ojah in Otukpo Local Government Area of Benue State, who narrated her experience saying, she placed a curse on her rapist who is currently at large.
I was coming back from where we grind Garri in the engine about 10am on Tuesday and was going home to pack firewood to fry our Garri when a man Eddy Ojah grabbed me from the road. Because the road is connected and near his house so he was coming outside, he saw me and grabbed me and kicked me into his room. He locked the door and started beating me. After that he went to the back door and locked it, switched on his phone music and connected it to the loudspeaker, he made it so loud and when I was shouting nobody could hear me. After beating me, he dragged me to his bedroom and raped me. So I now told him if he doesn’t repent, God is going to judge him and God will show him because he has been doing it to others. Before I came, out he called his friend who is outside to help him to check if there is anyone around and let him know. So his friend checked and told him that there was nobody outside. So he opened the door for me and told me to go home. He warned me that if I tell anybody he would kill me. I am in the hospital, I was admitted since then. The little girl said
Non-governmental organizations in different parts of the country, have also given their voice by Protesting against the increase in rape and violence against women.
Perhaps, Sensitization, Stiffer penalties, stronger enforcement of legislation, campaign against stigmatization and others would stem the tide of rape.