Nigerian Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama has denounced growing sexual violence against women in his country. He said sex offenders inflict "indescribable trauma" on women through their "heinous" acts.
The perpetrators must be severely punished by the judiciary, the archbishop of Abuja warned, according to the Vatican press service "Fides". Kaigama called on all Nigerians, especially Christians, to "restore our sick world that has lost the sense of sin".
An increasing number of rapes have led to public protests in some regions of Nigeria in recent weeks. All 36 states imposed state of emergency because of rising sexual violence – but observers see it more as symbolic measure.
No exact figures
Under the hashtag #WeAreTired, social networks called for action and justice for victims. The murder of two female college students also brought the ie into the public eye.
Exact data on the number of sexual crimes against women in Nigeria does not exist, according to "Fides". However, in the months since the Corona lockdown was established, more than 250 cases have been reported. In a 2014 nationwide survey on violence against children, one in four women surveyed said they had suffered sexual violence as children.
Criticism of Nigeria's judiciary
According to the report, there is also much criticism of the way Nigeria's judiciary handles cases of sexual violence against women. Men accused of rape are rarely convicted; instead, there are accusations against the victims, the report said.
In Nigeria, it is therefore not uncommon for rapes not to be reported in the first place. The affected women and families feared stigmatization, reprisals by police, had no confidence in the judicial process and therefore did not report cases to authorities.