By Daniel Bernard
This past few weeks, our society has witnesses tremendous plagues of sexual abuse trends which has not just weigh down the fluidity of our morals in the eyes of right thinking members of the society, but also exposed a lot of persons with accusations of rape the tactics deployed.
How be it, we really need to understand what a woman No means. Which is why, we’ll look through the legal lens available under the Nigerian rape laws to further understand what rape means, just so we can collectively stop this menace.
Under the Criminal Code of Nigeria, Rape is defined, as having unlawful carnal knowledge of a woman or girl, without her consent, or with her consent, if the consent is obtained by force or by means of threats or intimidation of any kind, or by fear of harm, or by means of false act, or, in case of a married woman, be personating her husband. This offence is punishable by imprisonment for life, with or without caning. Although this definition is partial with respect to gender, that’s not our focus for now.
Sections 357 and 358 of the Criminal code provides for this.
In plain language, in Nigeria, a person has committed rape when he has sexual relations (carnal knowledge) with a woman against her will; or
a) without her consent or,
b) while putting her in fear of death or hurt or,
c) misrepresenting as the husband of the woman or,
d) having carnal knowledge of a girl under 14 years, with or without her consent or,
e) having carnal knowledge of a girl with unsound mind.
Under the Penal Code (applicable in Northern part of Nigeria), it goes further to say even where the girl is a wife of the person, such person will be guilty of rape if she has not attained puberty. So Even if a minor gives consent, it will be deemed as rape.
As much as some will argue, that a lady’s consent is an hazy concept which in truth is tenable. How be it, when you aren’t sure or skeptical about a person’s consent, take it as no consent given and don’t push further. When consent aren’t given freely and in clear ubiquitous terms, you might just be deemed a rapist.
We can decide to help safe the society from trauma and emotional hunts. Do your part and walk the talk of knowing that a No means a No.