Sunday, August 26, 2012

Nigerian Media and Irresponsible Rape Reporting


Just when I thought Nigerian journalists couldn’t sink lower. I saw this headline written by a Cyriacus Izuekwe on the Naija news room. It seems PM News and Punch also carried the sordid tale.
What the deuces is wrong with the society I come from? 
How can the media indirectly label an 11 year old a 'nympho'? What does an 11 year old know about sex? Is that the issue at stake here?

I think not. 

The issue at stake is that an adult man of 20 years who has his option of peers, older women, even sex workers chose to have sex with an 11 yr old. Lets think back, at 11 yrs I was in primary 5. I was still reading books written by Enid Blyton. Playing ten ten. boyfriend was a bad word. Kissing was equated with hellfire. Sex? don't even think it.

This is why governments came up with laws to protect little children from themselves and from abusive adults like these. Of course she might have liked what was done to her. Sadly physiology and the psyche do not reach maturity at same time. She may also think that she likes sex because she associates it with gifts. The alleged abuser was probably showering her with biscuits and sweets to make her amenable. What child can't be bought with biscuits and sweets? My friends little girl endures all the pulls on her hair during hair making as long as she is holding candy. An 11 yr old can endure someone fiddling with her vagina for same.
Look at stories written by women abused as children. It always starts with the stinky Uncle/Father who gave gifts. They sit on  his laps gorging on the sweets while he has his wicked ways with them. Some kids become wise fast and raise the bar by asking for more expensive gifts. Does that mean they are colluders in their abuse? 
No!
Be that as it may.. the important thing to note is that she is underage and not expected or likely to appreciate the FULL CONSEQUENCES of sexual activities - pregnancy, stds. Nor is her body biologically ready to bear the brunt of its consequences. 
That is why the onus lies on the older party To not sexually abuse her.

And that is why media houses reporting that an 11yr old said she enjoyed sex should be stopped, sued or made to pull such report off the web.
It is irresponsible and shames the child who is supposed to be the innocent party, as a slut. 
 I can already hear commenters who will read and say ‘ oh wicked generation', 'Children of nowadays are spoilt/bad etc, neglecting the part played by the adult who wilfully and criminally took advantage of a child.
Yes she said it but I will be surprised if a judge allows that as evidence of consensual sex in court. 
All I am saying is that the news serves no purpose and its high time media houses are taken to task on their reportage of cases of sexual harassment/sexual abuse.
Just like in the Absu rape case where the victim's blurry face photo was paraded even more than that of the rapists. 
Or recently on Bella Naija, news about teenage Chinese prostitutes who were rescued from their slave traders....you'd think the faces of the leaders of the prostitution ring will be on parade not the teenagers
Or the 'disbelieving' tone of a report about a young man that was raped by 3 women somewhere in the North.
or three years ago when a strip club was raided in Ikeja/Lekki and the pictures of the naked girls were plastered all over the papers while the club owner and patrons of the club were protected.

Victims should be protected not the perpetrators please. Especially underage victims. The litmus test for an article should always be...What is the purpose of this article? Who does it benefit? What reaction do I hope to elicit? Does it protect human dignity?
Would I write this if the victim was my son/daughter/brother/sister/wife?



26 comments:

  1. Good to hear from you G
    I do think the Naija media is not alone in this.
    In the UK, women groups have complained about the way rape victims are often portrayed in the media and treated by lawyers defending their attackers.
    Will it change anytime soon........very doubtful especially as women are often their own harshest critics.

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    1. Hi NIL,
      I know that rape victims have an uphill struggle with the media and change is slooooow in coming but come it will.
      My grouse here is that this is child. A child!! haba. Reporters shouldn't sacrifice a child's dignity to increase readership na. It's not right.

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  2. It is just sad the way the media works and it is not only in Nigeria...I never got to read the story of the rape because the title alone actually put me off.

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    Replies
    1. I can imagine your vex. I was so angry I just turned to my blog to let off steam.

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  3. Bless you Ginger. You've said it. As if that declaration makes the criminal act ok. It just makes me sad that the newspapers would use those kinda headlines to sell the sad stories

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    1. I'm sad too. I just wish I knew how to get them to pull that article.

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  4. Oh MY GOD. That screen cap just made me throw up. Are these people SICK??????

    An ELEVEN year old child. WHO THE FUCK WRITES THESE ARTICLES??

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    1. Who writes the articles?
      Last time I checked ..men. insensitive men. sick men.

