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Rape epidemic: figures in Nigeria continue to increase

Photo by Kat Jayne from Pexels

Rape is a serious issue which should not be over looked. To countless women rape and sexual violence are sources of anxiety, psychology distress and physical injury. It is basically a non consensual penetration of the mouth, vagina, or anus by any part of the attackers body or by an object used by the attacker. Rape is a general problem faced in different countries but the rate of reported cases in Nigeria is now alarmingly high.

Photo by Lucxama Sylvain from Pexels

 With the high number of reported cases, a recent research carried out by Rape, Abuse & incest National Network organisation shows that 230 out of 1,000 rape cases in Nigeria are reported by to the police. That simple means that 770 cases are never reported and the perpetrators go unpunished.

The Straitstimes also recorded Nigeria as one of the 10 most dangerous places for women. Below are the list of the 10 countries listed:

  1. India
  2. Afganistain
  3. Syria
  4. Somali
  5. Saudi arabia
  6. Pakistani
  7. Democratic Republic of Conga
  8. Yemen
  9. Nigeria
  10. United States

Nigeria ranked as nine, was also named among the six worse for women and the risk they face from traditional practices. Nigeria continues to face a growing rate of this epidemic, although recorded as one of the most religious countries in Africa, one would think that the issue of sexual assault will be at its least. however in most reported rape case the religious leaders are accused of being the perpetrator.

The BMC Women’s Health did a research in Nigeria, on the characteristic of the survivors, the circumstances of assault and treatment offered with a view to reducing the incidence as well as improving evaluation and management.

The research is analysed in the above image which shows that section A has over 21.7% of victims presented after 24 hours of assault, section B recorded that 26.5% of rape victims knew the perpetrator (majority were neighbours), section C shows that 20.5% of most assaults occurred in the neighbours’ homes and D shows that 31.3% of rape victims were below 19 years.

Here are some of the facts from the Nigerian legislation concerning rape:

  1. If a person has sex with a girl younger than 14, even if it is consensual, it counts as statutory rape in Nigeria.
  2. According to most legislations, rape is defined as a sexual intercourse with a female without her consent (or if consent has been obtained incorrectly). This means that Nigeria does not recognise male victims of rape. The only exception is Abuja FCT, which operates under the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act, where gender of the victim does not matter.
  3. Consent that has been obtained incorrectly includes situations where the perpetrator has used threats, force, intimidation, illegal substances or fraud in order to have sex with the victim.
  4. Penal code, as well as the Criminal Laws of Lagos, explicitly say that no form of sexual intercourse between spouses can be unlawful. This means that, if husband forces his wife to have sex with him, this would not count as rape, therefore, it is not punishable.


According to the Age Distribution of victims in Nigeria, students accounted for 74.2% of the sexual assault which 40.1% of them were assaulted in neighbours’ houses but no assault occurred in the school. Pre-pubertal victims constituted 56.4% while 43.6% were post pubertal.

The rape statistic of children in Nigeria has increased over the years, children are now easy victims for the perpetrator. As at 2004, 60 percent of children involved in child trafficking from Africa to Europe were Nigerians. The 2014 National Survey on Violence Against Children in Nigeria confirmed that one in four women reported childhood sexual violence, with approximately 70% reporting more than one incident of sexual violence. In the same study, it was found that 24.8% of females aged 18-24 experienced sexual abuse before age 18, 5.0% of whom sought help, with only 3.5%. received any service. Several NGO’s have been set up to help rape survivors in Nigeria, and they urge survivors to speak out and get the help they deserve.

If you have been raped, you do not have to live through this traumatic experience alone. We know it might seem hard or outright impossible, but you need to gather all your courage and go to the police to report this heinous crime as soon as you can. If you cannot go through this alone, confide in people close to you, so that they can offer you their moral support. Read more.



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