LEGAL IDEAS FORUM

THE CRIMINAL OFFENCE OF RAPE AND THE POSITION OF THE NIGERIAN LAW

INTRODUCTION 
WHAT IS RAPE?
Rape is one of the oldest crimes in human history. Rape is a crime in all countries of the world but definition and punishment differ from place to place. It has also been noticed that rape cases are reported more in the
Western world than many other parts of the globe In a simple language, rape may be defined as a sexual Intercourse between a man and a woman or a girl against the will or consent of the female partner.
It’s important to know that rape as a sexual assault in Nigeria has a serious punishment, which attracts imprisonment for life with or without whipping.
Rape is defined as” any person who has 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 threat or intimidation of any kind, or by fear of harm, or by means of false and fraudulent representation as to the nature of the act, or in the case of married woman, by personating her husband, is an offence which is called rape”.  See SECTION 357 OF CRIMINAL CODE.
UPON BEING RAPED, WHAT SHOULD A VICTIM DO?       
A victim of rape must first proceed to a nearby Police Station to lodge a complaint. A victim must not change her dress, must not wash or
shower after the incident and must not remove anything from the scene of crime because doing so may negatively affect pieces of evidence that the Police may need to hold the perpetrator accountable. Usually, it is the Police that will take the victim to a hospital for medical examination. It is advisable that medical examination should be carried out as soon as possible, preferably on the day of the incident.
IF THE POLICE REFUSE TO  ACT  AFTER A REPORT OF RAPE HAS  BEEN MADE TO THEM, WHAT CAN A VICTIM DO?    
A victim should write a petition to the Commissioner of Police in that State, giving details of the officers who attend to her on the day her complaint is lodged, the name of the Police Station and other necessary information. If this step does not produce a desired result, she may contact a lawyer. There are equally NGOs that provide legal assistance and support to rape victims.
WHAT IS CONSENT?
It refers to permission or freedom and capacity to make a choice on whether to have sex or not. When a woman says “no” to sex, her “no” should be taken as “no”.
CAN CONSENT BE WITHDRAWN OR GIVEN IN THE MIDDLE  OF A SEXUAL INTERCOURSE?   
It is possible that a woman who gives her consent to a sexual intercourse at the beginning may later change her mind in the course of  The “act” and it is also possible that a woman who does not give her consent at the beginning may later decide to consent to it. Can it be said that there is rape in any of the situations? Under the Nigerian law, it is 
Doubtful if rape can be successfully proved in any of the two cases because “consent” is not clearly defined in the Criminal or Penal Code.
IS RAPE COMMITTED WHEN A SEXUAL INTERCOURSE TAKES PLACE WITH A SLEEPING or DRUNKEN WOMAN?    
It is a case of rape because it means that there is no consent.
IS ANY PENALTY FOR ACCUSING A MAN FOR RAPE?    
There is no penalty prescribed by law for accusing a man for rape, but if an accused person has been tried and found not guilty of the offence, he can maintain civil action known as malicious prosecution, and claim damages…
About the author 
RESEARCHED AND PREPARED by prince. Malachy .C. Njezi ( LLB.Hons)
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For knowledge and Justice

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