Ending sexual offences Pandemic– By Nnamdi Raphael Anagor

In the past couple of months, in what seems like the outbreak of a flu and epidemic, we have seen upsurge in rape and sexual violence cases. Some even culminating in death of the victims. The wave of these sordid incidents is exasperating.

Thanks to social media these incidents covertly carried out in most instances are brought to light. Rape and sexual violence crimes affect adversely the psyche of the victims, there are reported cases of victims who could not bear the odium and committed suicide.

It is noteworthy that rape and sexual violence cases have been with us for ages and fester for various reasons. The unanimous verdict gleaned from several vistas is that to stem the tide of this crime all hands must be on deck.

The Penal legislation on rape and sexual offences is rich and sufficient to address this malady . In addition to the Criminal and Penal Codes, which hitherto made the female gender victims of rape flowing from unlawful penis penetration of the vagina, there is currently The Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act passed into law in 2015 and domesticated by several states.

The Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act and Laws of various states extended the scope of offenders, ways of committing the offence of rape and other strands of sexual offences. It is a huge improvement on the provisions of the Criminal and Penal Codes.

Rape is no longer restricted as an offence capable of only being meted to the female gender. Rape can be committed through other means in addition to unlawful penis penetration of the vagina. In summary the latest legislation is a huge leap in the fight against sexual violence.

I reiterate that to effectively winnow sexual offenders and miscreants from the society it demands an encompassing approach.

Victims should speak out. For tender victims their parents and guardians should be committed to seek justice. They should report such incidence to the police immediately the offense happened or when they noticed it in their wards.

The pervasive lukewarm attitude of compromise must be a thing of the past. Succinctly put compromises bolster the ranks and effrontery of sexual offenders, in the absence of deterrence they have a field day in their illicit acts.

Law enforcement officials must live up to expectations. Arrest, effectively investigate and subsequently prosecute sexual miscreants . Sadly it has been observed to the chagrin of right thinking members of the society, that law enforcement officials at various levels assist in shielding sexual offenders from facing justice a tripartite unholy alliance between the officials, the victims and the offenders steeped in filthy lucre!

Our laws as highlighted are not deficient. The greatest obstacle is enforcement. To effectively stamp out sexual malfeasances the Bench has a role to play. Regrettably there are several cases where sentences that fall short of the maximum provided by law are handed down as verdict when the Prosecution proves the commission of the offence.

To pass the message for effective prohibition against rape and allied sexual crimes, the Court has a crucial role to play. They should go for the maximum sentence, for instance in the Criminal Code it is life imprisonment. It is suggested that this should not be abridged. If we avert sentences that smacks of a slap on the wrist, it will deliver the message poignantly that sexual misconducts are to be eradicated from the society.

It is hoped that the victims in the recent reported cases of sexual offences will get justice, justice in their cases transcends their present circumstances it also includes the message that the society will no longer tolerate sexual misdemeanors.

Together by playing our roles effectively we will win the war.

To do so all hands must be on deck!

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