The entire world at this point must be saturated with horrid and heartbreaking rape stories.
Rape means taking sexual advantage of a person without their consent. Be it within a marital union, a romantic relationship or just random acquaintance or a plain stranger, once a person engages another in a sexual activity against their will, rape has occurred.
It is usually a crime against the woman. But in our time we have discovered men can as well be victims even though in the minority.
Rape may be physically forceful or come in somewhat subtle forms.
Generally speaking, rape victims in Africa and beyond find it hard to speak up for fear of stigmatization and what may be perceived as cultural devaluation.
The African setting has a way of centralizing a woman’s dignity between her legs. While it may be arguable in the present world, it goes a long way to stress the essence of sexual decency in the life of the woman.
In the Libyan culture too, rape victims are a symbol of shame for their families and communities. They are likely to face other violent attacks which includes ‘honor killings’.
So when that “honor” is damaged through rape especially, it takes a toll on both the physical and mental well-being of the victim.
Some may be fortunate enough to seek medical and psychological help after the ordeal but some others may not. There have been cases where female victims committed suicide because they felt ashamed of themselves and did not know how to reach out to seek help.
The continent’s data base is unfortunately not helping matters. This is partially because as mentioned earlier, victims are too ashamed to come to terms with the incident. As a result not all cases are actually reported and documented by the police.
Ghana’s rape statistics says that 8% of women have reported being raped by a man in their lifetimes while 5% of the men have reported to have raped a wife or girlfriend.
Countries like Ethiopia, South Africa and DR Congo have disturbing rape statistics.
Wikipedia says there are about 200,000 surviving rape victims DR Congo with about 400, 000 raped annually.
Another reason why there is lesser documentation of rape stories is that most countries have not officially criminalized the act.
In Egypt for instance, rape is illegal in but funny enough marital rape is not a criminal offense. On the other hand, rape is illegal in Burundi. The African nation took a step further to criminalize Marital rape in 2009.
Maybe being legally lapse towards race makes it look as though sexual violence is taking a path to normalcy. No week goes by and you do not come across at least one rape story.
These days new born babies, toddlers and children are sexually violated. By who? you may ask. Aliens? Not at all, rape crimes are often committed by unsuspected persons, close friends, harmless neighbors, superiors, church members and even relatives. Some other times, they may be strangers too.
Regardless of the relationship with the criminal, the effect of the crime and its aftermath can never be quantified or underestimated.
Amnesty International investigated some rape stories in Nigeria to discover that female detainees and suspects were raped by police officials. The human right agency noted that the police claimed to use rape to get the truth from their female suspects.
In some other places around the world, gay persons have been violated. In this case it is tagged “corrective rape”. Need we say there is nothing corrective about rape. It destroys people, their self-esteem and their dreams.
With the gradually growing sensitization, some victims have grown to become more vocal than they used to be in the African society.
This week alone these 2 rape stories made headlines.
After 3 months of being raped, an unnamed 50-year old woman from Cape Town managed to work with the police to apprehend her attackers.
The woman had gone up to the peak of the famous SA Table Mountain to pray. While she was at it she was attacked by 3 men. Sowetan Live reports that “she was raped and robbed at knifepoint”.
Captain CJ van Romburgh‚ lead investigator in the case said:
“The first suspect is fairly tall‚ muscular and is brown in complexion. The second suspect is of medium height and build and is also brown in complexion‚”
“She has gone there many times before to pray. A lot of people go to the mountain to pray‚ it’s away from everything‚”
“It took time to compile an identikit‚ because she is obviously traumatized‚”
The police has urged anyone with helpful information to reach the police immediately.
A man identified as Muhammad al-Maghrabi was convicted of raping and murdering a 3-year-old girl in Yemen. On Monday, the 41-year old man was publicly executed in the Yemeni capital Sanaa.
Before hundreds of people, Muhammad al-Maghrabi was shot severally. His executio was in line with the Sharia Law.
South Sudan (2015)
2 years ago Aljazeera covered the story of a 50-year-old woman from Bentiu, South Sudan. It was just one out of many rape stories from surviving South Sudan victims.
The woman first recalled how peaceful their communities were before the civil war broke out.
She lost her husband and son to the cruelty of Sudanese soldiers. After that, she and her daughter were gang-raped by the soldiers whom says treated them “like animals”.
“If you opened your mouth, they would kill you.”