SEXUAL ABUSE OF MINORS AND VULNERABLE ADULTS IN NIGERIA (1)

SEXUAL ABUSE OF MINORS AND VULNERABLE ADULTS IN NIGERIA (1)

In Nigeria sexual abuse is a serious crime. It is briefly defined in the criminal code as unlawful carnal knowledge of a girl or woman, without her consent or with her consent if the consent is obtained by force or by means of threat or intimidation of any kind, or by fear of any harm or by means of false and fraudulent representation as to the nature of act?[1] We do not know exactly how many children in Nigeria who are victims of sexual abuse. However, recent research conducted by the National Population Commission of the Federal Government of Nigeria on violence against children, provides some insights into the magnitude of the problem and reveals high rates of sexual abuse against minors. Report shows that a ratio of 69.2% to 70.5% of boys and girls respectively experience multiple incidents of sexual abuse.[2] Despite the fact that the statistics may not give a direct representation of sexual abuses it however gives us a template for scrutiny and analysis. 

This statistics mirror the truth that sexual abuse of minors is more common than most people think. With an increased level of information in this digital age, messages flow in from social media via Whatsapp, Facebook, twitter handle and Instagram daily that speak of sexual abuses. Minors and in few cases, vulnerable adults are sexually abused by those they are acquainted with; ranging from parents, guardians, neighbors, lecturers/teachers, drivers, clerics and the likes. It is appalling to mention that in accordance with an account published in 2013, large sum of sexual abuses today are rarely reported.[3] Some have attributed this under-report to the perpetrator use of threat on their victims “Abusers say things like ‘I’ll kill you if you tell”[4] while others believe that minors are naïve and so they  fail to report it.[5] Consequently, it can be said that under-report is largely informed by ignorance of the act and ignorance of case procedure. More so, some cultural practices in Nigeria seem to be at home with certain acts that are labeled as sexually abusive in the society.

To be continued

Daniel Evbotokhai (Fr.)

[1] Section 357 of the Criminal Code

[2] “Child Sexual Abuse Statistics” http://ceceyara.org/child-sexual-abuse-statistics/ retrieved 5/11/2017

[3] Ogbonna, Chukwuma.  Nigeria: A look at child sexual abuse across Africa. Shout-Africa: Proud African News and Entertainment pub, 2013

[4] Susan A. Clancy, The Trauma Myth: the Truth About the Sexual Abuse of Children and its Aftermath, New York: Basic Books, 2009, p.151

[5] Ibid. p. 190

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Fr. Daniel Evbotokhai is a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Auchi, Edo State, Nigeria. He was ordained October 20th, 2018. He offers his daily homilies, talks and articles that bother on, faith, theology, morals and many other burning issues in religion and politics. Fr. Daniel writes poems, inspirational quotes and clips.

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