RAPE is a problem that has refused to go away no matter how we may wish it to, and from all indications due to factors such as stigma and therefore the victims can’t report it, the perpetrators are well-to-do in the community so they can buy the victims’ silence or ‘forgiveness’ and the tortuous journey to justice that the victims abandon, it needs a strong will and measures to make it go away.

Otherwise it keeps happening and happening but nothing much is achieved in terms of punishing the perpetrators and getting justice for the victims.

A report released by Amnesty International on last Wednesday said 11,200 cases of rape were reported in Nigeria in 2020.

“Concrete actions have not been taken to tackle the rape crisis in Nigeria with the seriousness it deserves. Women and girls continue to be failed by a system that makes it increasingly difficult for survivors to get justice, while allowing perpetrators to get away with gross human rights violations,” said Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria.

The report titled; “Nigeria: Harrowing Journey; Access to Justice for Women and Girls Survivors of Rape,” said the failure of the federal government to tackle rape and other gender-based violence is worsening the crisis and emboldening perpetrators in the country. It also said the government’s failure to act effectively also silenced survivors.

The report, based on research carried out between March 2020 and August 2021, covers appalling cases of sexual violence against women and girls, including a six-year-old and an 11-year-old who were attacked so viciously.

“Concrete actions have not been taken to tackle the rape crisis in Nigeria with the seriousness it deserves. Women and girls continue to be failed by a system that makes it increasingly difficult for survivors to get justice, while allowing perpetrators to get away with gross human rights violations,” said Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria.

Then there was a story yesterday (Thursday) that the Pakistani President, Arif Alvi, has signed into law on Tuesday a new anti-rape measure to make speedy convictions and make sentences tough.

The ordinance will create a national sex offenders register, protect the identity of victims and allow the chemical castration of some offenders.

Special fast-track courts will hear rape cases and will be expected to reach a verdict within four months.

It comes after a public outcry against sexual violence following the gang-rape of a woman outside the city of Lahore.

Well, what about if such extreme measures are taken in Nigeria, apart from the 14-year jail term for offenders, which is not even common to mete out.

However  anytime people ask for more stringent laws to curb certain crimes, you hear  that there are enough laws actually in existence that can tackle that, only that they are not implemented. And whose fault is it? You would ask.

As such there is no need for additional ones, if they are not going to be implemented as well. Does that mean that we are going to live in a limbo of having laws but they are not used as they should?

Nevertheless we can’t give up and keep encouraging the perpetrators of this shameless and heinous act, we have to keep pushing to bring respect and dignity to women and children.

If, for a start, we get special courts or give a time frame for trial of rape cases, say four months like in the new Pakistan’s law, at least you know that it would not drag indefinitely and justice would be done hopefully.

By mere seeing this perpetrators may have a re-think that they can’t run away for years or forever from justice.

The victims feel alienated and looked down on; nobody would want to marry them, even where a man may like to marry a victim of rape his parents, friends and relations may discourage him. So they feel unwanted and unloved through no fault of their own. They are now treated as the ‘offenders’ instead of the offended.

The offenders register is another way of keeping an eye on the offenders and provides security agencies with information.

But above all, parents, clerics and community leaders should emphasise on the ugliness of such an offence and its consequences to the wellbeing of the society.

The victims feel alienated and looked down on; nobody would want to marry them, even where a man may like to marry a victim of rape his parents, friends and relations may discourage him. So they feel unwanted and unloved through no fault of their own. They are now treated as the ‘offenders’ instead of the offended.

In this regard, leaders should be held to account to make and implement laws that would protect the vulnerable and punish offenders, who are not vulnerable from all indications. It is only the law that can humble them and make them realise that they can’t abuse, violate women and girls and go free.

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