RAPE & IT'S EFFECTS ON SOCIETY - Oyetade Elizabeth Modupe
Oyetade Elizabeth Modupe a resource person who delivered a lecture during The Lagos State Scout Council 1st Youth Engagement and Diversity Forum on, March 31th 2018 spoke on the topic RAPE AND IT'S EFFECTS ON SOCIETY. Below are exerts from her presentation.
National Survey On Violence Against Children (VAC) in Nigeria determines 3 types of VAC to be, Physical violence, Sexual Violence and Emotional Violence, out of the 3 VAC,Sexual Violence affects most number of children in Nigeria, most respondents said the will report to police when they witness violence against children in their community, same as messengers of peace we shouldn't fold our arms at this menace.
Rape is one of the crimes and social problems that is somewhat regarded as a community’s least priority although the victims suffer from grave physical, mental, and emotional consequences. So what is Rape?
Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving having a carnal knowledge, which is initiated by one or more persons against another person without that person’s consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority or against a person who is incapable of valid consent, such as one who is unconscious, incapacitated, or below the legal age of consent. The term rape is, sometimes, used interchangeably with the term sexual assault.
The time is now and the place is anywhere in the world where this issue is not being given the attention that is warranted to fight against the biasness towards rape victims. This can be witnessed in the recent social upheaval that has shaken;
Nigeria On July 22, 2012, Cynthia Osokogwu, a post-graduate student of Nasarawa State University and a clothing retailer, was murdered in Lagos by friends she met on Facebook. The rapists lured her to a hotel in FESTAC Town, drugged and raped her before she was murdered.
Also, the incident when five undergraduates believed to be students of Abia State University conspired and raped a young woman is as well detestable. Despite the pleadings of the young girl, the young men still took turns to satisfy their devilish lusts on her. The videos of that incident shook the nation as investigation was launched into the incident but nothing seems to have come out of it till date.
In India too, after a 23 year old para-medical student was gang-raped, mauled and left to die naked in the streets of Delhi, the Indian capital.
The incident generated widespread national and international coverage and was widely condemned, both in India and abroad.
Effects of rape to the victim
The consequences of rape to the woman or man can be classified either as physically, mentally or emotionally traumatic. Among the physical effects include unwanted pregnancies, diseases or health problems, and certain disruptions on the woman’s natural bodily functions. On the other hand, psychological effects range from self-pity to the more striking suicidal tendencies.
– Unwanted pregnancy. Of course, the most immediate physical effect of rape is the risk for the victim of getting pregnant. Dependent on the age of the victim, she may conceive a child even if she is just reached puberty. In most instances, rape victims who do become pregnant opt to abort the child that is considered the result of the crime committed against them. In some cases the situation is further complicated due to abortions not being a legal option for the victim.
– Exposure or transmission of certain diseases. Without their knowledge, the rape victims are also at risk of acquiring sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS that could affect their health in the short and long term even leading to death.
– Damage or disruption of body organs or functions. Since rape is a form of forced intercourse, the victim’s body usually suffers physical injury particularly to the vagina, uterus, and other parts of the reproductive system. The risks are greater if the rape victim is a child or a very young teen. In addition the rape victims are often beaten up and tortured during and after the rape, which might even lead to losing their life in some cases.
– Trauma and paranoia. The foremost psychological effect of rape will be emotional trauma and paranoia. At times, the victim will exhibit symptoms of mental and emotional trauma through solitude and exclusion. They also develop fear in mingling and socializing with strangers and other people especially men. These effects can last for the duration of the victim’s lifetime.
– Self-pity or self-blame. Apart from making her aloof and isolated, rape can also lead the victim to pity or blame herself for the crime. This effect is partly caused by the social stigma or shame that societies or communities wrongly attribute to the victim. She is often deprived of the care she should receive from families and society at large, who in turn can accuse her of callous and provoking behavior. This worsens her mental state and she is left emotionally devastated.
– Suicidal tendencies. The most striking effect that rape can produce in a victim is the thoughts or tendencies of committing suicide. Because of trauma, self-pity, and seclusion, rape victims often feel that there is no longer hope and they could no longer recover and that they are not worthy of living.
Effects of rape to the community
The effects of rape to a community or society will essentially revolve around the response the community makes. In the “First World” or more highly developed countries, community response will commonly be positive and encouraging for the victim. Communities provide emotional support for the victim and help her get over the trauma she has faced.
But the scenario is notably different in certain societies like Asia, Africa, the Caribbean and other poor countries where rape victims are neglected or the crime itself is not prioritized, community response would often be in a negative way. It could be either in the form of neglect, absence of social and legal justice, and putting the blame on the victim herself. She is often considered as an outcast in the society and is left alone to battle with the aftermath of the rape.
India being a conservative country, many Indians look down upon girls who are outgoing and prefer to wear western clothes. People often blame the girl for sending out wrong signals to men, thus making her vulnerable to rape. In cases where a woman is raped, she is always in fear of being marked a ‘whore’ or a woman of bad character, which ultimately prevents her from reporting the crime. In some cases, they don’t disclose these attacks to anyone and keep all their sufferings to themselves – an immense emotional upheaval which only the sufferer can describe.
The situation is not much different in Africa and the Caribbean where the number of rape crimes committed on women, have soared radically since three decades ago. Being male chauvinistic to a great extent, the Caribbean society often accuses the raped woman of immoral behavior, tries to force her to forget everything (failing to understand that it’s impossible for a rape victim to do so) putting her in the position of culprit rather than that of the victim.
It is time that all humans demand changes to all countries that perpetrate such injustices world-wide. It is time to provide the education and information and encourage discussions that will change society’s attitudes towards rape and find ways to eradicate this intolerable social issue once and for all.
Oyetade Elizabeth Modupe
SHQC Better World,