Updated: May 13, 2020
This week, we are exploring the issue of rape, and more specifically, the culture of silence among rape victims.
According to a UN Women report, "Approximately 15 million adolescent girls (aged 15 to 19) worldwide have experienced forced sex (forced sexual intercourse or other sexual acts) at some point in their life. In the vast majority of countries, adolescent girls are most at risk of forced sex by a current/former husband, partner or boyfriend. Based on data from 30 countries, only one per cent ever sought professional help"
The data on rape and domestic violence is saddening. It glaringly points out the gaps that still exist in global and national policies and interventions to address the protection of women and young girls from sexual violence. Everyday, a girl is raped and lives in silence and fear of the predator(s) who attacked her. Most girls credit this culture of silence to fear that the authorities and/or members of society who they report to would invalidate their claims and place the blame back on them instead of investigating the case without bias. Other women identify the stigma that comes from being identified as a rape victim as one valid reason to not speak up.
Resulting from this culture of silence, more and more sexual predators are abusing young girls and women and going scot-free, leaving these young girls to die in silence, living with the shame. Shame that should be carried by these sexual offenders.
Investigating further into this culture of silence among rape victims, we hit the streets to speak to some real-life survivors of rape, to find out why they refused or still refuse to speak up against the sexual predators who abused them. Here are a few of the most intriguing stories we gathered:
My parents are pastors. If they found out I was raped they would say it was because I was “following men”. I am so traumatized and frustrated. I just want justice! But, who do I run to?
He is one of my bosses at work. If I speak up against him, I will go through a lot of interrogation to validate my claims. That would be followed by everyone having their own opinions about what transpired. “Why did she go to his house?”, “She knew what she was doing.” It is bad enough I have to live with the memory of being raped, I don’t want to add the stigma from speaking up to this.
To what end? It’s not like he is going to be arrested or put in prison. Everyone is just going to create a lot of drama around it, and then once the dust dies down, everyone will calm down and he will still go free, but people will begin to look at me funny.
I just want justice. I want him to pay for what he did to me. But we all know there is no justice for women who get raped in this country. It is just sad.
Are you or anyone you know staying silent on a case of rape or sexual violence? Speak up about it! Reach out any of the following centers helping women who have faced sexual violence:
Project Alert on Violence Against Women
17/21 Akinsanya Street off Isheri Road,
Telephone: 234-1-8209387; 08052004698; 08180091072
26 Bamenda Street, Off Abidjan Street, Wuse Zone 3
Media Concern Initiative
15A Bolodeoku Crescent, Dideolu Estate
By Sweet Sensation, Ijaiye Road,
Tel: 01-8944915, 08058208164
The Sexual Assault Referral Centre
Department of Family Medicine
Lagos State University Teaching Hospital
Ikeja-Lagos Tel: 08056268573
Office of the Public Defender
Lagos State Ministry of Justice
2/8 Iyun Street (Barracks Bus-stop)
By National Stadium
Lagos State Ministry of Women Affairs
Lagos State Secretariat, Alausa-Ikeja
Child Abuse Help Lines: 08085753932, 08102678442
Women Empowerment and Legal Aid
25, Adekunle Fajuyi Way,
GRA Ikeja, Lagos.
08021063232, 08120799122, 08058143602
Women Advocate Research and Documentation Centre, WARDC
9B James Oluleye Crescent
Off Adeniyi Jones Street, Ikeja-Lagos
Domestic And Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT), Lagos State.
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hotlines: 112 , 08056268573 , 07080601080 , 08085754226 , 07032165181, 08137960048.
Where to report: Police Stations with Special Family Units
Adeniji Adele – 0810-498-2245
Isokoko – 08081774694
Ilupeju – 08033137432
Panti – 0807-440-8863
Office of the Public Defender – 0708-0601-080
Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation – 0808-575-4226
Ministry of Justice – 0703-837-9705
Your voice may save the next girl’s life.