We Need Sexual Assault To Be a More Overt Topic of Discussion in Nigeria

Unsafe and uncertain are two things a woman is guaranteed to feel throughout her lifetime. The scars of sexual assault and rape is one which is not emphasized upon as often as should; the lifetime emotional trauma that comes with being violated, stripped of your humanness simply to fulfill the pleasure and ego of the man.

The #MeToo movement, a prominent and essential action that gained ground and continues to take place on social media has allowed women to have a voice where men don’t hold the microphone. More women in Nigeria are beginning to speak up but not enough men are getting punished. The average Nigerian woman cannot walk the street without being touched on without consent or violated. The average woman is taught by her mother and father to not go out alone and not be out late; the average Nigerian woman has experienced assault from uncles, teachers, and professors, and very often fathers and therefore avoids being alone with men; the average Nigerian woman is skeptical about what drinks/food she collects from men because there’s a high chance she will be drugged and raped, the average Nigerian woman fears to be in private spaces with men so, therefore, she makes a habit of sending her location to her friends just ‘incase’. The severity of sexual assault and rape is one that is never emphasized on or brushed under the carpet when spoken about, the victims are again and again questioned on what they wore and where they were at night; being told that they made the wrong decisions and are at blame but not the rapist, never the rapist because evidently, “a man will always be a man”.

One in four women experience sexual assault before the age of 18 and only 38% of the women seek help and as little as 5% get it. To add to the ridiculousness, the official age of consent in Nigeria is 11 years old which means an 11-year-old child whether male or female is considered eligible to consent to sex and other sexual activities. Thirdly, the child’s rights act, and not even the constitution, which was passed in 2003 states the official marriage age to be 18 but only 23 of the 36 states in Nigeria has embraced this act. Evidently, women in the country are exposed to harm and there is absolutely no law to protect them and even if there was; the corruption and patriarchal culture of the country does not allow for justice.

Sexual Assault

To make this clear; women are angry, and women have always been angry because they have always been overlooked in Nigerian culture. Women are never to speak when a man is speaking; their lives are written and chosen for them and they are limited to whatever bogus the culture teaches. As a woman your place is inherently in the home and more specifically in the kitchen, you’re not supposed to speak too much because you most likely will be considered indecent, you shouldn’t aspire too high because job positions are meant for men; and God forbid you are a victim of rape; because you should be grateful a man even found you remotely appealing. Misogyny and male superiority are one of the biggest structural issues plaguing Nigeria and it is safe to say the country will never move forward if nothing is done.

Nigerian Universities exhibit blatant examples of the evil acts of men. Lecturers seeking sexual favors from their female students in turn for a good grade, and the student being failed if denied. And in other situations, girls being victims of rape and sexual assault from both students and staff; it seems that women and girls literally have no place for safety in the world. Here we are with several reputable education houses, enriched with future leaders producing rapists and victims of rape. It is clear to us that the Nigerian government has an almost non-existent executive system; abusers and rapists are hardly ever prosecuted and it is sad to know that smaller establishments like universities will rather prioritize on shaming individuals who engage in consensual sex or individual’s style & sexual preferences that is utterly of no concern to them.

In 2006, a professor in UNILAG named Professor Louis Egwari was accused by two students of sexual assault one of which stated that she had only gone to him for a problem regarding her coursework but was stunned when he stepped over whilst touching her insisting that she was very beautiful. Of the same university was another allegation against an English professor; Olusegun Awonusi who was accused by an unidentified student for harassing her in his office, following this allegation the student released nude pictures of the lecturer in his office but unfortunately the investigation has been delayed as the student did not come out.

Monica Osagie, a master’s student from the Obafemi Awolowo University was another victim; her professor gave her the option to either sleep with him or fail the class. Monica who knew there was a low chance that she would be believed over her professor took it upon herself to audio record her conversation with the professor;

“Is it not five we agreed? Our agreement is five,”

Is it B that you want to give me or A? Why would it be five times you will knack me? Prof, you know what? Let me fail it. I can’t do it five times.”

A spokesperson from the university verified that the voice in the recording is that of an accounting professor, Richard Akindele. Monica during her interview with CNN, spoke about the backlash she had been receiving from the public; being referred to as a prostitute or husband snatcher. It is repulsive to hear that even with evidence women are still to blame for the incompetence of men.

Very recently, news broke out on Twitter of a situation in Afe Babalola University of a 100-level student who was a victim of rape. The story goes beyond that and has several twists to it. Initial claims were that the girl was raped in a bush during the night by 3 male students, and after being noticed by campus security she expressed her predicament. Shortly after, several students from the university that knew of this took to Twitter to express their anger and pain; they shared the story including that the school was purposely covering it up in order to protect their names. The news went viral and to our surprise apologies from the students surfaced; the students apologized for the spreading of false news about the institution.

The public’s response is what was most interesting about the situation, young adults and close friends on Twitter insisted that the apologies were false, going on to say that they were forced and threatened hence the apologies, and this makes more sense for most of us. Identities of the victim and her abusers were not disclosed and the story since then has been swept under the carpet. This is common to most Nigerian universities hence the reason most victims are afraid to come out; the shame, insults, and lack of protection on their path make it safer to stay quiet. But you know what? Enough is enough.

I encourage more women to speak up to platforms like More Branches that champion progressive narratives and the importance of the female voice. Sharing our stories will make one less woman feel abnormal because of another’s shameful actions.

For more abuse or sexual assault stories contact more branches via Twitter DMs or email, and if you wish to speak more personally; +1 401-301-7296. Identities will be treated as requested.


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