Written by Austine ELEMUE, Laraba Murey, Williams ABAH

We are overwhelmed by rape, incest cases – FCTA Family members, clergy top abuse list

Officials of the Federal Capital Territory Administration Social Development Secretariat have revealed startling details of rape and incest against minors and teenagers in the territory, especially in the suburbs.

Though, official statistics from the FCT Social Development Secretariat was not made available at the time of filing this report, but the director in charge of Gender Matters, Dr. Agnes Hart, told our correspondent that the secretariat is inundated with cases of domestic violence against minors and teenagers by the day.

Hart, who described the development as beastly, revealed that the secretariat receives an average of one case of domestic violence per day, stressing that the situation has reached an alarming state.

She also said that the girl-child is no longer safe as they are being molested and raped by immediate family members, teachers and clergymen. 

"The recent cases of domestic violence in the territory is quite alarming and pathetic. There is no day the secretariat does not receive a report on domestic violence mostly on rape. Our Sexual and Gender Based Violence Response Team is inundated with such cases. To be honest with you, just today (Friday), we have handled four different cases of sexual violence. 

"But the most disturbing aspect of this matter is that nowhere is safe for the girl-child in our society. Our homes, churches, mosques and schools are no longer safe because most of the cases we handled are cases related to fathers raping their daughters, pastors raping little girls in their congregations and teachers raping their pupils and students. In fact, we are living in a beastly society," Hart affirmed.

She revealed that the FCT Administration has set up Sexual Assault Center, SAC, in Karu General Hospital to handle cases of domestic violence, adding that such centers will be established in other public health institutions across the territory. 

Speaking on the challenges faced, Hart identified the judicial system and ignorance on the part of family members as some of the challenges faced while handling cases of domestic violence. 

According to her, "our judicial system is too slow in dispensing justice. There are rape cases that will drag as long as God knows. In most cases, both parties will be tired to follow up such cases in court and before the secretariat will know it, they will settle out of court.

“Not too long ago, a woman whose daughter was raped told me that they have settled out of court and the community imposed a fine on the man.

“Sadly, I discovered that the fine was a bag of garri, 10 litter of red oil and a bag of salt. Tell me, how will such person feel the gravity of the offence he has committed?"

 

Our correspondents also gathered across the territory, the prevalence of rape related cases is on the increase, as some residents of Nyanya, near Customary Court in Area D, disclosed that rape has becomes a daily occurrence, describing it as a sordid tale affecting every segment of society. 

They noted that no day passes without an incident of rape related case. According to them, out of ten cases brought before the customary court for trial, six of them are rape cases, three are divorce, only one comes from petty crimes and other related matters. 

One of the residents in the area, Mrs. Amaka Igwe, expressed sadness over what she described as an aberration.

According to her. "rape is an ugly incident that traumatizes its victim. My younger sister was raped, while on her way from school. We reported the case to the police, and nothing was done to bring the perpetrators to justice.

“The painful aspect of it, was that my sister was a virgin then. A few month later, after the incident, she started developing health complications that eventually led to Visco Vagina Fistula, VVF. It took the grace of God for her to survive." 

It was gathered that since efforts were not in place by the government to create awareness in order to educate the victims of rape to speak out, the incident will continue.

This newspaper learnt that most sexual abuse victims fear stigmatization, therefore, prefer a culture of silence. 

Besides the issue of family members and the clergy, our correspondents learnt that there are gangs who specialize in preying on young ladies.

Not too long ago, it was reported that a lady boarded a bike from Nyanya to Jikwoyi, the cyclist diverted her to unknown destination, alighted in the midst of his gang, raped, robbed and left her unconscious. 

Mr. .Audu, a resident of Karu Site, who witnessed the incident, disclosed that he was passing through that path to the Customs Quarters, when he heard somebody screaming for help. 

"It was a terrible experience, I took the lady to Nyanya General Hospital where she was treated. The case was reported to the police, but up till now, no feedback from them," he said. 

Also speaking, a victim of rape, Miss Rosemary Jime, told our correspondent how she was raped alongside her friend.

"It is not easy to tell anybody the experience, the victims of rape pass through. I was raped with my friend on our way home from church in the evening. I told my mum about it, but she said that I should not let anybody know about it. I kept it to myself since then, and I find it difficult to let it go from my mind. Government needs to create a platform for effective awareness to educate the victims to come out of this fear of stigmatization", she stated. 

 

A resident of Mpape, who refused to volunteer her name, narrated how her 3 years old daughter was raped by her uncle.

Narrating her ordeal she said; "We were set to go out, on the road my baby complained of pains in her private part. She even wanted to remove her skirt but I stopped her telling her that we were on the road. That evening when we got back, as I was bathing her I decided to check for the pain she had early complained. 

"Behold I saw that my daughter's vagina has been tempered with. There was a large unusual hole. I asked my baby who did this to you. She said Uncle Parafet. I was shocked but didn't say anything.

“Three days later, I asked my baby same question, she said Uncle Parafet. That was when I went to report to the vigilante group in the market where I sell goods.

"They advised me not to say a word that I don't have proof, warning me that if I report the incident it might backfire on me. I kept quiet but I told a neighbour of mine who also suggested I keep quite that they will set trap for Uncle Parafet. 

"My daughter began to bleed. I ran to my aunt who advised that we should report the matter to the police, but it was late that day. The following day, I was preparing to go out, Uncle Parafet came and blocked me on the road. 

"He said I was tarnishing his image within the neighbourhood. He began to beat me, he even threatened to deal with me that I have not seen anything yet. Passersby came to my rescue. I have reported the matter to the police".

However, they are those who are of the opinion that victims of rape are the architect of their problems.

"You see some of those ladies, they are not ashamed of dressing half nude. They dress like that to public, and our body system is being regulated by hormones in our system. Once somebody feels attractive to an indecent dressing, and he has no self-control, there is no other choice than to do the needful. Let them dress responsible to avoid this incessant rape cases", they argued. 

A medical expert, Dr. Linus Awuta, a gynecologist with Federal Medical Centre Keffi, described sexual abuse as a pathetic experience. 

According to him, "we recorded a large number of rape cases in our hospital, the painful aspect of it was that most of the victims are teenagers who have a brighter future ahead. After conducting test on them, we discovered that half or more are positive to various degree of sexual transmitted diseases." 

He appealed to relevant authorities to live up to their responsibility in in order to forestall the ugly incident.

 

 

 

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