What is the right punishment for rapists?

Rights activists, lawyers, lecturers and mothers comment on the appropriate punishment for rapists

Tf the victim is an underage, the offence should be life imprisonment. This is because it is horrible and pervasive to defile a minor. Anybody who rapes a child is mentally sick. Such an individual should not live among people. But when the victim is an adult, the jail term should be in the region of 20 to 25 years.

In cases where the accused persons are minors, they should be made to go through reformation. This is because you cannot destroy the life of children because they commit a crime. Such children should be in reformation centres until when experts certify them okay for release. This is what most criminal laws suggest. Such minors should remain in rehabilitation centres until medical and psychological reports say they could be taken back to the society.- • Festus Keyamo (Human rights lawyer)

There is no punishment that would serve as a deterrent. We need to find a way to stop them from raping. That is the first thing we need to do. It is not everybody that is a serial rapist. We need to study the system in which we operate and come up with what could stop it. We need to do a proper research. We have academics in this country. They need to go out there and do something that would help us to find a solution. We need facts and data to help us to determine what would work for us.

If you say they should be castrated, that would not help us. How many people do you want to castrate? If you say they should be sent to life imprisonment, how many people do you want to send to life imprisonment? Many of the suspects could be helped. Everybody now rapes – children rape. Do you also want to castrate them or send them to life imprisonment?

We need to study the trend to determine the appropriate punishment. Germany adopts castration but most of the times it is applied to serial rapists. There are a lot of things we do not know about those who commit the offence. That is why we need a research on the issue.- • Dr. Princess Olufemi-Kayode (Executive Director, Media Concern Initiative)

For certain offences such as robbery, the victims may feel the pain of losing their properties. But when it comes to rape, which brings psychological effects for life, the implications for the offenders should be a huge one. I know somebody that was violated. He is now approaching the age of 40 but the trauma continues. For example, if somebody violates children, there should be adequate punishments. Rapists are not sane members of the society. They should be castrated. Rape should be taken seriously as corruption. I will recommend 30 years’ imprisonment. The rapists should also pay for the crime committed. It is not about jail term alone. The rapists should be made to pay like N20m or even N30m. The victims should receive money.

The criminal justice system should make this provision mandatory. I think if those intending to rape are aware of this, it would serve as a deterrent. Handing out six-month imprisonment to rapists has not served any purpose. Rape has become so rampant that something drastic has to be done. Because of the psychological effects on the victims, I think it deserves a more stringent punishment. You can imagine the pains of a parent whose child has been violated by one idiot. It calls for concern and action.- • Olufemi Aduwo (Rights activist)

The incidence of rape cases in the country is alarming and absurd. Something drastic and urgent should be done to check the trend. The trauma suffered by victims cannot be overemphasised. I think there should be a harsh legislation that would serve as deterrence to people who engage in rape. The minimum jail term they should be given is 35 years. Also, rape cases should be given accelerated hearing. In the same vein, our law should also frown on any form of sexual molestation. When you go to the market, you see male traders sexually harassing female buyers, forcefully holding them and dragging them. This is where it begins. When you jail people for touching girls, ladies and women illicitly, rapists would know that the game is up.- • Mrs. Funmi Abegunde (Retired banker)

A rapist is a criminal and should be tried in line with international criminal law. A rapist devalues humanity, devalues womanhood and creates an atmosphere of insecurity for all humans. Being raped is a death sentence for young, middle age and old women. It is very difficult and challenging and a trauma for victims of rape to confess that she’s been raped. It is an injury for life and a highly premeditated act by the rapist. In this context, if a rape is a premeditated act against a female, we should protect at all times, our humanity and womanhood. If a rapist is caught in the act or is proved beyond any reasonable doubt that a man has committed a rape, the Mosaic law should be applicable to him. His daughter, wife or murder should be raped. Or at best, he should be sentenced to life imprisonment.- • Siyan Oyeweso (Professor of History)

Rape is a criminal offence all over the world and it carries severe punishment. In some countries, especially, communist and Islamic-oriented countries, it could take life imprisonment.

Even in liberal western countries like USA, UK, France, rape carries many years of imprisonment. In Nigeria, culprits are hardly jailed for rape.

Even the victims and their relatives hardly get the cases reported. This is because of the perceived stigma.

It a sin against God and a crime against humanity, which in my opinion should attract nothing less than 10-year imprisonment.- • Dr. Emmanuel Ufuophu-Biri (HOD,  Mass Communication,  Delta State University, Abraka)

I think the Lagos State Government has done the appropriate thing. The law specifies a life imprisonment. If that could be replicated at the national level and implemented, it would serve as a deterrent. There was a time in Lagos when people convicted of defiling minors were fined N1,000. The punishment is now life imprisonment but I don’t think many people are aware of the law.

The Lagos State Government should be emulated by the Federal Government if it sincerely wants to stop rape. It is not just about making a law; enforcement needs to be stepped up. It is unfortunate that rape, despite the campaign, has been on the increase. This should worry relevant stakeholders. – • Juliana Iregbu (Programme Officer, Centre for Constitutional Governance)

My personal opinion is that the punishment should be life imprisonment and nothing else. The traumatic effects of rape are far-reaching and cannot be quantified. Rapists destroy lives. Imagine what just happened in India where a lady who was raped three years ago was raped again by the same people. That is what happens when stringent punishments are not applied to such a grievous crime. It is a very terrible crime and should not be seen to be condoned. We have cases of fathers molesting their daughters and girls being raped at gunpoint. The girls and women affected are never the same again. I support life imprisonment for rapists. Our daughters are endangered in this country and instead of the perpetrators to be jailed for life, we go about blaming women generally. So, for me, it should be life imprisonment. Anything else falls short.- • Aisha Yesufu (Entrepreneur, activist)

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