Sunday, September 25, 2011

Nigerian women to march against rape

Guardian (UK)
22 September 2011

High-profile incidents lead to rare public focus on issue, with campaigners claiming rapists offend with 'impunity'

David Smith

Women in Nigeria are planning to march in protest at what they say is a hidden epidemic of rape and sexual violence in Africa's most populous country.

The issue has received rare public attention after the emergence of an online video in which a woman is apparently gang-raped and pleads with her assailants to kill her.

This followed another recent incident in which it was alleged that a young woman assigned to a community to perform volunteer service had been raped by a traditional ruler.

Local campaigners hope that a show of anger on the streets – possibly on 25 November, the International Day Against Violence Against Women – will force Nigeria's leaders to end a conspiracy of silence.


The wave of public revulsion has been triggered by an online video that purports to show five men taking turns to rape a woman in a university dormitory.

In the grainy footage, the five men promise to drive the woman home, pushing her back down each time she starts to stand up. The woman cries several times: "Please just kill me." The men laugh.

The 10-minute video had circulated for weeks around the campus of Abia State University near the Niger delta before being posted on the internet. It appears to take place in a single-room dormitory or student hostel.

Nigeria's youth minister, Bolaji Abdullahi, called for the university and police to arrest and prosecute the men shown in the video, as well as offering assistance to the woman.

"The attitude of these men, if indeed they are young Nigerians, does not represent the character and nature of the Nigerian youth," the minister said.

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