Interrogating the Causes, Effects and Societal Responses to Rape and Child-Defilement in Nigeria
Nigeria’s social landscape has been inundated by an alarming spate of rape and child defilement cases, so much more that there is hardly a week without media reports of rape in the country. Records released by the Nigeria Police Force shows that a total of seven hundred and seventeen cases of rape and child defilement were recorded in the first five months of the year 2020. More alarming is the defilement of minors and underage children by adults. The foregoing raises concerns and the need to interrogate the causes of alarming cases of rape and defilement of minors in Nigeria. The mixed methods research approach was adopted to generate both primary and secondary data. For the primary data, an online questionnaire was designed and administered to a total of two hundred and nine Nigerians across various sectors and regions of the country. Besides, six (6) key informants, each from the Ministry of Women, Legal Department, National Human Rights Commission, NGO, religious leader and media practitioners, were interviewed. On the other hand, government reports, gazettes, journal and newspaper articles were used to generate secondary data. Findings show that defilement of minors in Nigeria is perceived from a socio-cultural perspective as an avenue for money rituals. Other causes include mental disorders of perpetrators, alcoholism and substance abuse. Effects of such acts are physical and psychological. Recommendations on ways of curbing the menace include life sentences, name shame of perpetrators, and strict enforcement of existing laws prohibiting rape and defilement in the country.
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