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I have a strong inclination to talk about the current issues concerning the Gucci Pastor, but I must state that this is not one of my favorite topics. Even if I say ‘no Desola we are not going to put mouth for that topic’, I have been getting several messages asking for my position, the laws and everything that come with it. Lawyer problems perhaps?

Sadness

Last week, there was a trending topic on rape and a rape survivor, who testified about her experience/ordeals. We could see from the interview that survivors could potentially become abusers (emotional as in the case of the survivor in this instance, and physical as in the case of R. Kelly), however it takes the special grace of God to not become an abuser.

Of course it is wrong, illegal and uncommonsensical to abuse a child either physically, emotionally or sexually. However, I am of the view that survivors of rape and sexual abuse tend to become abusers themselves. Survivors of that experience understandably feel worthless, angry, raged, heartbroken, resentful, vicious and spiteful. The experience can live with survivors for as long as they live and it just stays with them.

Rape is definitely NOT a thing of pride, so of course, survivors would have to get to a level of healing, before they confess and begin to name and disclose their greatest enemies. Not to mention the amount of fear the abusers inflict on these survivors.

The thing is – Rape is an act that leaves the survivor discombulated for several years, as they ponder on why the act was inflicted on them and struggle to bring themselves to accepting that it actually happened. They struggle to find themselves, as stated in the testimony of the survivor in this instance.

Being a DSVRT member/ex-project coordinator, I feel that even child who has had this experience begins to think that such act is normal, especially when they have been abused numerous times, including abuse inflicted by a handful of support systems or safe havens as seen in the case of the 4 year old girl.

Indeed, the example of R. Kelly’s situation also shows a classic state of a rape survivor becoming the rapist/ physical/sexual abuser. I don’t have the experience to discuss the psychological angle of this act but I strongly believe that the consequence of this act and experience, destroys the mind of the survivor, damages them psychologically and leaves them bitter, angry, unlovable, unconfident, filled with low self esteem and rage for years, so much that they could potentially become monsters in their later years.

Omo na probably therapy go relieve or reduce/take them out of that rage.

sad face

Survivors sometimes feel the need to inflict pain and perhaps rage on other people, because of what was inflicted on them. This theory was confirmed by the survivor’s testimony and also happened in R. Kelly’s case. R. Kelly was molested and raped as a child and ended up molesting and raping women (under age girls) for years. I am in no way stating that they be excused because of the pain that was inflicted on them but I just think this is a cycle and strongly feel that Gucci pastor was raped as a child. I also am not stating that the survivor in this picture will later be a rapist, NO!!! She has been through therapy and is walking through it but yes I am stating categorically that survivors tend to inflict pain on others.

Yes, not all rapists/ abusers were abused as a child but a strong percentage might have been. When the cycle goes on for years then it is worrisome and one can see that there might be a greater issue at hand with the man in question. Its prey seems to be of a particular breed/age bracket, one that is untouched and with an intact hymen. This makes me feel that there might be a psychological problem at hand, which most likely happened, in his early years.

As for the legal stance on this matter, it happened probably 16/17 years ago and it might be difficult to prove that the offence/act was done. Samples might not reveal anything, and if she has the outfit she had on, on that day, it might also not help, because it most likely would be really dusty and we might not find any sperm on that dress. Definitely not with the timeframe in this instance and the technology we have in Nigeria. We have a forensic laboratory in Lagos State on Odunlami street, CMS that works wonders. Yes, Lagos State is working. However 17years?!?

A class action might bring him to book: A class action, is where a lot of people (a group of people collectively represented by a member of that group) sue him and come out with concrete evidence that will prove and show that he committed all these atrocities. For example, the teenage girl that allegedly got pregnant for him and had a baby. The DNA can be gotten from the child and prove that he was involved.

Some of these survivors involved might later back out (or Gucci Pastor might pay for their silence) and decide that they no longer want to sue as was seen in the case that happened at De Lancaster hotel with Rasak and Don Chima. The good news however is that the State has a duty to take care of/ protect the children/citizens under her watch. Section 164 of the Child Rights Law (Laws of Lagos State) 2015 and the Constitution backs this up. So when children/ward of families back out of such cases, the State still has the power to follow that matter through to the last t literally.

In response to the growing concern on these (Rape, Sexual Assault, etc.) issues/menace, the Lagos State Government established the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT) in September, 2014, which is responsible for and in fact in charge of abuse, violence and sexual assault of any form and kind. The Lagos State Government has always taken a firm stance against Sexual and Gender Based Violence crimes in the State by providing a strong culture, policy and procedures for prevention, education, training and providing support to victims of these crimes.

DSVRT works with other relevant organisations to reduce social tolerance of Sex and Gender Based Violence crimes, whilst educating the youth, children and other vulnerable members of the society about the importance of developing relationships based on equity, liberty and respect. This is done by having several awareness programs in schools, organisations and even churches. You can invite them to come speak at your organisation or partner with them for an event as part of your Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) or your company’s CSR. Thank me later! DSVRT works hand in hand with the police and also supports them with a lot of training and sensitization of citizens.

The police play a vital and pivotal role in these cases as they work to ensure the safety of rape & domestic and sexual assault survivors and the general public, conduct investigations, identify and apprehend suspects and prepare investigative reports for the prosecutors. The Police are the ones who provide factual history and collect and preserve evidence to seek to prove the truth. The DSVRT with support from the Government provide the support and training for the police.

 

 

sad employee in office

The following laws have been put in place to curb this menace:

  • Criminal Law of Lagos State;
  • Child Rights Law (Laws of Lagos State 2015);
  • Prevention Against Domestic Violence Law 2007
    (PVAL);
  • Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act, 2015 (on a federal level)).

Other things that have been put in place to curb this menace apart from the laws is the Lagos State Sexual Assault Standing Order which was put in place to guide the provision of health care services, as well as set the minimum acceptable standards for the provision of quality HealthCare to the survivors of sexual assault, and the Domestic Violence Protocol for Responder Agencies Guidelines set up in 2015. We also have the Mirabel Centre, which is the primary response center where survivors are taken to get samples, and evidence regarding the incident, and the Women at Risk International Foundation (WARIF) center – a non profit organisation set up in 2016 in response to the high incidences of this menace (rape, sexual assault and sexual violence) and human trafficking occurring amongst women and young girls in Nigeria, founded by Dr. Kemi DaSilva-Ibru. There is also the Special Offences Court that deals with Rape cases in Lagos State and every police station in Lagos State has a Family Support Unit where people could walk in to and report any rape incidents to the officers who are specially trained/skilled/ equipped with handling such sensitive matters. They also have the Investigating and Prosecuting Domestic Violence Prosecutor’s Manual to aid/ guide them in dealing with this.

In conclusion, please let us not be left in the bondage that comes with staying silent or the society or cultural norms that glorifies being quiet when one is hurting. Speaking out though hurtful might actually aid healing. Tell someone you trust, get help or visit any of the agencies mentioned. Where you find that you might have abused one in the past, please make amends and stop the cycle. Get professional counsel, see a therapist and kindly desist from the act.

 

Till next time….

Adesola Osuntoki

Credits:

Lagos State Sexual Assault Standing Order

Domestic Violence Protocol for Responder Agencies Guidelines

Investigating and Prosecuting Domestic Violence Prosecutor’s Manual

 

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