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Sunday, 25 September 2011

Abia State gang rape - Nigeria's video-taped rape ordeal.

Nigerians have expressed shock at the case of the Abia gang-rape. 5 young men took it in turn to rape a female victim for hours, videotaping themselves while they did so, laughing and cracking jokes as they casually brutalised their weeping victim for hours. She knew them and begged them to stop but it made no difference. Afterwards the rapists put the video-tape on-line.

I was NOT shocked.  I believe the Nigerian society has failed to take rape seriously. Too often, we have turned a blind eye to rape’s existence or have blamed the victim. “Why did she go to her boyfriend’s house?”  “Why did she wear that mini-skirt?” “See the low-cut top that girl is wearing – if she is raped, she’ll begin to blame the poor guy!” For a rape victim to get sympathy and empathy, she had better be a conservatively dressed VIRGIN victim who is pounced upon on her way home with a knife held to her throat.

I have heard people ask why does rape matter so much and why do victims claim they are traumatised afterwards. “After all if a girl isn’t a virgin, then it is just sex which is not anything new to her, is it?” I have read contributors on social media forums claim this is another sign of Nigeria’s moral breakdown; such things did not happen back in the good old days.

Poppycock! Go back 20 - 30 years and many people know of friends who were raped by boyfriends or male friends in University.  I’ll share two stories of the many I’ve heard over the years:

A Muslim girl, shy and quiet but with a gentle sense of humour. Her life was changed forever in Uni after being raped brutally by the guy who was her bf. After that incident, she faded into the shadows, became a staunchly devout Islamist who began wearing a hijab (the scarf covering the head and wrapped around the neck) and no longer ever smiled.

A born-again Christian raped by someone she trusted.  Afterwards, she met another Christian student, got engaged and told him what happened. They got married but during the 15 years of their now ended marriage, he made it clear he could never forgive her for getting herself raped! She and her actions (his words) had deprived him of his right to have a virgin wife!

There are thousands of stories like that. Authorities are not informed, parents are never told and the woman tries to pick up the pieces of her torn shattered life and go forward with as much dignity as she can. God help her if she gets pregnant – often an illegal abortion is then seen as the only way out. If she is foolish enough to ask for help, she will be blamed, have her reputation tarnished and nothing will happen to the rapist. We are a culture that too often smiles and turns a blind eye to the antics of young men – boys will be boys.

The Abia State Governor at first denied the rape took place, said they could not be Abia State univeristy students, then ordered the state police to drop the investigation because in his words “the alleged victim had not reported the case!” Hmmmm, one wonders why a traumatised victim of a brutal gang-rape might not be in a fit state to come forward?? Fortunately the Nigerian Federal Government was shamed by 1000’s of ordinary dogged Nigerians on Social Networks who tracked down and identified a few of the men in the video. 3 of the alleged perpetrators have now been arrested and the alleged victim has also been located.

I see hope for my country. It gladdens my heart to see how ordinary decent men and women have stood up to say ‘THIS IS WRONG’.  It is a shame it has taken this shocking outrage to shock us out of our collective tupor. May we learn to ALWAYS condemn and speak against the evil thing that is rape. May GOD comfort and heal the victim mind and emotions.


This a post I have chosen to re-post for The Girl Effect. Rape is an evil that many African societies try not to mention and sweep under the carpet. Rapists are rarely ever charged and the victim is usually blamed. 

The Girl Effect seeks to empower society by changing the lives of girls -

Interested in blogging and being part of The Girl Effect?


michael said...

Our value system as a society has gone to the dogs.

we have modified and more efficient ways to justify wrong actions. For instance the Nigerian police at check points now give codes to drivers to ensure that when the drivers give bribes once they would not be asked for another on the same route on a particular day.

I believe that the time for change is coming soon and that we are the change needed for this country. I just pray God to give us a strong voice that cannot be ignored.

Noir said...

Hi Michael, thank you so much for dropping by.

I totally agree with your succinct summary.

Change is coming - may we all strive to be part of GOD's change. :-)

Anonymous said...

When i heard the news,i weep my heart out(imagine,a guy like me crying).i thought it was a flim. . .i kept asking myself 'did it happen?noir, i would like to see the video.please

Noir said...

Hi Anonymous,

Thank you very much for dropping by. It was such an awful story which has touched everyone is different ways.

I do not have a link to the video on this site and indeed REFUSE to watch the video myself. I really don't want to have the image of a person being brutalised by 5 others stuck in my mind.

If you want a link to the video however, you can google it and click on one the links.

Take care and hope to have you drop in again. x

john obienu said...

We as a people should all turn to God, to repair our value system, which has been eroded by corruption.

Noir said...

Hi John, thanks for dropping by.

I really couldn't agree more! x