Oh My God! Annie Has Been Raped Again? Who’s To Be Blamed?[/b]
Without a doubt, there are few categories of crime that affect the community and their victims as much as rape, sexual assaults, and the likes. Rape, like other forms of violence against women, is an infraction on women’s rights, privacy, self-preservation, and dignity.
Available data in the print and electronic media reveal that rape issue has become a serious social problem of pandemic proportion and is no longer an isolated criminal act affecting just a few women in the society.
In Nigeria, incidences of rape are fast assuming a terrifying dimension that requires urgent intervention. Thousands of women both young and old are being sexually molested on a daily basis across the country. Waking up every day to the news of sexual assault of children, teenagers, and even adults by men who are supposed to protect them as the weaker vessels that they are leaves me with untold pain and intense fear for the kind of society that we are gradually building by our actions and inactions.
More worrisome is the fact that even if the victim summons the courage to report the incidence to authorities, most of the perpetrators of this dastard act go unpunished and the courts of the land acquit them on the grounds that the victim failed to present strong evidence to back her claims. As a result of this, many rape victims suffer in silence due to the stigma and humiliation attached to a public acknowledgment of rape.
There are several reasons that perpetrators of this heinous act hold on to in a bid to excuse their sexual rascality ranging from seductive outfits to flirty behaviors and the likes. However, I think all of these reasons can be summed up in these words ”BROKEN MEN”
Now more than ever, nations across the globe are beginning to see the need to intentionally train the boy child. I teach in a public school and I have over 100 kids in my custody. I can tell you for a fact that beyond the 123s and the ABCs, I see tendencies in some of my boys that if I ever set blind eyes to, will set the pace for an exponential rise in the number of rape cases in the nearest future. A few months ago, one of my pupils walked up to me to inform me that his seatmate is requesting to touch his private part and that he is going to pay him N20 for allowing him to touch it. And the scary part is that these kids are not up to nine years yet. You are shocked, right? This is just one out of the millions of boys crying out for mentorship by their everyday actions yet society is not paying attention to their desire to be trained. That guy didn’t wake up to become a rapist overnight. There was a process that gave birth to the rapist. That’s why we need to begin to shine the spotlight on ‘’the process of his becoming’’ not just ‘’the person he has become.’’
There’s an urgent need for leaders both religious and secular, to begin to pay very close attention to the boy child. The media is always inundated with headlines of one girl child program or the other that exposes girls to training on how to become better women, mothers, and wives with little or no commensurate training for the boy child. The boy child is believed to be strong hence; he can find his way even without the needed training and mentorship. This obvious gap is largely responsible for the rising cases of sexual molestation in Nigeria and across the African continent.
Inasmuch as the barbarous crime of rape is one that is in the similitude of a jigsaw puzzle with several components, I strongly believe that one of the major solutions to this menace is found in the words of Sir Fredrick Douglas, who is of the opinion that,‘’It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.’’ This is the way to go! If we can unite to train the boy child to become a more responsible man, father, husband, etc the way we unite to support justice actions for rape offenders, not just that the rape curve will be flattened, we would also be saving our women from sexual assaults in the future.
All hands must be on deck to ensure that our boys become responsible men who would rather protect our women than abuse them.
I’m doing my bit as a teacher by ensuring all the boys in my sphere of influence respect the girls and women in their lives. I hereby call on Pastors, Imams, Youth Leaders, Schools, Mosques, Churches, Government Agencies, Civil Society Organizations and all well-meaning Nigerians to do the same by intentionally creating platforms where the boys in their custody can be properly mentored as they transit from being boys to men.
Don’t just use harsh tags alone, there’s a boy/teenager/ youth in your neighborhood, do well to reach out to him today. Let’s not wait for the next rape case to flood social media again before we do the needful. A stitch in time they say saves nine!
Let us all arise and raise the kind of men we want to see! If we fold our hands and do nothing, very soon our correctional centers will be overwhelmed by the number of men that would be serving different jail terms for one sexual offense or the other.