1. There cannot be consensual sex with a minor. The age of consent in Nigeria is 18. If you are sleeping with anyone below 18 (even if she agrees), you are toying with life imprisonment. That’s the penalty by law. You didn’t know before? Yes, many of us probably didn’t know. But now you know! And the fact that you don’t or didn’t know offers no protection against the law!
2. An adult that is performing a sexual act on a child is absolutely sick, depraved and a pervert. Impotence is no alibi either. People with sexual dysfunctions can still violate young people (of both sexes) by performing sexual acts using objects or through other non-penis means.
3. Rape is a serious matter. Rape is the exercise of power and possibly with the threat to life (could be with or without guns, machetes, knives, stones, or anything that can hurt) in order to subdue and compel sex with someone who would not have sex. I have been in an official gathering where the consensus was castration as the appropriate punishment for rape. Rape is not limited to the girl child. The boy child is also often a victim. UNICEF reported on Nigeria in 2015 that one in four girls and one in ten boys had experienced sexual violence before the age of 18 (Kawu, 2013). Girls in particular have been raped throughout history by strangers, relatives, school mates, coaches, armed robbers, tenants, kidnappers, terrorists, soldiers, policemen, lecturers, teachers, imams, pastors, counselors, doctors, technicians, friends, enemies, VIPs, hoodlums, neighbours – the list is endless.
4. There are other forms of rape that I have classified as ‘subtle rape’. This refers to a kind of rape aggressively enabled by the Nigerian society where everyone knows what is happening but pretends otherwise. An example is the ubiquitous bank ‘monthly target’ rape. This is a favour dependent rape where a young lady is compelled (forced) to attract to the bank an insane monthly or yearly monetary sum. Some are in millions. Some could be in billions (in an economy that is non-productive). The unspoken directive is for such ladies to go barter their bodies with VIPs in order to get rich or critical personal or organizational accounts moved to their banks. Yes, I concede that there are young girls who would ordinarily do this enthusiastically. Yet, there are many young ladies who would never have done this but for the fact of it being tied to their career success. We can call it corporate prostitution and we would be correct. But when it is viewed from the point of view of the exercise of power, it becomes a subtle, in your face, system-enabled rape of the young girl or lady. Leaders of the Nigerian banking system have lived in foreign countries. They know that no bank worker (they call them marketers in Nigeria even though they possess no special product) chases about personal targets in the USA, UK, etc. Yet, our CBN is pretending it does not see what is happening!
5. Very common in Nigeria is the ritual type of rape. Ritual rape, killings, and mutilation of the female body in the primitive belief that it would make the culprits become rich or powerful.
6. Then there is the epidemic of rape of infants. This heinous depravity has seen babies that are few months old, two years old, etc becoming victims of sexual assault
WHAT IS RAPE
i. If a lady says No and you go ahead to force her, it is rape.
It can become violent rape when violence is involved. But the crime is rape with or without violence.
ii. If your wife says No and you go ahead to force her, it is rape. Same as above.
iii. If the girl is below 18, then two offenses are involved. Apart from rape, you have also violated the child rights law (child defilement, molestation, or carnal knowledge of an underage child). If violence was involved, then you have committed three infractions or offenses (it could be more).
WHAT IS NOT RAPE
i. If you leave your house to meet a boyfriend in a hotel or some hidden place. On getting there, he had consensual sex with you (consensual means you agree). Meanwhile, the reason you agree is because you think he would marry you. After a while, you heard that he has married someone else. You now begin an underground campaign against him that he raped you in order to paint him black and get back at him. We know that hell has no fury like a woman scorned. But hell no – that was no rape. You may be able to legitimately sue him for breach of promise (marriage promise) but not rape.
ii. Let us say the scenario above was with some random guys. It happens. Shit happens! Momentary convenient sex without much expectations (no string attached). The guy didn’t think much of it. You too didn’t think much of it (at least at the time). Several years later, you heard that the guy has ‘blown’. He is now a top-ranking musician, a Managing Director of a big bank, a rich VIP, etc. But he probably does not put much premium on you. He may not even remember you. You also can’t reach him. You suddenly begin to feel ‘used’. Then you replayed your encounter in your mind and you began to remember differently. You recalled the initial moment that he placed his hand on your bosom and you coquettishly removed it. You smiled that that must have meant a No You then began a subtle underground campaign that he once raped you. After all, being a rape ‘victim’ can catapult you to instant stardom, you reckoned – especially by piggybacking on his success and name recognition. Sister, that was not rape. You know it. If you agreed to it without coercion and you happily participated, it is not rape – even if you now call it one – banking on the fact that there was no eyewitness or a video recording of the encounter. You probably hope your powerful female ‘victim’ voice would do the damage!
A male student in the US, Armaan Premjee aged 20, narrowly escaped a rape conviction in 2017 because security video proved the sex was consensual. Rape is a real global pandemic. Yet, there are a few false rape allegations either as revenge or ‘fame hunting’. At some point, about 4% of cases of sexual violence reported to the UK police were found to be false. The specter of false allegations continues to dog the reporting of rape and undermine the societal consensus to frontally and decisively deal with genuine rape.
HOW TO REDUCE RAPE
i. Education. Parents must educate the boy child about respect for women generally. Most rape advice is targeted at the girl child. Whilst that is good, it will be better if the boy child is made to know from infancy that rape is a no-no. Rather, the boy should be made to understand that the girl child is a weaker vessel that must be protected. Government and people in charge of designing education policies must develop such an education curriculum that clearly addresses the subject of rape. Government is particularly needed where religion could be a hindrance because what is being taught at home and in schools must not be countered by the knowledge being imparted at religious places.
ii. Vigilance. Parents must be vigilant. Rape is often by individuals close enough to the victims. Do not leave your girl child in the care of others. Be emotionally close to your children so they are bold enough to tell you anything. Pedophiles will try to win their confidence and ri-direct your children’s trust away from you. Children are impressionable. Be ahead. Stay connected to your children.
iii. A grown man that is always by himself, without girlfriends, etc is a potential risk. You would be committing a big blunder to thrust your kids into the care of such persons because you assumed ‘he does not like women’. Yes, he may not like women but likes underage girls (or boys)!
…Contributed to the raging national debate on rape by
Engr. Tunji Ariyomo, FNSE
The Aare Baamero of Oodua.