Though Rape declared National Emergency more Cases Keep Coming Up

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    In spite of President Bio having got the Judiciary to declare mandatory life sentence for men found guilty of sexual violence, rape and sexual penetration against minors, the action does not seem to have served as enough deterrence against perpetrators; as almost daily we read in the newspapers reports of acts of sexual crimes against particularly underage girls.
    President Bio declared a national emergency over sexual and gender-based violence after recorded cases of rape and assault doubled over the last year, amid public outcry over the issue, triggered by a series of high-profile attacks.
    It can be recalled that anger has been mounting over sexual violence against women following a series of high-profile cases, including that of a five-year-old girl left partially paralyzed after an alleged assault by her uncle.
    President Bio said attacks on minors – which account for a third of all cases – would be punished with a life sentence, as activists said many assaults are not punished under current laws. Activists said few cases are reported and successfully prosecuted. The recommended sentence for rape – of between five and 15 years’ imprisonment – is often not imposed. Last year, a 56-year-old man who raped a six-year-old girl was sentenced to a year in prison.
    More than 8,500 cases were recorded last year – a rise of nearly 4,000 on the figure from the previous year – in a country of 7.5 million people. The factors behind the spike are not yet clear. President Bio also announced the formation of a dedicated police division to investigate reports of sexual violence, as well as a special magistrates’ court that would fast-track cases.
    Facts about rape…
    There is no typical rapist. People who commit sexual violence come from every economic, ethnic, racial, age and social group. Drugs and alcohol are never the cause of rape or sexual assault. It is the attacker who is committing the crime, not the drugs or alcohol. Stress and depression don’t turn people into rapists or justify sexual violence either.
    There are no excuses. Everyone has the legal right to say ‘no’ to sex and to change their mind about having sex at any point of sexual contact; if the other person doesn’t stop, they are committing sexual assault or rape.
    Men can control their urges to have sex just as women can; no-one needs to rape someone for sexual satisfaction. Rape is an act of violence and control. It can’t be explained away and there are no excuses.
    Most victims and survivors never report to the police. One reason for this is the fear of not being believed. It’s really important we challenge this myth so those who’ve been through sexual violence can get the support and justice they need and deserve.
    Only around 10% of rapes are committed by ‘strangers’. Around 90% of rapes are committed by known men, and often by someone who the survivor has previously trusted or even loved. People are raped in their homes, their workplaces and other settings where they previously felt safe. Rapists can be friends, colleagues, clients, neighbours, family members, partners or exes. Risk of rape shouldn’t be used as an excuse to control women’s movements or restrict their rights and freedom.

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