LOW REPORTING OF RAPE CASES IN NIGERIA: CHALLENGES AND PROSPECTS

Tomi Grace OBAGBOYE

Abstract


There is an escalating wave of rape in Nigeria. The media is regularly flooded with cases of rape all over the country. However, many sexual assault incidences in Nigeria are not reported to the relevant authorities for redress. It is terrifying that 50 to 90 percent of all rapes or attempted rapes are unreported. Most of the incest and molestation are never reported. Rape cases are not reported due to social stigma and prejudice against victims, blaming of victims, rape by acquaintances and relations, traumatization of victims, insensitive and dismissive attitude of police and difficulty in successfully prosecuting rape cases and low conviction rate. Many of the cases are thrown away in the law courts because of lack of evidence and distortion of evidence by law enforcement agents and inadequate exhibits for prosecution. This paper examined the problem of low reporting of rape cases in Nigeria and the factors responsible for underreporting of cases of sexual assault. This paper recommends for legal reforms, establishment of Sexual Assault Referral Centers (SARCS), orientation to stop victim blaming, and specialized training of institutional personnel. This is imperative to deal with the problem of low reporting of rape cases in a holistic way and ensure a safer and better society.

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