Steve Uzoechi OWERRI A recent research finding concludes that Nigerian laws and culture tend to normalize and trivialize incidents of rape which ordinarily, should be as much of a heinous crime as armed robbery.
This was contained in a research paper presented by Okereke O.J at the 9th International Conference organized by the Institute of Women, Gender and Development Studies of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO) on the theme: Gender, Empowerment and Sustainable Development. The study submits that rape is analogous to robbery in that it is a robbery of the property in a woman’s sexuality.
“The robbery notion of rape justifies its criminalization by International, Federal and State legislations. Curiously, rape cases continue to increase in most Nigerian societies in spite of numerous existing anti-rape legislations, vocal advocacies and efforts at punishing perpetrators”, the paper notes.
An extract of the research work adds that the paper explores conceptions of rape among Nigerians and examines a range of rape legislations with a focus on the challenges to their enforcement.
Ultimately, the study finds objectification of women and normalization of rape as a means of social control in the Nigerian culture. “Thus rape is trivialized and thrives in misconstrued thoughts”, the study indicates.
The study however recommends that rape laws need to be reformed for easy enforcement and post-rape care included in the law. It holds also that cultural conceptions need to be re-socialized by informed advocacy.