A series of recent news reports served to remind us of the existence amongst us, of insane adults who are on the prowl. The subjects of their misdemeanor in this instance are their own daughters, mostly underage girls who have become for them, objects of sexual pleasure. There are very few things more bizarre and despicable that I can imagine.
We have among them, men who actually admit guilt but attempt rather stupidly to reduce the magnitude of their indiscretion by saying things like I did it only 6 times or trying to find justification for same by claiming I did it to test her virginity. How do you describe a man who does that which he should not even contemplate and actually tries to justify it? ‘Half men’ should be a more fitting description for this band of lunatics who have transcended all known standards of morality and common sense. They simply do not fit to share the same space as normal people.
As a father to a daughter myself, I find these stories bone-chilling and beyond comprehension. It is already alarming enough that our girls, from the cradle up to the Old People’s Home, live daily under the threat of abuse from trusted relatives, friends, teachers, religious leaders, and strangers. To have them now insecure in the hands of the one person with whom they should feel most secure, beats every imagination.
The damage these men do to these girls is mostly irreparable. Besides robbing them of their innocence, they subject them to a lifetime of psychological trauma and forever damage for them the idea of lover, sex and marriage. It is even worse in a society where speaking about it is taboo, where the abused girls live with the shame (and guilt ) without any help, where the family of the randy father is more concerned about the family name than the sanity of the abused daughter. In most of the instances, the mothers are aware of what is happening but do not say a word nor come to the rescue of their daughter. Pray, tell me, how does a woman live with herself knowing that her husband is sleeping with their daughter and not do anything? What loyalty to marriage or family name or even fear should compel a mother to look the other way when such horror persists in her home?
But we also have instances where the mother, who are most often victims of abuse themselves, have made the bold effort to seek help from the police but are turned back with the now infamous lines; “It is a family matter.” This abdication of duty by the police under this excuse is what has allowed the perpetuation of the madness, ensuring that serial sexual offenders, rapists, child molesters and spouse batterers, not only walk free but continue to commit their heinous crimes with impunity. But I have news for this group of people and mostly for our police: The times have changed. Rape and domestic violence are no longer a family affair, they are criminal offences.
One of the last historic acts by former President Goodluck Jonathan in the twilight of his administration was the signing into law of the long delayed Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act, 2015 (VAPP Act) after almost twelve years of its first introduction as a bill in the National Assembly. In the months leading to the eventual passage, I had the pleasure of joining a group of young professionals under the aegis of #Choice4Life to advocate for the passage of the law.
The VAPP Act prohibits all forms of violence against persons in private and public life, and provides maximum protection and effective remedies for victims and punishment of offenders. Specifically and in direct relation to the subject of this intervention, the Act has provisions for rape, coercion, and incest with punishments that range from life imprisonment to varying degrees of fines.
I wish to bring the attention of the police and the general public to 3 provisions of the law:
“Part 1: [Rape] A person commits Rape if he or she penetrates the vagina, anus or mouth of another person with any part of his or her body or anything else, and without the consent of the other person. And such a person is liable to a minimum of 12 years imprisonment without option of fine to life imprisonment.”
“Part 3: [Coercion] Any person who forces another to do anything that will have negative effect on that other person’s wellbeing commits an offence and will be sent to prison for three years.”
“Part 25 [Incest] Any person that engages in sexual intercourse with another person within the Prohibited Degrees of Consanguinity and Affinity with or without consent commits an offence and will be sent to prison for up to 5 years without option of fine.”
Nothing in those clear unambiguous lines justifies or makes for the condoning of the actions of randy fathers in any form or any guise especially with the trash talk of being a family affair. In any case, Part 7 of the law provides that any person who frustrates the investigation and prosecution of offenders under the law commits felony and will be sent to prison for up to 3 years or pay a fine of up to N500,000.00, or both fine and imprisonment.
It is now incumbent on all of us to break the silence and put this law into action. Clearly this madness is happening a lot more than is being reported and many cases will never make it to the pages of the newspapers. We do our daughters the greatest disservice by keeping quiet. Not any longer. We owe them the duty of protecting them and to do this, we now have a law to ride on. We must do this to secure the future of humanity.
Click to download a copy of the VAPP Act.
Article first published here
Image credit: http://www.bride2mum.com/