By Philemon Adjekuko
The incidence of rape of girls, some as young as six years or even below, by adults appear to be on the increase across the country. The tales of how these cases are handled by both parents and the police is heart breaking.
According to one lawyer, “make we leave am for God” is a common response from parents who feels that they are either helpless or that even if they try to get justice, it will be a very steep climb. This attitude, though distasteful is understandable in our environment.
A recent case illustrates this point. A thirteen years old girl was raped. The girl’s father decided to let sleeping dogs be until his lawyer friend got to hear of the situation and got the alleged rapist arrested and the girl sent to the hospital for medical examination. It turned out that the girl had become pregnant. However, when much later the young girl started bleeding, the police falsely accused her parents of abortion and extorted N50,000 from them by coercion.
For some strange reason, the girl’s parents did not bring the ugly development to the attention of their lawyer friend. However, when the lawyer got to know of what happened he threatened to have all the policemen involved in the scam arrested and charged to court. The policemen returned the money and begged for forgiveness.
There are so many similar cases that are messed up by the police even when parents summon up courage to get justice. Moreover, cases that get to court drag on and on for years until poor parents become exhausted and give up.
The protection of vulnerable people, especially children are supposed to be a priority in every society. That we have left our young girls to be so exposed is a tragedy whose consequence will be unimaginable down the road.
Parents must teach their girls about the basic elements of sex and what constitutes inappropriate touching by adult males. Police authorities should handle cases of rape, especially where they involved children with the tender care they deserve. The often reckless nature the police sometimes treat cases of the rape of children should not tolerated by police authorities. Any psychological damage done to children have life time consequences.