By Prince A.S. Abimbola
Having read the news and articles in respect of the rape and deaths of Vera Uwaila and Barakat Bello in quick succession, I firmly believe that we need to look beyond the ends of law and law enforcement on this scourge. Rape is enough of a problem to be dealt with needless to say when murder is added. The issue of rape (and murder) has become a societal scourge that must be dealt with as a sociological matter.
To my mind I should say materials that influence the mind of our youth abound everywhere these days. The ease with which the youth can access pornography at the click of a button is alarming. Well, you could say I am of the old school, but I believe soft porn is everywhere in these age and time. They abound in musical videos, in movies, in reality shows and even in some advertisements.
When the easy access to pornography is infused with idleness, the result is what we are seeing. We need to step up on the law against obscene publications with drastic measures. We need to ensure that our youths are positively and productively engaged. Whilst I am not stating by any stretch of imagination that rape is exclusive to the youth, it is more in that tier of age group and on the rise too. To make the case worse, the cruel act now ends in loss of life.
There are so many refined herbal products these days that enhances sexual prowess and they advertise same by words that encourage sexual pleasure with aggression. Go out there and see the labels of some of the products (some not so herbal); it only shows sex and power. When sex is seen everywhere with power or synonymous with same instead of with love and affection, the things we are seeing today are bound to happen.
Much more than the above, it appears to me that the disposition to rapists in our society encourages the cruel act or at least does not deter the act enough. We do not stigmatize the perpetrators enough; rather we stigmatize the victims. Perhaps the use of sexual offenders’ registers should be given a new phase of life. I am aware that at some time in the past, the Lagos State Government commenced the use of sexual offenders’ register. I do not know at the moment whether same is still been used. If it is still in use, there should be regular publication of same so that intending rapists can see that it is a stigma of a lifetime.
Landlords and employers should be compelled as a matter of labour law obligations to know and demand the sexual offence history of prospective tenants and employees respectively.
The scourge of rape and other sexual offences is what we must all join hands to crush totally.