Criminalizing Rape: The Way Forward To End Sexual Molestation
1.1 Background Of The Study
The issue of sexual molestation is not an abstract as it continues to unveiled its ugly mask in every society. The brutal nature of this shameless masquerade has eaten deep within Africa, especially in today’s Nigeria.
Sexual assault or molestation is an act in which a person intentionally sexually touches another person without that person’s consent, or coerces or physically forces a person to engage in a sexual act against their will. Sexual assault takes many forms including attacks such as rape or attempted rape, as well as any unwanted sexual contact or threats. Usually a sexual assault occurs when someone touches any part of another person’s body in a sexual way, even through clothes, without that person’s consent. It is a form of sexual violence, which includes child sexual abuse, groping, rape (forced vaginal, anal, or oral penetration or a drug facilitated sexual assault), or the torture of the person in a sexual manner (CLEEN F. 2005).
In recent times the issue of Rape as form of sexul molestation have been more pronounced in Nigeria. Rape is the act of forcefully having sex with someone against their will. Others have defined rape as a sexual penetration by one person against
another person without the consent of the victim (wikipedia). However victims of rape have no age limit as babies, and the aged are vulnerable to this menace. Interestingly 90% of victims of rape are female.
Rape is a denial of women self-preservation; it is the intrusion of their privacy, it is an inhuman and violent act. Rape victims are usually ashamed, humiliated, afraid, and there is little or no law to protect them. Even the law enforcement officers that are meant to protect these victims also assault them in different ways, even sexually(Kawu 2013) .
Anytime the issue of rape is mentioned, people tend to give it an emotional reaction as the victim might need a close shoulder to rely on to relieve them of the trauma, that is quite understandable but that is not enough. The increase in rape case in Nigeria need to be criminalized and thus There is need to get to the root of the matter and understand it, by undertaking an in-depth research so as to take well-informed actions. Otherwise we will remain in the dark on how to curb this scourge and the alarming dimensional increase witnessed in recent times. Therefore it is upon this premise that this study is set to examine Criminalizing Rape: The Way Forward To End Sexual Molestation.
1.2 Statement Of The Problem
Rape continues to be a significant crime problem in Nigeria. The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) reported 130,260 rapes in2014 and 173,310 rapes in 2019. The National Women’s Study estimated that 683,000 rapes occurred in 2018 and that 13 percent of all women and girls have been raped during their lifetimes (Udewkwe 2013). Sadly, the incidence of all types of rape is highest among young people. Amnesty international gave a gruesome picture of the rape scourge in Nigeria when in one of its publications, a few years ago painted the picture of how hopeless the Nigerian case is, quoting a victim of rape: “There were three men, I have pains even today, they used my daughter too, she is 12 years old. They also raped my sister. Another man raped a woman who was four months pregnant and she lost the child. They were military men. Everyone in the village saw them, they didn’t hide, they didn’t care, I didn’t tell the police because I feared them” (Amnesty international, 2007).
In Nigeria, it is not uncommon for rape to go unreported. Some victims and their families, fearing stigmatization, police extortion and a lack of trust in the judicial process, choose not to report cases to the authorities. There have also been instances where those brave enough to report are targeted with derogatory comments at the police station.In May 2020 There was widespread outrage in Nigeria following the murder of a 22-year-old university student in a church where she was studying in the southern city of Benin. The family of Uwavera Omozuwa, known as Uwa, say she was brutally raped and bludgeoned to death. which have led to street protests, an online petition signed by thousands and a Twitter hashtag #WeAreTired and #justiceforUwa. Many Nigerians point to a legal system they say makes it hard to convict suspected rapists and blames women when they are victims of sexual assault. On 1st May 2021, twitter recieved a flood hashtag requesting a for #justiceforIniUmoren a philosophy graduate gruesomely raped and murdered in her job search/interview by One Uduak Akpan( who confessed that raping of young women have been his family business) in Akwaibom State( Premuim Times). From the statements above, it is crystal clear that the rape scourge is on the increase all across the world. Rape is not a delightful sight to behold. It is so devastating for the victims, even when the assaulter are persecuted in rare cases. There is therefore an urgent need for this menace to be tamed and this can be achieved when especially in Nigeria where the scourge is assuming an alarming proportion. Therefore it is against this backdrop that this study is set to examine Criminalizing Rape: The Way Forward To End Sexual Molestation.
1.3 Objectives Of The Study
The broad purpose of this study is focused on Criminalizing Rape: The Way Forward To End Sexual Molestation. Specifically it will find out what situations lead to the rape of victims. It will examine the effects of these incidences on the victims. It will investigate how rape incidences can be averted or prevented from reoccurring.
1.4 Research Questions
The following research question will guide the study:
- What situations lead to the rape of victims?
- What are the effects of rape incidences on the victims?
- What are the ways of averting rape or preventing it from reoccurring?
- Do you think that criminalizing rape will have a significant on female sexual molestation?
1.5 Significance Of The Study
This study will be significant to parents, civil societies, international bodies, law makers and judiciary. To parent it will enlighten them on the need to build a strong, healthy and open relationship with their children. To Civil Societies and NGO’s it will enable them to initiates elaborate campaigns against rape and rapist. To Legislator and Judiciary it will enlighten them on the need of upgrading the existing obsolete laws so as to ensure better protection of rape victims. it will enable the international community including united nations on the need to encourage Nigeria to fully implement regional treaties, declarations and resolutions prohibiting all acts of violence against women. finally the study will contribute to the general body of knowledge, serving as a reference material for other researchers and giving room for further studies in related field.
1.6 Scope Of The Study
The scope of this study is hinged on Criminalizing Rape: The Way Forward To End Sexual Molestation. It will discuss the concepts of rape and what leads to rape. It will examine the ways of preventing rape and make other recommendations. However, the study will be delimited to south-south region specifically Akwaibom State using a selected Local Government as a case study.
1.7 Limitation Of The Study
During the course of the study challenges encountered were exclusively but not delimited to the following numerous. These are
Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview)
Time factor pose another constraint since having to cope in this research which went simultaneously within the time schedule of other academic work making it impossible to undertake this study in large more representative skill.
1.8 Definition Of Terms
Criminalizing is the process by which behaviors and individuals are transformed into crime and criminal. It also means to makeor officially declaring an action as crime hence offenders are turn into a criminal or treated as criminal.
Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual penetration carried out against a person without that person’s consent
Sexual molestation, also referred to as abuse, is abusive sexual behavior by one person upon another. It is often perpetrated using force or by taking advantage of another
A victim is a person who has suffered physical or emotional harm as a result of crime, rape, accident or other event.
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