Sexual violence against women and girls in Nigeria is almost as rampant as fraudulent activities, if not more so. Perpetrators believe they can never be caught so they continue. Are they right to think so? Because, in most cases, it’s the word of the victim against theirs, assuming she speaks out in the first place! Fear cripples victims usually because their attackers leave them with a warning message – you speak, you die – hence they to keep shut. Besides, who would believe them?
From my standpoint, sexual violence, to be specific, rape are of two types – direct rape and indirect rape. I’ll tell you what I mean. Direct rape is the one we’ve all heard of. You know, the stranger and the unsuspecting girl; the lady in her home raped by hooligans after being robbed; the innocent little girl going on the street and the sex-crazed man who corners her, and so on. The indirect rape is one in which the lady in question is given no choice but to give in.
She is usually caught in between a rock and a hard place.
Cases where she has to make a decision between dropping out of the higher institution or allowing herself to be abused. We also have cases of verbal assault which is mostly trivialize in our society. All these constitute the disgusting acts of sexual violence.
Sexual violence is becoming even more rampant, and culprits keep going scot-free. This takes me back to the case of a little girl being sexually abused by her uncle and her adult male cousins. She kept mute because she felt no one would believe her. Besides, she has been warned of her death if she does speak out. There’s no one to help, nowhere to turn to, and so all she can do is suffer in silence. Sometimes, she is convinced her attackers that she’s the reason she’s being raped. They tell her she’s the cause of her misfortunes. “Why is she beautiful?” they say, “Why is she curvy? Why does she dress well?” What’s worse than being raped? Being told it was your fault!
Oh the torture of being unable to speak up for fear of being called a liar. If only there’s a way she could corroborate her story and expose the evil deed – an intervention she seeks.
It is amazing what forensics can do! It can tell the time period in which a crime was committed, linking suspects to crimes scenes. It provides evidence, damning enough to convict a culprit. Forensic intervention in cases of sexual violence usually involves acquiring and analyzing DNA samples from both victim and suspect(s). Forensic experts can tell when last a victim had sexual intercourse, as well as if it was forced entry or not. Forensic evidence acquired from victim and crime scene is analysed and compared with those acquired from suspect(s) to see whose head the crown will fit.
This is the intervention she seeks! This is the intervention she needs! It steers her on the path to recovery.
Pretty much all victims of sexual assaults blame themselves but with forensics they can now see otherwise. It gives them hope! Victims of sexual violence no longer have to fear being doubted and called a liar because the evidence speaks for itself.
Forensics is one very effective way to fish out perpetrators of sexual violence. Should it be encouraged in Nigeria, it would go a long way in making justice delivery easier and fairer. If predators think they can’t be stopped, let them think again because with forensics they will be exposed and duly punished!
Let the spread of fear cease!
By Abayomi Blessing