The National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) has been charged to remain focused on its enlightenment campaign on the dangers of rape to deter young boys and men from engaging in such act which is alien to our culture.

Erudite scholar and Professor of Theatre Arts at the University of Abuja, Professor Mabel Evwierhoma who gave this charge in Abuja on Wednesday, June 24, 2020, while delivering a virtual lecture, organized by the Institute on the theme “Rape as Anti-Culture in Contemporary Nigeria” said such enlightenment will not only deter them from rape but also engage them properly in the society.

According to her, the creation of sex offenders register, reintroduction of moral instruction in schools to ensure sexual education conforms to our cultural norms; denigration of the masculine impunity backing rape as well as the extension of reports on rape cases from our local courts to the International Criminal Court among other measures can also go a long to address the issue of rape in the country.

While calling on government at all levels to enforce the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act on rapists in the country as well as exercise due diligence to prevent, investigate and punish acts of violence against women in line with national legislation, Prof. Evwierhoma stressed that rape is an anti-social act that could wash away our cultural values if appropriate measures are not taken to tackle it.

In her words “Despite the reasons being advanced for the high incidents of rape and gender-based violence in the country, it should not be condoned or justified in any way. The causes of rape can be traced to male hegemony and patriarchal control of women’s bodies and their sphere of operation. The cross-country anomy currently experienced from Boko Haram, kidnapping, farmer-herdsmen clashes, banditry have claimed women and girls as rape victims”.

“A lot of pornographic or sexual content is available on the internet and its exploitation by sundry individuals like paedophiles, uninformed minds, socio-psychologically maladjusted males. Most of the contemporary music that is produced and promoted focus on the female genitalia and depicts acts of non-consensual sex”.

She also blamed film producers saying they are complicit as they promote transactional sex that many see as a norm rather than aberration. “With the influence of peer groups, associations in the consumption of sexual and pornographic content, many predators seek people who pose least resistance to their sexual overtures or yield to their forceful demand”.

Lamenting instances where security agents and uniformed personnel as organs of the state commit rape, the don said whether the act of rape is perpetrated by the state or by private persons, the determination to check rape should be an agenda for all and should be pursued without fear or favour.

Evwierhoma who maintained that rape is not only anti-culture but contradicts the way of life held in high esteem in a culture and does not do a people any good regretted that our mainstream cultures still remain highly communal and rape is breaking them up.

The lecture attracted over 300 participants to include Prof. Emmanuel Dandaura, Prof. Sunny Ododo, Prof. Muhammad Ndagi, Prof. Olu Obafemi, Prof. Eddie Iji, Prof. Bamidele Solomon, Prof. C.M Ogbodo, Prof. Omobolaji Gani Oladipo, Prof. Victor Dugga, Mrs. Osaro Oyande (Ag. DG, CBAAC), Eddy Okolo (Director, Arts & Culture, Enugu State) and Femi Ojalade (GM, NTA Akure) among others.

Caleb Nor
Media Assst. To DOOES
NICO, Abuja