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  5. Shocking, but then sensational headlines have always sold papers and guaranteed hits.. Surely there is a limit though...

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    1. Exactly! have no problems with sensational copy but when the focus is a kid..Not right

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  6. In Nigeria, the victim is to be doubted. Even the Law doesn't help in this regard. In the Criminal Code, for there to be 'a rape' it must be corroborated by a third party. The victim's account is dismissed if there's no such corroboration unless the victim comes from an influential family that can bend the law to suit their needs. In addition, a child is seen as even more of an unreliable witness and MUST have his/her evidence corroborated by a third party or there is no weight attached to the evidence. This is typical patriarchal Nigeria, where police men don't know the law from their asses and believe every girl that gets raped deserved it because she was making 'come and do eyes' at her attacker, to a lot of male journalists who find it hard to dissociate their manhood from unbiased reportage and feel the need to cast the victims as the villians for daring to be raped and not the other way round. And then you have rape and child abuse; the Nigerian perspective. Sickening and disheartening.

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    1. Wow thanks for the informative comment Cherry.
      It gets crazier and crazier. Third party to corroborate? Really? The rapist's witness or her witness? No wonder it is even harder to prove a rape case in Nigeria.
      well this child's case was reported by a third party who actually caught the guy redhanded. I do hope justice gets served.
      Unbiased reportage - tell me about it. smh

      Delete
  7. Ignorance seems to reign supreme where common sense fails to fucntion in Naija...expecially with the ways our journalists do things at times.

    Its easy to just run one's mouth a label an 11 yr old. But does anyone know the history of the child? Does anyone know whether she comes from a home where she had been abused? They just assume she's like that.

    And again...I'm not surprised that an 11 year old would make such a confession...what with the kind of music, videos and movies that pervade the screens today. Kids are being exposed to adult things and forced to grow way too quickly...

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    1. Wow, Afronut visits and comments! Thank you and welcome :)

      'Kids are being exposed to adult things and forced to grow way too quickly'
      No truer words. Children are sexualised way too early but...that's why the laws were made to protect them. from themselves and from the preying adults.
      But the law is failing them badly.

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  8. I can't believe the media a reported that.. plus surely the child shouldn't be allowed to speak to the media without her parents or a responsible adult who can censor what she says..
    that is just so wrong! so so so wrong! child abuse is lot more than common sense of sex is wrong.. it is psychological.. unfortunately there is a lot more to it than meets the eye... *sigh*

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    1. Angel you just noted something very important! Her parents/guardians! I am guessing they are illiterate and might not even be aware of the article. I hope her legal representatives speak up for her. The girl is gonna need lots of counselling. smh

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  9. I saw that title on my blog feeds and didn't bother to read further. Nigerian journalists, some of them anyway, are so base, but I often think they are a reflection of the wider society. A lot of education, training and capacity building is required. Thanks for this post.

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  10. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!! WHere is the reblog button?!

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    1. I don't have one o. Abeg if you have lawyerly friends can you send this to them? I'm sure there is some law that criminalises this nonsense.

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  11. I'm just tired of all that backward reporting that naija media too. SMH.

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  12. Was the report trying to argue that because the victim enjoyed "it" it wasn't rape? With a caption like that, that could be their only reasoning. But then again, I'm not suprised. Pissed!!! Absolutely! But not surprised. It happens everywhere like Lara said. Wasn't only recently that a New York Times reporter wrote a shameful piece on a 11-year old (read here: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/09/us/09assault.html)victim of gang rape who apparently brought it on herself because of the adult way she dressed (lipstick, short skirts and such).

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  13. I am afraid we will never be able to protect our youth, our leaders will only cry out when children of rich and affluence folks are the victims. I remember how innocent I was when I was 11... I was in JSS2 and I couldn’t make any "Smart" decisions for myself, I would give away all my pocket money and provision and starve until my mum came to visit. The victim is only 11, she has no idea how her decision will affect her future.... things like this just break my heart, Nigeria has no leaders.

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  14. The truth is a headline like that screams BUY ME or READ ME and that is all they want. Sensational journalism. I remember when a Nigerian actress' nude pictures were in PM News years ago, the paper that was sold for N20 normally was sold for N50 that evening and they sold out! People are to blame as well for being attracted to things like this. In a morally upright society (are there still any?) news like this would not sell.

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  15. You are very passionate about these issues. Why don't you come and start your NGO in nigeria, for women and kids? What do you think?

    I agree with you 100%. The news is useless.

    ReplyDelete

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