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Underreporting of sexual assaults in Nigeria

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By Abdulwasiu Usman

Hanan Buhari denounced underreporting of rape cases in Nigeria.

Rape and sexual assault remain controversial issues, with very few victims reporting experiences mainly due to the myriad of societal perceptions, fear of revictimization, distortion of allegations, and psychological and physical residuals of the experience. Underreporting of rape cases and gender-based violence cases in the country is one of the most persistent instances in law enforcement in Nigeria, despite the increasing prevalence of activists. Mrs. Hanan Buhari, daughter of President Muhammadu Buhari, denounced underreporting rape cases as she speaks at the inauguration of the Hanan Buhari Foundation.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the event, which was held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa in Abuja, welcomed several top government dignitaries, and traditional rulers, among others. Mrs. Buhari asserts that this is the right moment to talk about the act of raping in Nigeria, which she noted has been embedded and permitted to prevail and hindering women’s rights. She added that the offence, which had always been shrouded in secrecy due to ingrained patriarchal sex stereotypes, and structural and systemic oppression women face, among others, must be stopped.

Despite the passage of legislation, reported cases are on the increase.

According to a report, rape incidents for women and girls have increased from 63% in 2015 to 72.1 % in 2016 and 69.3 % in 2017. Only 32 incidents were recorded between 2019 and 2020, according to statistics from Nigeria’s National Anti-Trafficking Agency, due to fear of stigmatization. Furthermore, in the first four months of 2022, around 335 people in Nigeria faced various types of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV), including sexual assault, physical violence, and spousal abuse.

Even more so now that more women are finding the strength to speak up about their victimization, there is a clear and present need to stand up and shatter this silence that persists. Human rights protection and a reliable legal system are essential if women and children are to enjoy a life free from violence. Despite the passage of legislation like the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act (VAPP) 2015 and the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Laws in several states in Nigeria, the number of reported cases is on the increase.

Incessant campaigns prompted enactment of additional legislation.

In many instances, the legislation has not been implemented in a way that accomplishes its goal of preventing rape and other types of sexual assault. Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, applauded the foundation’s work in organizing the event, stressing that appropriate measures must be developed to eliminate the violent conduct. He continued by saying that individuals responsible for this kind of crime should be penalized severely to serve as an example to others.

Mr. Mustapha also urged that parents and guardians indoctrinate their female children to be circumspect of suspicious acts. The Minister for Women’s Affairs, Pauline Tallen, shared this view, saying that victims of gender-based violence need to be given a voice and supported while they seek justice. He further explains that incessant campaigns on the cases prompted the enactment of additional child rights legislation, bringing the total number of such laws from 12 to 34 since she came to office.

Government has reduced sexual assault funding.

The appallingly high rates of sexual assault against women and children in Nigeria are a blot on the country’s otherwise impeccable record as a civilized society. The provision set aside for rape and sexual assault incidents to aid in the tracking and rehabilitation of survivors in the 2022 budget has recently been reduced by 49%, compared to the provision for the same purpose in the 2021 budget of the Nigerian government, which it said performed above 83%.


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Godsewill Ifeanyi
Godsewill Ifeanyi
1 year ago

Both rape and sexual assault continue to be contentious topics, with very few victims reporting their experiences, mostly because to the diverse ways in which society perceives these topics.

Last edited 1 year ago by Godsewill Ifeanyi
Hassan Isa
Hassan Isa
1 year ago

Now was the time to bring up the issue of rape in Nigeria, which she said was institutionalized, allowed to thrive, and ultimately worked to undermine women’s rights.

jdpumping
jdpumping
1 year ago

People are afraid of reporting sexual assault or rape because of the stigmatization and how the society tends to support the perpetrators of the crime and end up castigating the one such was committed against,kudos to Ngo and other relevant organization lending their voices to all these.

Chibuzor
Chibuzor
1 year ago

There has always been a need to speak out, but now, as more women are finding their voices, the time is especially ripe to do so.

Kazeem1
Kazeem1
1 year ago

Despite the growing number of advocates, underreporting of rape and other forms of gender-based violence remains a serious problem for Nigerian law enforcement.

Taiwoo
Taiwoo
1 year ago

The legislation has not been implemented in a manner that, in many cases, achieves the goal of preventing rape and other types of sexual assault. This is the primary objective of the legislation.

Nwachukwu Kingsley
Nwachukwu Kingsley
1 year ago

The individuals who are responsible for committing crimes of this nature should be severely punished in order to set a good example for others.

Nwachukwu Kingsley
Nwachukwu Kingsley
1 year ago

GRAF activities need to be revived in a number of states so that older people can continue to age in a way that is physically, mentally, and spiritually healthy.

Abusi
Abusi
1 year ago

We should be able to report every form of sexual assaults. A lot of people, especially women are being sexually harassed daily. It is a crime and culprits culpable should be incarcerated.

Adesanyaj72
Adesanyaj72
1 year ago

Constant efforts on the instances led to the passage of more child rights legislation, increasing the total number of laws protecting children to its current level since she took office.

Tolaniiii
Tolaniiii
1 year ago

In many instances, the Act has not been administered in a way that accomplishes its intended purpose of reducing the prevalence of rape and other sexual assaults. This is the legislation’s major goal.

Christiana
Christiana
1 year ago

The people who are responsible for perpetrating crimes of this sort should be severely punished so that others might learn from their actions and not follow in their footsteps.

theApr
theApr
1 year ago

Over the years, there has been numerous cases of sexual assault. Unfortunately the justice system don seem harsh enough to the perpetuators. Cos there has no been any significant reduction in the trend.

Adeolastan
Adeolastan
1 year ago

Under report of sexual assort is mainly cause by the society we find ourselves because most time people refuse to say or report it for fear of what will come out after from the society.

Ultra0711
Ultra0711
1 year ago

Rape case victim should be protected with adequate law and regulations as well as penalizing the perpetrators judiciously.

Remi1
Remi1
1 year ago

These sexual assault cases have not experienced a drastic reduction. We keep hearing it happen from timr to time. Victims should be encouraged to speak out and let’s endeavor to stop the stigmatization. It just makes these victims abandoned in their pool of trauma

Bola12
Bola12
1 year ago

It has been necessary for there to be a voice for as long as there has been a need, but now, when more women are discovering their voices, the moment is particularly opportune to do so.

Tonerol10
Tonerol10
1 year ago

Underreporting of sexual assaults in Nigeria. stigmatization really discouraged a lot of them. Speaking out sometime means facing public shame

Iyanu12345ogg
Iyanu12345ogg
1 year ago

It is a crime and culprits culpable should be incarcerated. A lot of people, especially women are being sexually harassed daily.

SarahDiv
SarahDiv
1 year ago

I stand to disagree with Hanan Buhari denouncement of underreporting of rape case s in Nigeria. There are several cases due to victimization and stigmatization that were not reported. Gender-based violence that were not reported.

DimOla
DimOla
1 year ago

Sexual abuse and gender violence is on the increase and can never be denied. More women are coming out to account of their experiences in their matrimony homes and women who are sexually assault are now speaking up due to awareness and women empowerment programs.

Haykaylyon26
Haykaylyon26
1 year ago

People are been experience sexual assault special woman there are most victim of the issue and this kind of issue is rising not reducing at all we have to find a way to reduce it and save life