Saturday, 12 August 2017

Is ind--ent dressing a ‘ra-peable’ offence?

I was excited when I saw this article. I was even more excited when I discovered that the article was written by a man, Rasak Musbau. Read excerpts from it below.......

Cases of security men
especially police officers‘re-raping’ ra-pe victims have not lost in our memory either. In 2014, an Amnesty International report listed ra-pe as one of the methods allegedly being used by the Nigerian Police to extract confession from female suspects. Again, most often, Police officers purportedly ask ra-pe victims irrational and dispiriting questions. Sadly, the military is no better.

As if to prove a U.S Novelist and feminist, Marilyn French right, over her submission that: “All men are rapists and that’s all they are. They ra-pe us with their eyes, their laws, and their code”, voice against ra-pe is still criminally silent, the law against ra-pe is ineffective, the institutions to render support is sick and culpable of the act while our leaders seem helpless. We tend to reduce the problem to issue of indecent dressing as if the kids that “beasts” violated also attract them with indecent dress.

Millions of Nigerians continue to believe that women invite trouble on themselves by being careless. Mothers often chide daughters for wearing provocative clothing, in most cases a sleeveless garment or a pair of hip-hugging jeans. Though one is against indecent dressing, but it could not be a justification for raping. Come to think of; is indecent dressing a ‘ra-peable’ offence?

In a nutshell, dramatic changes have to take place in public attitude towards ra-pe if we are ready to stem the tide. Steps towards this direction include public enlightenment and education campaign as well as institutional support. Cheerfully, all these are being offered in Lagos State by the Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA) and Ministry of Justice through Office of Public Defenders (OPD) in Lagos State. WAPA has trained Health Workers drawn from primary and secondary health facilities in the state on Women’s Rights, Gender Based Violence (GBV) and the management of GBV survivors. The Health Workers were trained to serve as change agents through which statistic on ra-pe and other forms of violence can be gotten from. Documentation by health facilities can be useful as evidence to get a no contest order in criminal proceedings against perpetrators.

The Ministry also in conjunction with United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) organized a symposium for HODs in WAPA and Community Leaders across the State on the need to end Gender Based Violence in the Society. The Ministry in addition collaborated with United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in organizing Year 2016, 16 Days Activism against Gender – Based Violence Campaign.

While one cannot say this has drastically impacted on the fight against ra-pe, it is undoubtedly a step in the right direction. Therefore, one strongly recommends that other relevant stakeholders equally evolve new strategies that would really assist in tackling the menace of ra-pe in our country. The heinous crime represents a slap on our collective sensibility and as such it must be frontally addressed.

This article reminded me of an article I wrote years back but only published last year. Read it here.

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