RAPE: IS THE DRESS FACTOR A FACTOR?

NEWS DIGEST – Is it really true that dressing is a contributory factor to rape? Or the argument in support of such position is placing something on nothing and expecting it to stand.

It seems to be a norm in today’s society to validate a rapist act on the basis that the victim was immodestly dressed, hence, postulating that a victim can be an accessory to the fact of a crime carried out against her.

The culture that justifies or seeks to sympathize with a rapist because dressing can be likened to justifying a robber’s act by blaming the rich for being too rich or trying to acquit a car snatcher’s act by blaming the victim for having an exotic car.

A study of the dress code during the pre-colonial period shows that a lot of women of the African tribes were bare-chested and no record shows that rape was a norm because they walked around naked. How then can we who claim to be civilized and modern act barbaric and call the barbaric act normal?

The offense of rape is an offense meted on adults and minors alike so how loosely dressed can a minor be to justify rape against her? This in itself shows the inherently evil nature of the rapist and has nothing to do with the victims’ attire.

Many reported rape cases are usually carried out by close relatives ranging from father to brother, cousin, or a guardian.

It is important for every parent to take precautions, as persons who we presume to be friends, close relatives, and acquaintances might, in turn, be the agent of doom. Parents should be careful who they leave their children with.

The incident involving popular Nollywood actor, Olarenwaju Omiyinka also known as Baba Ijesha who was alleged to have raped a 14-year-old girl is a clear example and should serve as an eye-opener for parents and guardians alike.

Most children might not be bold enough to speak out, which is why we must teach our children the essence of self-worth and confidence. Children should be able to confide in their parents, emotionally attached to their parents, and bold enough to speak out.

The incessant occurrence of rape in our society should be placed on serious watch. A watch that should be prioritized by parents and guardians alike.

Every household must make it mandatory to educate the boy child, teach them moral decadence, respect for women, and the responsibility that comes with being a man of dignity and honor.

As a matter of fact, boys are meant to understand that our women need to be protected, cared for, treated like fragile fine chinaware, and not like some trophy.

Similarly, the schools starting from elementary to the high institutions should be more conservative in their approach, adopt a curriculum that educates boys on the need to respect, care for and protect women.

The fact that dressing is considered a justification for rape shows how perverse society has become. The victim is never at fault!

Naomi N Ishaya is a student of Mass Communication, University of Maiduguri.