For some time now, the news and social media has been awash with disturbing news of incessant rape cases emanating from Anambra State. The latest reported or recorded one is that of seventeen year old Chioma who was said to have been gang raped and thrown to her death from a storey building by a gang of six. The incident happened in Oba, Idemili Local Government Area of the state.
Shortly before this was the story which broke around the 13th of June 2018, of the rape of an eight year old girl by a middle aged man. The victim is said to be a pupil of a primary school within the area. This incident happened at the Fegge area of the commercial city of Onitsha.
Prior to this was the report of the rape of a seven year old girl by a man described as a “popular” pastor in the state. This one was at Okpuno, Awka South Local Government Area.
There is yet the story of a fourteen year old said to have been abducted and repeatedly raped for six days by a police corporal in Onitsha.
Yet another story is that of another fourteen year old girl who was raped by a gang of four at Awka.
In the same Awka trended much earlier the story of a five year old raped in a kindergarten. This particular story attracted much attention as the Father of the victim was said to have accepted the sum of a hundred thousand naira to drop the complaint.
The rising incidence of rape in our society is a serious cause for concern. Rape is the most vicious of sexual assaults. It leaves the victim permanently scared and psychologically traumatized.
The victim is invariably stigmatized and this has been the major cause of non report of rape cases. Only a very small percentage of rape cases are reported and yet a much smaller percentage is ever prosecuted. The vast majority prefer to suffer in silence rather than have stigma, humiliation and shame added to their problem.
Apart from the fact that our society often blames the victim more than the rapist, the heavy burden of proof placed on the victim by our criminal proceedings has made it near impossible to secure convictions in rape cases.
The recent rape and gruesome murder of 17 year old CHIOMA in Oba, Anambra State has once again drawn our attention to the grave consequence of treating this social ill with kid gloves.
From the stories so far, it is already known that she was raped by six people, that the act took place in an uncompleted building, that the incident took place on the first floor of this building and that she was thrown down from this height. These are very solid leads that points to the fact that the culprits are not too far from reach. The police command must not rest on its oars until these criminals are brought to book. This is one rape too many.