By - Adedoyin Shittu
The story of Ochanya Elizabeth Ogbanje, a 13 year old girl, who died few weeks ago after battling Vesico-vaginal fistula (VVF) and other health challenges for over 5 months, sparked outrage from the public and concerned Nigerians who are seeking for justice for the death of the innocent girl.
Ochanya went to live with her aunty, Mrs Felicia Ogbuja, at the age of 5. At the tender age of 8, in 2013, she was turned to a sex machine by the Aunty husband, 51 years old Mr Andrew Ogbuja, and his son, Victor Ogbuja.
Her ordeal started when the guardian son, Victor, raped her in 2013. As a mode of operation for rapist, he warned her never to disclose the incidence to anyone. The rape continued for a long time as he forcefully had intercourse with her from 2013 -2015 until he was caught by his sister.
The sister of the rapist dutifully reported the matter to the father, thinking justice will be served. Instead the father took the molestation a notch further by abusing the little girl both from the vagina and the anus.
Reports said she was regularly drugged, abused, molested and raped. Doctors also confirmed that there had been forced penetration in both her private part and anus.
Sad Indeed; it was reported that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 10 boys suffer from sexual violence in Nigeria. And the disturbing part of the whole story is that victims as young as three months old are recorded. Last year, it was reported that, a Kano based businessman was arrested for raping a six months old baby with the support of his wife. Another story reported a 55 years old man who was arrested for defiling his 7 month old step daughter in Katsina. It was also reported that a three men gang, raped a one year old one after the other in Katsina.
These stories are just too common in the News and it makes one wonder; what exactly is wrong with our society. Why are victims of rape getting younger?
It should be mentioned that not only is the girl folk a victim of sexual violence but there have been a rise in rape against the boy child too. The society does not buy that a boy can be a victim of sexual violence but it was reported by “allafrica.com” that 1 in 4 boys are survivors of rape and sexual violence.
Rape is an undignified act; an act against humanity, no one should be raped whether old or young, man or woman, single or married, black or white, but especially not the defenceless children either boy or girl. No one deserves to be raped.
Mostly, the perpetrators of this evil acts are someone the child knows and the violence often takes place where the child should be safe. The vast majority of children never speak out and those bold enough to speak out are hushed into silence and submission.
This defiant is not peculiar to Nigeria but it is a worldwide problem, a video was circulating the net some few weeks back of a white man sexually molesting a 9 month old boy while the little boy cried out in pain.
South Africa, another country that is plagued with rape is known to have one of the highest rates of sexual violence in the world. South Africa also has some of the highest incidences of child and infant rape in the world. More worrisome is the news that out of 124,526 total rape cases reported in the last 3 financial years, 41% of the rape cases are committed against children. In the same time period, 2,600 children were also murdered. That amount to 5% of the total numbers across the country. Children are becoming soft targets for criminals.
According to the DA Shadow Minister of Police, Zakhele Mbhele; “at least 46 children are raped every day and at least two children are murdered every single day in South Africa. Only 21% of child rape cases and only one in three murder cases resulted in successful conviction.” Every three minutes, a child under the age of 7 years was raped in South Africa
Mbhele further said that, “the horrific brutality with which these children were murdered is also frightening. Weapons used include; firearms, axes, spades, pangas, hammers, belts and poison. Many of these children were practically butchered to death”.
In 2002, an 8 month old infant was reported to be gang raped by four able bodied men. Sickening right?
Unfortunately; rape, abuse and murder has become an unfortunate reality in South Africa and over the years, it has affected the old and young, black and white, men and women.
Sadly we live in a society that teaches “don’t get raped” rather than “don’t rape”. Below are some ways we can safeguard children from sexual predators.
If you suspect abuse of any child, be it your child, neighbour child, your students or even a strange child on the street; please take action and report to the necessary office for proper investigation and action. If we do not act now on sexual violence unleashed on our children, we may unwittingly be breeding an angry, psychologically, traumatised, wayward and rebellious generation.
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