A Review of the Conceptual Issues, Social Epidemiology, Prevention and Control Efforts Relating to Rape in Nigeria

Akintayo Olamide Ogunwale, Frederick Olore Oshiname, Folakemi O. Ajagunna


Rape is an endemic criminal sexual behaviour in Nigeria and its perpetration not only violates survivors‘ dignity but also compromises their health and wellbeing. The rape-related data used in this traditional literature review are derived mainly from small-scale surveys conducted in Nigeria. The deviant behaviour could be perpetrated against both males and females of various socio-demographic characteristics; however, it is young females that are disproportionately more affected. The determinants of rape include factors that are associated with adverse social, cultural and economic conditions. In Nigeria the prevention and control of the practice involve stakeholders such as parents, Non-governmental Organisations, religious institutions, government ministries as well as government agencies that constitute the criminal justice system. The criminal justice system uses existing legal statutes on rape to arrest, prosecute, adjudicate, and punish offenders. The barriers to the control and prevention of rape in Nigeria include the following: inappropriate perception; social stigmatization; under-reporting; and cumbersome legal requirements needed to establish a case of rape. Strategies with potentials for curbing rape in the country include public enlightenment, multi-sectoral action, advocacy, amendment of rape-related laws; training targeted at personnel in health care and criminal justice systems and formulation of evidence-based policies. (Afr J Reprod Health 2019; 23[4]:108-123).

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