Child Sexual Molestation | Are All Men Potential Rapists?

Rape and child molestation has been on the trend for a while. I recollect that before the lockdown, there were major predictions that the cases of rape and abuse will spike! As at the time of writing this, Nigeria has declared rape issues an emergency because it has tripled since the lockdown.

Another lockdown is being envisaged and this means we may be close to getting even more used to the news of rape and molestation. It is worrisome. We can only deal with the few we can but a majority of these cases come and go unnoticed.

I want to particularly write about child molestation especially with regards to the growing concerns of women in particular. There is a high level of distrust going on at the moment and at some point, it seems to be gearing towards gender-war.

First, let’s understand what rape is according to Nigerian law. Let’s see how the law interprets it.

  1. Criminal Code (CC): Under the CC (applicable in all Southern States), rape is when any person has sexual intercourse with a woman or girl, without her consent, or incorrectly obtained consent.

Consent can be incorrectly obtained where it is obtained:

  • By force/threat/intimidation
  • By means of false and fraudulent representation as to the nature of the act,
  • By a person impersonating a married woman’s husband in order to have sex

Under the CC, sexual intercourse with underage girls or people with the unsound mind is the offence of defilement, and so technically a person could be charged for rape and defilement.

  1. Penal Code (PC): Under the PC (applicable in the Nothern States), rape is when a man has sexual intercourse with a woman against her will, without her consent, or with incorrectly obtained consent.

Consent can be incorrectly obtained where it is obtained:

  • By putting her in fear of death or hurt
  • By a person impersonating a married woman’s husband in order to have sex

Further under the PC, sex with a girl under 14 years of age or who is of unsound mind is rape, irrespective of whether there is consent.

  1. Criminal Laws of Lagos (CLL): Under the CLL (applicable in Lagos), rape is when a man has sexual intercourse with a woman or girl without her consent, or with incorrectly obtained consent.

Consent can be incorrectly obtained where it is obtained:

  • By force, impersonation threat or intimidation of any kind,
  • By means of false and fraudulent representation as to the nature of the act,
  1. Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act (VAPPA): The VAPPA (applicable on in Abuja) defines rape as when a person intentionally penetrates the vagina, anus or mouth of another person with any other part of his/her body or anything else without consent, or with incorrectly obtained consent.

Consent can be incorrectly obtained where it is obtained:

  • By force/threats/intimidation
  • By means of false and fraudulent representation as to the nature of the act,
  • By the use of substances capable of taking away the will of that person
  • By a person impersonating a married woman’s husband in order to have sex

The Nigerian constitution defines rape in such a way that it is a gender-crime. According to Nigerian law, male folks cannot be raped. Should this change? That is left for the Nigerian lawmakers to understand the dynamics and make changes where possible.

However, the Child right act covers children regardless of gender but not the male folks in general. Let’s see:

  1. Child Rights Act (CRA): The CRA provides that sex with a child is rape, and anyone who has sexual intercourse with a child is liable to imprisonment for life upon conviction.

Are all men potential rapists until proven otherwise?

We live in a sexually perverted world where our kids are not safe anymore. We’ve seen the case of a father rape his daughter, we’ve seen the case of an Uncle rape his niece to death. I have personally been involved in a case where the father has been raping his daughters from childhood to teenage age and they are scared of opening up.

Till date, nothing was done because they couldn’t open up, they couldn’t comply to bring evidence. Their father had sworn to kill them if they do. So, they go about hiding from their father. Both admitted they had done several abortions for their father.

These realities keep getting some people paranoid. Would you blame them? Not entirely. I can only encourage them that there is a better way to handle it.

Back to the question. Are all men potential rapist until proven otherwise?

Just because there are lots of scammers doesn’t make everyone a scammer and in the same way, just because there have been several reports of rape doesn’t make all men rapists.

Having said that, is it not out of place for parents to watch out for their kids even in the hands of close relatives?

I said earlier that we live in a sexually perverted world. You don’t have to wait till you become a victim before you can start protecting your children, you don’t have to wait for someone to prove he is a rapist before you can start doing something.

  • Have conversations with your kids.
  • Withhold nothing from them.
  • Earn their trust by being sincerely open.
  • Always be on the lookout.

Can you trust your kids in the hands of close relatives?

Most female friends who reported rape or near-rape experience pointed fingers at Uncles and Cousins. The male counterparts pointed fingers at Aunts and House Helps. In this regard, I’d say it should be a matter of trust.

Some trusted their kids in the hands of the relatives and the worst happened, some did and the best happened. Don’t trust your kids in the hands of your relatives just because they are your relatives, do it only when you trust them. If your instincts don’t accept it, then obey your instincts except you’ve trained your instincts to live in perpetual fear.

For example, I trust my siblings so much and my only fear when leaving my kids with them may be that they will over pamper them! Depending on the kind of family you come from, your concerns may be valid.

  • In most cases, child abuse doesn’t just happen like that! The perpetrators often take time to build their way and if you are very open and sincere with your kids you’ll know when these changes start happening.
  • Most abused children are neglected children. Don’t be too busy for your kids, don’t leave them at the mercies of another. If you can’t take care of kids, don’t have one.
  • Most women whose husbands’ abused their daughters admitted that they noticed some weird things but couldn’t place it. Some even suspected but couldn’t just believe it would be possible. This is also neglect! When you are close to your kids, you’ll notice when things are changing.

Boys or Girls, who are safe?

No one is safe. Boys are also sexually abused and if you have a homosexual predator around, your boys may victims of rape. While 1 in every 3 girls are abused, out of every 10 cases of abuse, one is likely to be male. No one deserves better attention at the expense of another.

  • Teach your kids to watch one another’s back.
  • Teach them to respect one another.
  • Treat them equally.
  • Don’t interfere in their bonding.

Parents should create an environment of safety at home. Kids should feel safe at home! If you have a problem trusting people around your kids, don’t bring them home. If you have fears about people that you can’t keep away, seek professional help.

Should the girl child be entrusted in the hands of their fathers or not?

It is ridiculous to think this way but that’s where the society has gotten to.

I shared a story before about how a father has been abusing his daughters but fathers like that don’t even make up 5% of the population of fathers. This is just guesswork though but you can do your research and feed me back with your findings.

Because some men killed their wives doesn’t mean every man is a potential killer. If you can’t trust your husband around your kids, then there is no point in getting married! If it is not fair to ask if kids are safe in the hands of their mothers, then it’s also unfair to ask the same question for fathers.

Don’t marry someone you cannot trust but if you have ended up marrying such a person who shows you some tendencies that you are scared of, find a way to discuss it and seek professional help.

Let me emphasise on this again.

  • Majority of parents don’t abuse their kids sexually.
  • Majority of senior brothers don’t sexually abuse their younger sisters.
  • A higher percentage of relatives will not abuse their relation.
  • Most child molestation happens as a result of neglect.

Few bad eggs shouldn’t rob us the joy and values of being together as a family. It shouldn’t make us live in fear as it won’t be good for our kids too! We may end up raising kids who are scared of society and like you always know, fear kills faster than the problem.

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