The Humanitarian Times’ concerns on increasing cases of child rape in Borno

By Abdulkareem Haruna

On Wednesday, September 13, the 2021, Borno state police command paraded 76 suspects involved in various high caliber crimes alleged to have been committed across the state. And ten of the suspects were accused of sexually violating minors between age 5 and 16. Pedophilic rape.

The offenders are all adults who are between aged 22 and 60.

Going by the number of paraded criminals, it goes to show that child raping constitute more than 10 percent of the capital crimes committed in Borno state‼

This is a very sad and disturbing trajectory that must be stopped because it now means that a child in Borno state no longer has a safe hands to run to for protection in times of trouble. If a grand father-like figure of over 60 years can lure a budding teenager qualified to be his grand child to unholy sex; if a  35 years old man can force himself on an underaged girl child that is young enough to be one is his kids at home;  if in Borno state, a 22 years old boy could force a 15 years old girl to have carnal knowledge with the help of his friend, then where lies the safety of a child in this fragile community that is gradually becoming so dysfunctional?

It is high time we all rose to the ugly situation and called out paedophiles in our midst. It is about time we stopped shielding the rapists in our midst  because they are our friends, family members, children or people in position of influence.

There is an extant law in Borno state that punishes violent sex offenders up to a jail term of life time. The Borno state penal code law 2004 prescribed punishment of 14 years. But a judge may use discretion to jail an offender for lesser term.

Despite the existence of this stringent laws, rape is still on the increase, and violation of underaged now a common place in Borno societies.

Many have blamed the increase on child sexual violation and other gender based violation on the weakness of the organs enforcing the laws. Some blamed it on societal and cultural influences where it is considered a shame and undignifying for a woman or parents of a child survivor to come out and said they have been raped.

But for how long will a crime as heinous as rape of a child be cossetted under the garb of culture and negative public perception?

A woman or a child who survived rape may be muzzled from crying just to save a family name, or some sought of dignity;  but doubted if family name or some excessively worrying over dignity would cure the survivor of the silent pains planted within.  No one lives with the psychological trauma that the survivors have to live with for the rest of their lives.

Children and young persons depression is one of the common health challenges people are dealing with today. Most of the depressed persons have something to do with one act of violation or the other especially the ones that happened in the past. Women and young girls, and even boys this day, who were suffering silently as a result of one sexual violation/abuse or the other, now pick up negative vices, like drugs, liquor abuse, prostitution, lesbianism simply because their past was injured by some uncontrolled and reckless penis bearer.

Though it is assumed that some pedophiles engage in the shameful act as an act of pleasure, or uncontrolled surge of sudden lust for sex, health experts have said that persons who involve in pedophilia may also be suffering from Pedophilic disorder, a mental health situation  characterized by recurring, intense sexually arousing fantasies, urges, or behavior involving children. 

It is said that Pedophiles may be attracted to young boys, young girls, or both, and they may be attracted only to children or to children and adults.

Doctors diagnose pedophilia when people feel greatly distressed or become less able to function well because of their attraction to children or when they have acted on their urges.

Treatment involves long-term psychotherapy and drugs that alter the sex drive and reduce testosterone levels. 

It is also said that Pedophilia is a form of paraphilia, because it causes harm to others, it is considered a disorder.

Pedophilia is much more common among men than among women.

Usually, the adult is known to the child and may be a family member, stepparent, or a person with authority (such as a teacher or coach). Some are attracted only to children within their own family.

According to MSD Manual, one of the trusted sites for medical information in the USA, Predatory pedophiles may use force or coercion to engage children sexually and may threaten to harm the child or the child’s pets if the child tells anyone. Many of these pedophiles have antisocial personality disorder.

Punitive laws, no matter how stringent, cannot on their tackle the problem of sex and gender-based violence. It requires a multilateral tackling to deal with it. From the survivor that is courageous to speak to the parents that are not ashamed to cry out, the police officer that is not in a haste to suggest settling out of court, to the lawyers that are willing to go pro bono until justice is served and the judge that is patient and keen to hear the case to its logical end, we all can put up a fierce fight against #Rape and other #SGBV in our society.

Let’s all #SayNoToRape.

Abdulkareem is the Editor in Chief of The Humanitarian Times

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