It is no longer news to many of us that Miss Vera Uwaila Omozuwa, a 22-year old Microbiology student of the University of Benin was raped and murdered in a pool of blood in the house of God by unscrupulous element(s). My prayers and condolences to the family of Omozuwa. While we await speedy justice for Uwa, it is crucial to use this incident to share some insights on how does a boy child grow up to commit a rape and how can we help them to be more responsible individuals of the society?
It is a fact of life that girls and women across the country, continent and world at large experience high levels of sexual violence including rape on a daily basis. This violence affects the quality of their lives forever. According to World Health Organization (WHO) Global and regional estimates of violence against women in 2013, one in three women worldwide experience sexual violence by partner or non-partner in their lifetime.
For a very long time, special focus has been on the girl child education, empowerment and gender equality, while the boy child has been left to find his own path, truth and support system in life. Specifically, when it comes to sexual violence, the lens have been on girls and women. However, it is important to engage boys and men in effort to prevent rape and promote broader gender equality. To leave boys and men out of the equation of sexual violence is tantamount to burdening girls and women with the task of ending sexual violence that majorly occur in the form of boys and men actions.
Why will a boy rape a girl? Why will a man sexually abuse a woman? Why will an individual coerce another person for sex? These are serious questions begging for answers.
There are basically 3 major factors that influence boys and men to commit sexual violence against girls and women. These factors include
2. Childhood Experience
Attitude: Many boys and men have wrong attitude towards girls and women. They falsely believe that they have the privilege and entitlement to a woman’s body without her consent. Studies have shown that boys and men who hold attitude of male privilege and entitlement are consistently more likely to perpetrate rape. Perpetration of physical violence on intimate partner is also a bad attitude that contributes to sexual violence by men. Men who physically abuse an intimate partner are significantly more likely to also perpetrate sexual violence on such intimate partners
Childhood Experience: Early childhood experience shapes the value system of most men. Childhood risk factors like witnessing violence between one’s parents, experiencing sexual or physical violence as a child as well as childhood neglect are powerfully tied to the perpetration of sexual violence by men. Sexual aggression before the age of 18 also influences being a perpetrator of rape as an adult.
Association: Alcohol use and abuse due to association by peers influence aggressive behaviour and sexual violence. Binge drinking is one of many inter-linked factors contributing to sexual violence including rape, but alcohol alone cannot be said to cause sexual violence. Men who pay for sex are more likely to perpetrate sexual violence and having more sexual partners in the past year increases likelihood of sexual violence perpetration.
What we must do to change the attitude and behaviours of our boys and men towards rape?
1. We must teach our boys to respect and protect girls at an early age.
2. We must teach our boys to stay away from alcohol.
3. Fathers must begin to lead by example. They must say no to physical or sexual violence against women.
4. Parents must educate their boys on sex, self-discipline, self-control and self-esteem.
5. Educational and religious institutions must begin to educate boys on the evil of sexual violence and its consequences on the victims and society.
6. More men must speak up publicly and consistently on rape.
7. Government institutions, Non-Profit Organizations, Non-Governmental Organizations, Foundations and well-meaning individuals must focus their attention on the boy child education and empowerment.
A boy will grow up one day to become a man. It is important to train him to be a protector not just a provider. Today, we focus our attention on the boy child training as a provider for his family and the society while we neglect his second fundamental role in life as a protector of people around him. It is high time we got back to the drawing board and train him to function effectively in both roles destiny has placed on him. Then, we can be quite sure that he will contribute to the peace and progress of his society and not endanger it.
Are you a rape victim? We would like to be of help in this difficult time. Our life coaches will help you heal faster. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will get back to you. This service is FREE.
Sesan Kareem is a life coach, speaker, author and pharmacist. He writes from Lagos, Nigeria.
NB Those who confess their past involvement in rape case are assured of absolute confidentiality. In other words their identity and confessions will only be known to the life coach.
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