Catholic News Service of Nigeria - Lagos & English Africa Service – Vatican City
Archbishop Martins describes Rape as an afront to God who created girls and women. It is also an affront to the sacredness of the bodies of victims.
Rape causes grave damage
“The Holy Scriptures and the Church down through the ages have condemned all sexual perversion including rape,” declared Archbishop Martins. The Church has always taught that, “Rape deeply wounds the respect, freedom, physical and moral integrity of the victim. It causes grave damage to the victim, sometimes for life. Rape is an intrinsically evil act that is even more grave and condemnable when inflicted on children either by parents (incest) or those who exercise any form of authority over them especially those responsible for their education," said the Lagos prelate.
A spike in rape cases
Nigeria has, in recent months, seen an increase in the crime of Rape against women and the girl child. Gender-Based Violence experts are discussing whether there is an actual increase in the heinous crime or that Nigerian society is talking more about many rape cases that simply went unreported in the past. It could also be an indication, they say, that Nigerian society is beginning to come to terms with its hitherto culture of silence surrounding sexual violence.
State must ensure justice for victims
Archbishop Martins stressed that urgent steps must be taken to rid Nigerian society of the evil of Rape.
The Archbishop called on the Nigeria Police to ensure justice for victims of Rape. He appealed to Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO’s), health workers across the country and other relevant professionals bodies to offer care and necessary counselling to victims of Rape.
Nigerian states must domesticate the Child Rights Act
The National Assembly too must find ways of ensuring that all states in the country domesticate the Child Rights Act in order to give full legal protection and guard against the abuse of children, counselled the Archbishop.