Daily Trust (Abuja)

4 January 2013

Nigeria: The Indian Rape Victim and the Rest of Us

opinion

The 23-year old Indian medical student who was raped in a bus by six men caused outrage and protests in India. The attack occurred on December 16 and she was flown to a hospital in Singapore after many days, but eventually died last Saturday, causing more outrage and anguish.

However, this painful case goes beyond the shores of India, it affects us as we have rapists here in Nigeria that commit their dastardly act probably more than once and getting away with it!

These despicable men are sure not to be caught, or sure that their victims would be too ashamed of themselves to report the rape, because of the stigma they would face.

As such, women are attacked in bush paths and farms and other secluded places.

In our higher institutions cult gangs rape their fellow students. This was the case of a female student who was allegedly raped by five students of Abia State University in 2011, who also later brazenly posted the video of their act on the Internet.

This is beside the rape and sexual abuse that is being perpetrated by family members and friends.

Whenever such a case is heard people are outraged and demand justice for the victim, which they rarely get. Particularly because of pressure to withdraw the case from the court and settle out of court, and those that would not even dare to report the crime, but only suffer in silence as the system has failed to give them justice.

By the way, rape is not only done by the usual suspects like armed robbers and drug addicts. Respected people in the society also do it. Security agents are known to rape women. For instance, about two years ago when some policemen kept one young girl and raped her for days.

Then the recent one, about a military officer with Nigerian Defence Academy NDA was taken to court over sexual assault on a 16-year old girl in Kaduna. The complainant said the accused person committed the crime on October22, 2012.

The list can go on and on, particularly if one digs into the lecherous old men that spoil girls young enough to be their granddaughters and the hawkers that go to sell their items in unfinished buildings and such suspicious places.

So how can the rape victims get justice for this crime against them and against humanity? Because rape diminishes us as people, the pain is not only for the victim. Rape tells a lot about how the society treats women; are they respected as mothers, wives, sisters and daughters, or are they just seen as objects of abuse by some brute men?

Pray, how do some men become rapists? Parents, especially mothers should instill in their sons the respect for women, that they should not be violated, that they are not to be seen as objects of pleasure.

Our lawmakers on their part, at both the federal and state levels should legislate on very tough sentence for rapists so as to serve as lesson to others.

However, women too should avoid a situation where they would be blamed for being raped, by dressing provocatively in half naked clothes. Such women get little sympathy, with people saying they got what they deserved. Not that any woman deserves the indignity of being raped.

The Indian rape victim has died and people hope that her death would not be in vain, that her death would make the authorities to take decisive action against rapists. In our own clime also, we hope it is an eye opener for prompt action to avoid the Indian scenario.

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