Abuja (Agenzia Fides) - "The increasing cases of the heinous crime of rape are frightening. The rape culture is as repulsive and reprehensible as it is dehumanizing", Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama of Abuja said Sunday, June 21. "Rape inflicts life-long untold psychological trauma on the victims. Rape is not only a grievously sinful act, but also a very barbaric and criminal act". "We hope that the perpetrators of such heinous crimes will face the full wrath of the law and hopefully, they will be reformed and delivered of the bad spirit that leads them to commit such horrible sexual crimes", he added.
"The crimes of sexual abuse offend Our Lord, cause physical, psychological and spiritual damage to the victims and harm the community of the faithful", said Mgr. Kaigama who called on Nigerians, especially "Christians to help restore our sick world that has lost the sense of sin".
Rape cases against women in Africa’s most populous country have been on the increase in recent weeks, leading to a number of Nigerian protesters taking to the streets and using social media under #WeAreTired to demand for urgent action and justice for victims.
Between May 28 and June 1, two college students, Uwaila Vera Omozuwa (22) and Barakat Bello (18) were raped and killed in separate incidents.
"The rape and deaths of these girls are not random incidents, but are the culmination of unhealthy cultural practices", the Women Against Rape group in Nigeria said in a petition presented to parliament.
Many Nigerians criticize the judicial system which, according to them, makes it difficult to convict men accused of rape and instead overturns infamous accusations about the victims of sexual violence. In In Nigeria, some victims and their families, fear stigma, extortion by the police and lack of trust in the judicial process, and therefore choose not to report cases to the authorities.
In 2019 in the federal capital Abuja, some women who were arrested during a police raid, accused officers of raping them. Data on the number of reported cases are very limited, but a national survey on violence against children in Nigeria, conducted in 2014, found that one in four women experienced sexual violence in childhood.
Governors in the 36 states of Nigeria have also declared a state of emergency over rape and other gender-based violence against women and children in the West African country. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 24/6/2020)