If ever there was a word that strikes fear into all women it is probably Rape. The word rape with regards to its physical meaning, as applied to people rather than to property or land, does not have many other definitions and even though it can equally be applied to men it is mostly used by the male to intimidate, abuse, and establish power over the female. No matter which sex it is done to, it is done to terrorize the weaker or the innocent, to take a power that was not there before and is often accompanied by murder if the victims can identify the perpetrator.
Rape is also used as a weapon of war, to inflict damage on those being invaded, to make them cower in fear and do the bidding of the oppressor.
Sexual gratification by men who cannot control their sexual urges has been the cause of much trauma in abuse cases worldwide. It is probably the biggest fear of anybody short of torture and death, indeed it is often used as a weapon of torture. In many countries corrupt police forces use it to intimidate witnesses or even the innocent complainants in cases of cultural and religious morality tests.
To describe the sheer fear and terror that even the thought of rape brings I came across two recent occurrences, both in the same city. Is something going on there? Should the people in that city be more vigilant? Should the authorities and police be more sympathetic?
A friend of mine was in her apartment block recently which was in a secure compound. In the early hours of the morning, in darkness a gang of ten men armed with guns and knives invaded the place and tied up the security guard. The first question they asked him was “which apartments do the women live?” before “who are the wealthy owners?” That shows the intention of those criminals was more than just a robbery.
My friend is a beautiful, fit, young intelligent woman with good education and is a successful entrepreneur, just the sort of person that society needs for future growth. She is a proud member of the LGBT community also and on being awakened by the noise of the robbers trying to break into her apartment described her terror at the prospect of the intentions of these men. Her description to me after was “They say an armed robbery is a traumatic experience some people never recover from. An armed robbery and rape is even more traumatic.”
She described the incident in detail as the villains made their way through the building.
“I came out of the bedroom. My entire body was shaking. I had never experienced anything like this. I started saying the rosary. Stopped at the second mystery to pray with Psalm 91. I got some Holy Water and sprayed it across the flat while praying. With shaky hands, I picked up my phone and dialled several numbers. My mind was scrambled. I got through to the building’s lawyer, who got in contact with the Police.”
The police came and shots were fired but the men escaped. She could not sleep after, her mind had already been terrorised and yet she had survived, and they had not even got into her apartment despite causing some damage to her door. Even though they were not successful in their attempted robbery and if caught, their sentence would never equal the fear and terror that they had delivered unto their intended victims. There were many more peaceful citizens in the building also traumatized by the thought of what might have happened that night.
“Every time I closed my eyes, I saw them here. When armed robbers break into a house where females live, they rape and take. The raping scared me to death. I’m not sure I can survive such a traumatic experience. So, I prayed in the silence of the darkness and begged God to restore my peace.”
The recent court case in Lagos discharged and acquitted a 15year old girl accused of murder. Her father’s 51-year-old friend had tried to rape her, yet the police still arrested her. The allegation was that she had stabbed the man at his home and that contravened Section 225 of the criminal Law of Lagos. Luckily for her the DPP had been very quick in corroborating the fact of the intended rape and presented the findings to the magistrate who acquitted her. Most decent people would support that decision. Some good came out of the case in that the Dept. of Public Affairs put out a wider appeal for anyone that has suffered any form of rights denial, abuse, and violence to visit any of the OPD offices and get free legal advice. Maybe though, the police there need to look into their handling of the case. Maybe there should be some re-training of the police responses to any rape associated crime or defence from the attempted rape.
Both of those incidents describe the real life and recent effects of even the threat of rape on society. If society wants to grow and citizens revitalize their cities then this fear has to be removed, for fear is the destroyer of positivity and of decent society worldwide.