“I just want to sleep. A coma would be nice. Or amnesia. Anything, just to get rid of this, these thoughts, whispers in my mind. Did he rape my head, too?”
― Laurie Halse Anderson
Amidst the global development of COVID-19 pandemic, proliferation of rape cases in Nigeria becomes more unmanageable. Reports of the menace is becoming a quotidian headline, not a day will pass without numerous number of poignant rape reports, tears continue to rush down the chicks of victims with no yet definite legal sanction, different castigations have been suggested by concerned individuals ranging from death sentence by hanging, imprisonment with hard labor and without option of fine, castration of the culprit, and the likes.
Although different possible rationales have been attributed to what gives birth to this barbaric act, yet, the need to give ample concern to the fate of the victims traumatized by the irrevocable event remains crucial. Many young, ambitious, and zealous individuals have been mercilessly raped to death, leading to the burial of their struggle, while their families continue to live with the agony of the incident for the rest of their lives. Do these families deserve the torment.? On the other hand, other innocent individuals raped ended up becoming companions of one malady or the other (Serious infections and Visio vaginal fistula (VVF) are the most common ones) putting their lives in lifetime melancholy, and pitifully rendering them medically unfit for marriage as well as manifold health related engagements. Do these individuals deserve this severe pain.? Furthermore, the fortunate victims in this regard, are neither raped to death nor hold any serious ailment, they are however caged in the room of depression that is
engulfed by the dust of discrimination. This experience usually cast a dark shadow over their future struggle when no solid rehabilitation measure is taken. Do the so-called fortunate victims deserve this excruciating distress.?
Regrettably, some rapists seem to live more comfortably than the rapee, perhaps because they society has positively painted them, or they are well off enough to financially counter any legal charge upon them. Most often, reporting the so-called perceived elites with the intention of subjecting them to conviction is like trying to get blood out of a stone. Many parents find it extremely difficult to expose what happened to their children, for they may end up having additional agony to the pre-existed one. In many instances, human right organizations must have to pull teeth to get the exact story of the instance from the parent, all in the fear of how the society will end up tempering with the image of their children. Pitifully, both the victims and
their parent are left with no option but silence.
Indeed, a rapist is one of the worst sorts of human beings on earth, parading with no iota of compassion, seizing every slightest chance to ruin the lives of others and a true definition of what a heartless heart means. No wonder I.T Muhammad JSC gave an apt description of a rapist in this manner and I quote ‘A rapist is worse than an animal. He has no moral rectitude. He throws overboard, the limit of his legal rights and he can, shamelessly, deprive another person (more painfully, female children of underage) of their God given rights of protecting the chastity and sanctity of their body and mind. He is all out to pollute such chastity and sanctity. He has no respect for human beings! He can commit any atrocity. He is a cancer in the society. What a shame!’
In any unblemished, just, and serene society, empathy is a cardinal ethic that prevails its atmosphere. Victims are treated with profound kindness, nursed with immeasurable sympathy, and have every meaningful regard just like every other person. It is such humanity that encourage victims to maintain resilience and keep the flame of their struggle burning. Dissimilarly, culprits are ensured they take the rap for their detrimental act, their homes will be no less than their graves as they will continue to live in misery, and it will be a cold day in the hell before the society can entrust them again. While the culprit lives in agony regardless of who he is, the victim lives in ecstasy.
Lamentably, ours is a society that inadvertently condemn the victim and the celebrate the Culprit. Many victims have no confidence to boldly interact, no confidence to strongly air out, and no regard to be respected, honored, and recommended in the society. The reaction they innocently receive from the society keeps triggering their trauma every now and then at the same time the memory keeps rewinding video of the sorrowful event, they in fact cease to continuously assume they are inferior. Should the society be more merciful, relief would have been a good companion to them, should they receive equal regard, the bizarre image of the incident would have faded dramatically. It seems the rapist has no reward, and the rapee has to
shoulder all the burden. Who then deserves the anguish?
Sabo Ibrahim Hassan