According to UNICEF data, 1 in 4 Nigerian girls are s€xually assaulted before the age of 18. Despite an increase in activism, justice is rare: Nigeria, a country of 206 million people, had just 32 rape convictions between 2019 and 2020, according to data from Nigeria’s national anti-trafficking agency. In that environment, some survivors find it more effective to name and shame rapists online than report to police. In recent years, Nigerians have used hashtags to openly name abusers, such as #ArewaMeToo—in the Hausa language, Arewa refers to the north—and #WeAreTired.
Generally, people think that most rape victims brought the experience on themselves, that they caused it somehow. People are always looking for loopholes in the story. Rape activists believe that anonymity would protect [survivors] from stigma and further retaliation.
God’stime Okon was arrested by Niger state police command for allegedly raping an 11-year-old girl. The Okadaman identified as God’stime Okon allegedly lured the suspect to his room where he forcefully had carnal knowledge of her while warning her against informing anyone. The incident occurred sometime on July 17, 2018. Okon had engaged in rape of minors for many years before he was apprehended. The suspect confessed that he was attracted to underage girls, saying he found it difficult to exercise self-control.
“It has become part of me; anytime I set my eyes on small beautiful girls, I got aroused and it has been affecting me adversely. Even If I am on a bike, I will stop and say hello to the girl before I continue on my way and it’s something I cannot control, honestly,” he said.
The suspect said that he did not regard it as a criminal act until he found himself in police custody. Okon however, regretted his action and begged the girl’s parents for forgiveness, promising to turn a new leaf.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Muhammad Abubakar, said the suspect had confessed to the crime during interrogation. Abubakar admonished parents to always know the whereabouts of their children especially girls to protect them from s€xual predators.
He added that the suspect would be charged to court after investigation.
Apart from facing lawsuits, women who accuse men of rape in Nigeria are themselves defamed—labeled as liars, sluts, or other derogatory names online—discouraging others from coming forward. There are hostile comments about the woman which reflects a culture of blame, showing how Nigerian women are judged based on lifestyle choices when they are raped. As a result, it is still difficult to get justice in Nigeria for rape cases.
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