#DailyGarlicWithJohnAnusie (5) 02.06.2020

The Gulf of Grief: Rape and the Nigerian Society

Uwaila Uwavera omozuna's rape and death and Nigeria's anti-rape law
Uwaila “Uwavera” Omozuwa… a life cut in mid passage

Rape has always been with us – a subject interrogated sporadically and noisily and then forgotten. You may say ignored.

The alleged rape and murder days ago of Uwaila Omozuwa, a 22-year-old student of the University of Benin (UNIBEN), has given this subject robust resonance.

I said “alleged” in the previous sentence in that DSP Chidi Nwabuzor, a spokesman of the Edo State Police Command, has discountenanced the claim of rape.

He insists there is no evidence yet to corroborate this claim, although it might be buzzing in mainstream media.

Well, I can neither establish the authenticity of the DSP’s claim nor accuse him of mendacity. All the same, the subject of this little note is rape.

When social media began to buzz with the rape story – the (alleged) rape of Uwaila Omozuwa so to speak – a noisy collective emerged, pompous in absurdity, trying to rationalize why people rape.

Well, I am disinclined to admit a “why” in the case of rape. To ask “why” is to try to justify it, this psychopathic tendency that emotionally and psychologically damages a person, sometimes for life. 

Nigeria totes embarrassingly high rape stats.  Many would not admit this, however. The reality glares at us yet. According to a UNICEF report of 2015, one in four girls and one in ten boys in Nigeria had suffered sexual assault of some kind before they turned 18.

These are depressing figures if you consider Nigeria’s population of 200 million (a conservative estimate).

This leads us to the role of government in combating rape in the country. Apparently Nigeria has got anti-rape laws in place, but the laws have been as effective as a slap administered for headache.

That notwithstanding, we, humans of Nigerian provenance, should never relent in reporting cases and stoking the embers of anti-rape advocacy.

By the way, what stops the government from enacting laws that compel the reporting of rape cases in Nigeria? Why are hospitals in Nigeria bereft of dedicated rape kits? Why are rape victims demonized and harassed and blamed for being raped? What the hell is this “bro code” that compels a man to keep quiet and not report a friend who violates a lady?

Until we address these questions – and more – we may never find salvation… we may never make it to a place in the sun.

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