Confessions of 141 Rapists: Alcohol, Hard Drug, pornography = Road to Rape — Expert

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On June 7, 2020. 

By Funmi Ajumobi

As an individual in your right senses, you may not understand what is going on in the mind of a rapist. And sometimes what drives him to kill his victim after satisfying his sexual urge.

The Co-ordinator of the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team, DSVRT, Titilola Vivour Adeniyi, shares the findings of a study of 141 rapists on what pushed them into attacking their victims with Sunday Vanguard in this revealing interview.

She speaks on the heels of the murder of two ladies – Uwaila Omozuwa (in Benin-City, Edo State) and Barakat Bello (in Ibadan, Oyo State) – by their assailants after raping them.

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Two deaths from rape in one week! Why is rape becoming so rampant in Nigeria?

What we are witnessing now is a combination of an increase in formal reporting and increase in the perpetration of rape. People are leveraging on the social media to share their stories, report cases to relevant agencies of government and non-governmental organisations. These are stories that perhaps, before now, would have been swept under the carpet. We are also gradually breaking the silence, breaking down barriers traditionally associated with reporting sexual and gender based violence.

Can we look at the penalty for rape? I mean the position of the law. Is it strong enough to deter potential rapists?

In Lagos State, we have the Criminal Law 2015 that regulates criminal conduct. Chapter 25 provides for sexual offences and lists some of the offences including rape, sexual assault by penetration, sexual assault, attempted sexual assault, sexual harassment and, of course, Section 137 – defilement. It is important to note that the punishment for defilement, rape, sexual assault by penetration is life imprisonment.

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That shows the seriousness with which the state government takes the issues. Recently, life imprisonment, 60 years, 25 years etc judgments were secured. We need to do more in pushing the information out there on convictions and we would be counting on your support in this regard so that people know that the wheel of justice is turning; if you commit rape, the full arm of the law would be brought to bear on you.

Like how many rape cases have been reported in the state/country for instance in the last two years?

In 2019 alone, Lagos State government secured over 90 convictions and we have many on-going cases at the Magistrate and High Courts. And with the establishment of the Domestic and Sexual Offenses Court, coupled with the various interventions of the Ministry of Justice, we are hopeful for more convictions.

Why do people rape?

In 2015, we were curious to know why people engage in rape and so we partnered the Nigerian Prison Service (as they were referred to then). The main objective of the study was to provide plausible means of unraveling the tactics used by sex offenders through profiling of 141 convicts. Our findings revealed that 89% of inmates were always under the influence of alcohol while 10.9% were under the influence of hard drugs. Interestingly, 80.9% of the inmates revealed that they were abused as children implying that they had become sexually active at an early age.

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This illustrates the ‘abused abuser’ trend. Majority of the convicts sampled claimed that they were, however, not fully aware of the consequences of their actions, which implies there is massive advocacy or reorientation that needs to happen in our society to make people understand that rape is not normal or a small issue that can be overlooked, but put on the same pedestal as armed robbery, murder or kidnapping which are all heinous crimes.

38% of the inmates sampled revealed that exposure to online pornography was an influence. Nude magazines, sex-themed movies and adult scenes were dominant mentions amongst the inmates who were active with pornography. Most of the inmates confirmed they were exposed to pornography below the age of 18. It is important to note that none of the inmates sampled said they were aroused by what their victims wore. This further debunks the myth that mode of dressing is a reason why people rape.

What can be done to reduce incidents of rape?

We need to continue to deconstruct and dismantle socio-cultural norms, patriarchal systems or beliefs that have, for decades, continued to endorse or ignore SGBV and gender inequality. We also need to continue to strategically engage men and empower them as duty bearers in this fight. People need to see this for what it is, not a women’s issue, but rather a public health issue, an issue of national concern that has adverse effect on productivity, relationships and even the economy.

We also need to continue to engage all relevant institutions, religious institutions, community gate keepers, custodians of culture, educational institutions, at all levels etc to ensure they use their platforms to continually educate and sensitize the public. Similarly, we need to ensure that relevant legislations, where not available in the country, are enacted to criminalise these crimes. Legislation should also ensure that cases are attended to expeditiously to ensure convictions are secured in record time, and that victims are protected.

These initiatives will create deterrence and end the culture of impunity. Recent studies have shown that sex convicts are not likely to repeat their crimes if they receive psychosocial support tailored towards a relapse prevention strategy through recognition and avoidance of criminal impulses. We are not oblivious of the fact that some sex offenders would eventually return to the community. We therefore need to create systems in place to reduce recidivism. DSVRT has entered into a partnership with the Nigerian Correctional Service and the Institute of Counselling of Nigeria and we have commenced the provision of psychosocial support for sex convicts, to aid rehabilitation.

What categories of females are mostly prone to rape and why?

Statistics has shown that any female, irrespective of age, gender, creed, ethnicity or religion, is at a risk of being sexually abused. I must however use this opportunity to state that boys/men can also be sexually assaulted. Granted, the statistics reveal most people who experience sexual violence and report same are females, the male gender also get sexually assaulted.

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As a government agency, aside from offenders register, what other things do you think government needs to put in place to curb this menace?

Lagos State government has declared zero tolerance to all forms of sexual and gender based violence in the state, and the great benefit we have is the political will from Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the state Exco. We appreciate that survivors require multi-sectoral services and that was one of the reasons Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response

Team, DSVRT, ensures holistic support is provided for survivors in the form of legal, medical, psycho social, emergency (rescue), law

enforcement and empowerment where possible. DSVRT partnered Lagos State Police Command to upgrade nine Divisional Police Stations to Family Support Units where we have specialized officers to attend to SGBV incidents. Similarly, the state government upgraded 57 comprehensive primary healthcare centres to provide sexual assault management services, and these facilities were equipped with Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kits, also referred to as Rape Kits. Once evidence is collected, samples are packaged and sent to Lagos State DNA Forensic Lab for testing so that we can now solve sexual offences related cases scientifically.

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In terms of advocacy and sensitisation, the Team has embarked on various flagship programmes for primary, secondary and university students on SGBV and one of our flagship programmes is the Kings Club

Initiative which is run in secondary schools, where we seek to re-orientate the mindset of young boys towards behavioral change on how they relate with females and the society at large, and also how they can speak up if they are abused. These clubs have been instrumental to promoting positive masculinity and gender equality from a young age.

On November 26, 2019, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu publicly signed a commitment document, restating his administration’s commitment to the eradication of sexual and domestic violence in Lagos State, policy advocacy, sustaining preventive interventions, providing medical and psycho social support and seeking justice for survivors of sexual and gender based violence. This strong demonstration of political will, among others, is needed in eradicating this menace in our society.

 

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