Thursday, February 21, 2013

Can Men Claim Rape?

While other LAWMAKERS are thinking of how to make lives safer for their citizens through amendment of bills, rewording outdated legal dictums and encompassing new social ills, African governments including my dear Nigeria will rather prefer to label ‘innocents as criminal’ while the guilty walk free.
About 86years ago, Rape was legally defined as “the carnal knowledge of a female, forcibly and against her will,”

This wording meant that
Only vaginal penetration was termed rape
Anal/Oral penetration were not considered as rape then – rather assault by penetration.
Only men can rape – because penises are the only device for rape
Only females can claim rape
Did this make prosecution easy? Not necessarily because to convict a man of rape first of all, the prosecution had to convince the jury beyond reasonable doubt that the woman was not consenting. Whether he was guilty or not depended on whether or not he thought she was consenting – that is, what was going on in his head - not what was happening to her body. This was the "Morgan" rule which says that a man is not guilty of rape if he believed she was consenting NO MATTER HOW UNREASONABLE THAT BELIEF.
In 1st May 2004, this definition was however changed to incorporate the changing sexual/social landscape therefore a defendant A is guilty of rape if he intentionally penetrates the vagina, anus or mouth of B by his penis without the individual’s consent and/or continues to do so after B has withdrawn consent.

The bit about ‘if A continues to penetrate after B has withdrawn consent’ made me crow with joy. What does that mean Guys  you need to have your brake fluids up to scratch. Even if you don enter and she has an attack of conscience, or her eyes clear of your sweet words or alcohol and she says stop. Stop oo
But even this was still not satisfactory enough for American Sexual violence advocates so in January 2012, the Obama administration further amended the definition to rape.
The new definition, “The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex of another person, without the consent of the victim,” clearly encompasses a much wider range of actions, and more inclusivity for who can be both a perpetrator and a victim.
“These long overdue updates to the definition of rape will help ensure justice for those whose lives have been devastated by sexual violence and reflect the Department of Justice’s commitment to standing with rape victims,” said Attorney General Holder in a statement.
While Lynn Rosenthal, the White House adviser on violence against women says, “It’s a change of our understanding of rape and how seriously we take it as a country.”
I can see that!
So, by my understanding, any part covered by pants/gstring/thong/kpata/dross/napkin/pampers/boxers are legally off limits unless by consent. Imagine! this means that even Uncles who play touchy touchy with little girls even though no penile penetration occurs can now be accused of rape.
This also means that situations in which there is no physical force but the victim is unable to give consent will also fall under the definition – for instance, anyone under the influence of drugs or alcohol or having disabilities that prevent them from understanding what is going on and giving consent.
This new definition also mean that men/boys who have been sodomised or forced to give oral sex against their will can claim Rape. Yes, the greatest number of rapes still happen to women, agreed but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a rising number of male victims of rape who have remained silence cause of societal/gendered stigma (how can a man claim rape? Men love sex etc) and cause the law treated them as victims of assault at the worst leading to the perpetrator getting off on a lighter sentence and less disgrace.

You see why I love America?
Now let’s come back home to Nigeria
The laws against attempted rape and real rape as enshrined in Criminal Code Act: Section 357.
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 threats 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 a married woman, by personating her husband, is guilty of an offence which is called rape.
Section  358. Any person who commits the offence of rape is liable to imprisonment for life, with or without caning.
Section  359. Any person who attempts to commit the offence of rape is guilty of a felony, and is liable to imprisonment for 14 years , with or without caning.
Section 360. Any person who unlawfully and indecently assaults a woman or girl is guilty of a misdemeanour, and is liable to imprisonment for two years.
*That caning matter get as e be shaa.
If I want to think for only women. Then I would say these laws are okay. But we know it is not. Men are being raped. And they are not necessarily homosexuals. If we go back to lesson 101 about rape, it’s not about sex. It’s not about ‘conji’. It’s about power. It’s about debasing another human being. Men can be debased as much as women. And it is happening in our country. But what with anti-homosexual bills being passed, your guess is as good as mine if a male victim can report rape without first being jailed for 14yrs for being gay.
I lie?
Lastly, from this eye opening rape reportage in Nigeria (kudos to the journalists for a job well done), it seems three of the greatest challenges we have in rape reporting is

  1. The judges requesting corroborating evidence (from eye witness account), to torn kpata, blood, semen. How can that be resolved? We know how primitive our forensics are.

  2. This issue about protecting the identity of the victim. Can’t it be enforced by law, “that any media/social media/blogging outlet  that reveals a victim’s name shall be sued..something along those lines”?

  3. What is this about Judges enjoying great latitude to determine punishment for conviction leading to some rapists being sentenced to three months imprisonment? Rape pass rape abi? Even if so the lower limit should be higher than 3months haba!

I know this topic isn’t savoury but it is the reality of many of our sisters and brothers. I welcome comments. Opinions. Comparisons. Thanks.

p.s. Oh, and the answer to my post title, can men claim rape? Not if you live in Nigeria :(


  1. I too have always had an issue with Nigerian journalists/law enforcement plastering victims identities everywhere in these situations. If not their face, than their name, address, or parents names when the victims are children. After having gone through what they have gone through, the least that one can provide them is the decency to not spread their personal information about.

    Sidenote: as far as we (the U.S.) have come in terms of rape-related legislature and legal practice, we still live in a "blame the victim" "she's lying" society. I watched a video a few weeks ago where victims of rape and sexual assault recounted that the worst part of their experience was not the assault but actually going to the doctor/police because no one believed them...some even noting that the police actually said no they don't believe xyz happened.

  2. Men can definitely claim rape. I didn't even have to read the entire post to say yes to that. What about the little boys that are raped by their uncles and neighbors? Or the men in prison who bend down to pick a soap and have something else coming for them - literally? LOL. No funny. But lol.

    My dear, the issue of Nigeria chasing homosexuals is one that has me exhausted. We have sooooo many problems to deal with, and homosexuality is their number one. *hiss*

    And yeah, I freakin' love America, too.

  3. Nigerians are so jobless. This persecution of homosexuals makes me so tired. It's so evil and wicked and just shows how bloodthirsty some Nigerians are. And I can't believe you're even asking if men can be raped. Of course they can.

  4. Nigerians like lying to themselves
    It is an overflow of religion
    Anyone can claim rape but justice is relative
    It is easier for a victim to take a gun and send the assaulter to hades.

  5. Big sis,post was too long! But yes men can be raped! I know this.

  6. Men can claim rape oo. I heard the story of an ice cream seller that was lured into a girls hostel and raped by the depraved girls till he passed out. Don't know how true this is. Even if the guy is gay or straight, he can claim rape because what if the woman held him at gun point and says 'he must do when he doesn't want to?' There is rape there somewhere. A No should be a No from a man or a woman.

  7. Men claiming rape in Naija is serious something, maybe for kids but shame no go let grownass man go claim rape anywhere...sigh! Africans are just moving backwards at everything.

  8. Nigeria stays breaking our hearts, will we ever be forward looking? Le sigh

  9. In Nigeria, a man claiming rape will really be so absurd and that's bad. So, in Naija, I don't think a man will claim he has been raped.
    When it comes to reporting on rape cases, our journalists have always been so shoddy and unprofessional about it all. I mean, why should details of a vitim be published in the prints when the stigma is still very much heavy around such victim? That's nonsense.

  10. Men can certainly claim rape but as you said, not in Nigeria. And it would appear that most women can't Nigeria.



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