Rape is a domestic crime that is hardly talked about in African society. It is a crime that is everywhere and is invading our homes, schools, prisons and elsewhere, and it seems no one is saying anything about it. It is a silent crime that people are ashamed to be associated with, involved with, or be a victim of. The African mindset regards this crime as a shameful act and does not want to be associated with it.
The rate at which rape is growing may not necessarily be because of the media, or negligence on behalf of parents, but rather due to the culture of keeping mute. When a crime is polished, it glitters and thrives, and that brings a general acceptance of the crime as being mild, or if the crime is so polished, it may be accepted as a norm and one that the society cannot do away with. It is important that a deliberate effort is made to do away with rape.
The effects of this crime can include the following:
1. Stigmatisation is one effect that cannot be ignored, especially in the African context. The victim is sidelined away from the community, and the individual finds it hard to get a suitor for marriage.
2. Shame can lead to depression and in some cases, attempted suicide or suicide.
3. The risk of contracting one or more Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) is high as the perpetrator may or may not have any feeling of love towards his victim (rape can occur in relationships and marriages) and just wants to have his way with no thought to protection.
4. The victim finds it hard to trust again and have resentment towards the opposite sex.
This crime cuts across all ages and all sexes, with a lasting effect but the whistle blown against it is so mild that only a few hear the sound. The need to speak against this crime that has been so polished as to be disguised and hidden is vital.
By Muyamba Mathias
Email address: [email protected]