There is a culture of silence around rape in Nigeria. If it’s talked about all, there are usually two kinds of reactions. There are the people who’ll tell you to not talk about it so that you can ‘cover your shame’. Because it’s you the victim who should be ashamed and not the assailant. The other group of people will ask you what you were doing at the scene of the incident in a short skirt.
People in the former group are also likely to tell you to leave the matter to God, instead of reporting to authorities. While people in the latter will tell you to ‘stop making noise about it, and go and report to police’.
What both people either don’t know or choose not to understand is that rape is ridiculously prevalent in Nigeria and for the most part victims never get justice.
So here are a couple of facts about rape, rape culture and Nigeria, I thought people ought to know.
In 2013, the Nigeria Police recorded 1,788 cases of rape. In 2015 that number went up to 1,827.
And we all know that as at today in 2019 these numbers are not any lower. Also, the numbers were gotten from cases that were actually reported. Which we all know makes up a very small fraction of the number of rape cases that actually occur.
As at 2015 only 18 rape convictions had been recorded in the whole of Nigeria’s legal history.
One in four girls by the time she reaches 18 would have experienced at least one form of sexual assault.
And 70.5% of the girls experience multiple incidents of sexual abuse. This is what happens when assailants are tried at family meetings and given a pass, instead of in a court of law and imprisoned.
84% of girls who are sexually abused do not know where to seek help.
Or even whether to seek help. A large percentage of sexual assault cases involve family members. In a culture that priorities respect of adults and elders above all else, it’s very difficult for victims to come forward.
52% of the time assailants are personally known by the victim.
Which means 52% of the time it’s not just some random thug off the street. It’s a close friend, teacher, pastor, uncle. 52% of the time, the assailant is a face you know and trust.
93.9% of sexual assault victims in Nigeria are female.
If you are one of those people who scream ‘what of the men’ when people are advocating against sexual assault of women, please remember this number.
There’s no such thing as consensual sex between a child and an adult.
What that is called, is statutory rape. Disgracefully the age of consent in Nigeria is 14. 14 when some of our biggest worries were when our parents will finally allow us start using lipgloss.
88% of child sexual abuse victims know the abuser.
And so do their guardians that’s why you were told to wear something that covered your legs when a certain uncle came by. Or not wear certain clothes to a particular family friend’s house.
None of the above statistics are a hundred percent accurate. A ridiculous number of cases go unreported, or reported to pastors and family members who encourage victims to ‘leave the matter to God and stay silent.
But in this era of #MeToo were brave women like Monica Osagie refuse to stay silent, we can feel a revolution coming and we are here for it.