The Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev. Alfred Adewale Martins has condemned in very strong terms the recent upsurge in the number of rape cases reported across the country.
He described rape as not only appalling, and reprehensible, but an intrinsic evil that infringes on the dignity and privacy of the victims, causing deep scars on their psyche.
According to him, rape is not only a serious crime against the victim, it is also a gross violation of the sacredness of the person’s body and an affront on the Almighty God who created the victim and every other person in His image and likeness.
In a release signed by the Director of Social Communications, Rev. Fr. Anthony Godonu, Archbishop Martins said the high number of rape incidents across the country in recent times, which was put at over 717 by the Inspector General of Police, was an attestation that the society was fast plunging into the abyss of immorality.
He said everyone in the society, Government, religious organisations, civil societies and the family must work together to quell this social malaise before it consumes everyone.
“The Holy Scriptures and the Church down through the ages have condemned all sexual perversion including rape. Rape deeply wounds the respect, freedom, physical and moral integrity of the victim. It causes grave damage to the victim, sometimes for life. Rape is an intrinsically evil act that is even more grave and condemnable when inflicted on children either by parents (incest) or those who exercise any form of authority over them especially those responsible for their education. (cf. CCC 2356).”
While calling for decisive action to be taken against all those found culpable in the court of the law, Archbishop Martins stressed that urgent steps must be taken to rid the society of the evil of rape.
“Parents, religious bodies and non-governmental Organisations must deliberately teach the boy-child respect for women; concerned government agencies must pay attention to suggestive contents that sexualise girls in musical videos as well as enforce more strict restrictions on pornographic materials that are so easily available on the internet. Each person must also resist the common view that people must satisfy whatever urge or desire they have as if we are lower animals that have no control over their desires and urges. Everyone must also advocate for justice for victims of rape and severest possible punishment for rapists.”
He challenged the Nigeria Police to make justice for victims of rape a priority and asked NGO’s and health workers across the country to join hands with other relevant professionals to offer care and necessary counselling to victims of rape in order to help them overcome the trauma of the sad experience.
Finally, he called on the National Assembly to find ways of ensuring that all States in the country domesticate the Child Rights Act in order to give full legal protection and guard against abuse of children, especially the girl child.