AN ASSESSMENT OF THE IMPACT OF SEX EDUCATION AND RAPE AMONG YOUTH IN NIGERIAN SECONDARY SCHOOLS

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INTRODUCTION

Rape is one of the crimes committed by man. It is a sin against humanity and is condemned in every decent human society. Legally speaking, the concept of rape varies, depending on the legal system and the value system of a society. The word rape is from the Latin word rapere, which means to take by force. The subject of the verb is sex, when this word (rapere) is applied to human being; it means to take sex by force without the full consent of the victim. Rape according to Guptas (2009) is an unlawful sexual intercourse by a man or woman under the age of 16 years or above that is against her will or her will has been obtained by putting her in fear of death or hurt. In legal terms, rape is a criminal offence. It is a crime a man commits by unlawfully or forcefully having a carnal knowledge of a woman without the consent of the victim through intimidation, force or fraud.

            In many traditional societies where men are seen as superior beings, wives do not usually have the right to deny their husbands sex. Patriarchal traditional societies do not often consider what is known as marital rape to be rape. This situation in which rape moves from the purely sexual to an act of masculine expression is captured in the following words by Seifert in Onah (2011)

rape is not primarily sexual, but rather, it is an act of oppression. It is an aggressive expression of sexuality, but a sexual expression of oppression.  Onah explains that in the perpetrators psych, it does not fulfill sexual functions, but it is a manifestation of anger, violence and domination of a woman, the purpose is to degrade, humiliate and subjugate her (p.61).

In the patriarchal view, women are men’s subject and must be submissive to them in everything including sex. Consequently, sex by force is not rape but a sign of men’s demonstration of their power over women. In early America, rape was seen simply as demonstration of men’s power over women. The white and the rich are not prosecuted when they rape black women because of the social structure that favoured the white race and the wealthy class. Consequently, Anne. L.B in Encyclopedia Britannica (2010) noted that rape is often explained or excused as a manifestation of racial, ethnic and class hatred or as stemming from a patriarchal system in which women are viewed as the property of men. Loys (2009) explained that “patriarchal power included sexual violence” ( p.29).

The legal definition of rape has changed substantially since the late 20th century. In the primitive world there was rarely anything like rape because patriarchal structure did not permit women’s power and opinion in sex. Consequently, they were obliged to submit when men asked for it. In line with this view, Anne .L.B in Encyclopedia Britannica (2010) opined that the traditional definition of rape was narrow with

 Respect to both gender and age; rape was an act of sexual intercourse by

a man with a woman against her will. As rape is now understood, a rapist

or a victim may be an adult of either gender or a child. Although rape can

occur in same-sex intercourse, it is most often committed by a male against

a female.

It is now evident that rapists and their victims can be anybody irrespective of gender, age and race.

However, the definition of rape has been more broadened in the 21st century. Before a man sleeps with a woman outside his wife, the man is supposed to get the consent of the woman because any sexual intercourse without the consent of the girl is a full rape, to put it in another way, rape is forcefully having carnal knowledge of a girl without her consent. Eager (1989) agrees with this view when she defined rape “as taking sexual relation by force or threat without the victims consent” (p.17). Furthermore, based on the findings by F.B.I  in 2012, the understanding of rape continues to broaden, with reports of same-sex rape and female rapist discovered. However, statistics still show that many rape convicts are male. According to David (2006,p.36) “Most research indicates that rape affects women disproportionately, with the majority of people convicted being men”. A report by CNN.com (2013) gives the statistics of rape and victims in America as follows:

In the 2001 national Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 10.2% of girls and 5.1% of boys reported “[having] ever been physically forced to have sexual intercourse when [they] did not want to” In a 2010 study of heterosexual couples where sexual coercion existed, 45% reported female victimization, 30%    reported male victimization and 20% reported reciprocal victimization, In 2011, a study supported by a research grant from the Department of Education and Science of Spain found based on a “convenience sample of 13,877 students in 32 nations” that 2.4% of males and 1.8% of females admitted to having physically forced someone into having sex in the last year. In a 2014 study of 18,030 high school students, there was no statistically significant difference between males and females for the reported rate of having been physically forced to have sex,

This research survey shows that women are the most victims of rape while instances of male are reported.

Considerably, victims of rape are mostly minors or under age; those within age 16-18. This is probably because rape has a lot to do with force and rapist will identify their prey within this age. The people within this age are usually those they can overpower with ease. Supporting this position, Sexual Assault and Rehabilitation center (Tarma sarc,) noted that victims of rape are mostly minors and they are largely unreported. Accordingly, their statistics on rape of minors in Enugu State are as follows:

Ages between 0-5 =51

Ages between 6-10 =101

Ages between 11-13 =91

Ages between 14-17=99

Total number of raped minors are 553

Obviously, this record shows that majority of rape victims are girls and are minors. In line with this view, Bode (1998) noted that “rape is a sexual intercourse with a woman under the legal age of consent” (27).  The legal age in Nigeria is from the age of 18. This is when an adult is considered liable for his/her actions in Nigerian constitution. However, it is also important to note that even old people can be victims of rape. For instance, there was the case of Mr Nnanna Osondu, a man in his early 30s from opi community in Nsukka Local Government Area of Enugu State, who raped about five old women of about 60years to 70years. Nija.com (2013). This case makes it difficult to define rape with the age of the victim as a major index.

According to researchers, the sources of the definitions of rape are dynamic and are better defined legally in order to capture gender, age, and race. Muehlenha and Kimes (1999) averred that definitions of rape come from the law, the media, research and political activities and even within any one of those domains. Defining rape according to law, Guptas (2009,p.82) noted that “rape is an unlawful sexual intercourse by a man or woman under the age of 16years or above that is against his or her will or her will has been obtained by putting her in fear of death or hurt”.

In Nigeria, rape is a theft and is highly condemned and life imprisonment is the punitive. This is reported bellow under the federal criminal code

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