The Chrisland ‘Truth and Dare’ incident and what rape really means in the case

Chrisland

Under the Penal Code, sex with a girl who is under 14 years of age, or who is of unsound mind is rape, irrespective of whether is consent.

The Child Rights Act (CRA) says that sex with a child is rape, and anyone who has sexual intercourse with a child is liable to imprisonment for life upon conviction.

According to the Act, sexual abuse of a child is the same as violence against the child.

As reported in the Guardian newspaper, Legal Practitioner and Chairperson, Child Right Protection Network, Cross River, James Ibor, says, “A child is not capable of giving his or her consent. So, any sexual intercourse with anyone under the age of 18 years regardless of the child’s consent is rape against the child.

The law is not explicit in the case of sexual intercourse between two minors, but, as written above, an under-aged individual cannot give consent.

What happened?

The mother of the 10-year-old student cried out to Nigerians for help after discovering that her child was raped during a school trip to Dubai which was organised by Chrisland School.

In a viral video posted on the Instagram page of a music executive, Ubi Franklin, the woman stated that while her daughter was being raped some filmed the incident and posted it online.

She mentioned that Chrisland School tried to hide the truth until another parent showed her the video. The obviously aggrieved mother further claimed that the school threatened to kill her daughter if she ever spoke about the incident.

“A parent called me that she needed to see me urgently. I went to her house and she told me that something had been trending in Chrisland and she believes I was not aware. The woman showed me the video and told me that all the parents are aware. Immediately I informed my husband.

“Please I am begging Nigerians to help me because Chrisland was trying to hide this issue. They were trying to push us out of the way and my daughter was affected psychologically. Please I need help as a mother. I am begging fellow Nigerians to help me.

“They have been threatening my daughter that if she speaks out they are going to kill her. That it is a man’s world and nothing would happen. My daughter was dying in silence,” she said in parts of the video.

The mother of the pupil further stated ever since they confronted the school about the incident, they suspended her daughter. “Because we have started confronting them that we are aware of what they did, the school sent her a suspension letter.

“When my daughter explained to me what happened, she said that they went out in the morning to have breakfast and one of the boys, Kachi, begged her to borrow him her phone charger which she obliged. After they had dinner, Kachi called her room that she should come and take her charger. She went there for her charger.

“When she got into the room, one of them said she should take her charger from the toilet it was when she entered the toilet, that they hijacked her and told her to take a substance, so they were all under the influence. She said after that she did not know what she was doing again. They told her to be climbing them and someone stood there videoing them and posting it out,” she said.

Chrisland first reacted by suspending the female student

In the suspension letter, dated April 14, 2022, the school accused the female student of taking part in a Truth or Dare game which led to the “immoral act” when they went to Dubai to participate in the World School Games held between March 10 and 13, 2022.

It read in part, “It was discovered that your daughter was involved in improper behaviour during the recently concluded World School Games in Dubai with a few of her counterparts willfully participated in a game they called ‘Truth or Dare’, a game which led her and a few other co-learners to carry out an immoral act after the lights-out instruction was given.

“In line with our core values centred on discipline, Chrisland Schools have zero tolerance for any improper behaviour and misconduct. A full-scale investigation has been done and the parents of all the culpable learners have been duly notified of the necessary punishment meted out on the learners.

“The parents gave their full cooperation realising the need to work with the school so that the learners can be corrected and be of expected proper behaviour henceforth.

“However, in the course of the school’s efforts to see how best we can help…who was a major participant in the whole incident, every effort to inform you as her parents about the incident and ensure that this improper behaviour is permanently corrected, has proved to be futile.

“We cannot as a school condone such. Consequently, (the student) is hereby placed on an indefinite suspension until you as the parents ensure that she is punished, adequately counselled and rehabilitated.”

Chrisland School has said that it would speak through an official statement, Daily Trust reports.

“Yes, this is Chrisland School. I am not permitted to speak on the issue. We will soon release an official statement. Thank you,” a representative said.

Read also: The landlord’s case of molestation brings issues of child abuse to the fore

Lagos reacts

A statement signed by the Ministry of Education Office of Education Quality Assurance, Ministry of Youth and Social Development Ministry of Justice, dated, April 18, 2022, reads in part:

This is to reassure members of the public of the State Government’s commitment to safety and child protection, especially in ensuring that all child-centred institutions within the state, formulate and implement policies and systems that are compliant with the Executive Order (NO.EO/AA08 of 2016), Lagos State Safeguarding and Child Protection Program.

We also use this medium to remind the general public that any person who engages in any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a child, commits an offence and is liable to custodial sentence of fourteen (14) years. This includes “producing, distributing, receiving, or possessing an image of child pornography”.

In the meantime, all Chrisland schools within Lagos State are hereby closed, pending further investigations.

The law on rape and sexual intercourse between minors

The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority, or against a person who is incapable of giving valid consent, such as one who is unconscious, incapacitated, has an intellectual disability or is below the legal age of consent.

There is a regular mention that minors cannot give assent, and minors are people 17 and below. But, there is no mention of the kind of sex that takes place between minors.

Yet, in the mother’s narration, her 10-year-old daughter said she was given a substance that made her sub-conscious, after which she was asked to have sex with them – the under-aged boys from the same school. That has not been confirmed, but that is a case.

The law has an “age of consent,” a minimum age which any person must be before consenting to sex. In general, when two minors under the age of consent engage in “consensual” sex with one another, they are both open to statutory rape charges. But this is not explicit in Nigerian laws.

In many cases, sexual acts between two minors are considered abusive if there is a power differential between the minors. Differences in power include age, size, emotional maturity, advanced sexual knowledge, as well as forcing, threatening, bribing, coercing, or insisting their behaviour be kept secret.

Taalk

Consensual sex between minors is unlawful, but the case of the 10-year-old Chrisland student is allegedly (if we go by the mother’s story) not consensual, and that is not the conversation.

The conversation should be how Taalk has described it – it is rape, until proven otherwise.

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