When we speak about sexual assault and rape in Lagos in public spaces, without fail, the #NotAllMen brigade appear first to derail the conversation by suggesting that men get raped too, second to suggest the numbers are not as pervasive as victims and their allies suggest and third (and these are the worst off the bunch) to blame victims for somehow inviting rape/assault upon themselves through some innocuous action.
It is tiring to have to constantly explain why victims need to be protected and stronger laws need to be put in place to ensure that rape/assault doesn’t happen in the first place.
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode is finally listening. However the circumstances that have forced him to give a public statement on the widespread assault over the last year in Lagos aren’t the kind that allow for any kind of gloating.
The death of a 14-year-old Junior Secondary School (JSS) student, Obiamaka Orakwue, from violent rape in the last week of July 2017 and the mass rape of secondary school girls that occurred outside a secondary school in Ikoyi on the 3rd of May 2017 were reasons the governor cited during the public presentation of a report titled “ Rape: Breaking the silence and saving lives”, commissioned by the Mirabel Centre, the first Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) in Nigeria, to mark its fourth anniversary.