The Center for Impact Advocacy (CIA) and Adopt a Goal for Development Initiative (AGDI) are alerting state and non-state actors in Nigeria to the continuous rise of rape for rituals, as more women and girls face existential threat from the unabated rape pandemic in the country.
The civil society groups are of the view that this form of rape is not projected as it should be and as such not often discussed in public especially when rape cases are addressed.
In a joint statement signed by Mojirayo Ogunlana-Nkanga of CIA and Ariyo-Dare Atoye of Adopt a Goal, they described the situation as worrisome, adding that urgent intervention is required to curb the menace.
“The case of rape for ritual is one which is eating deep into our localities, it is spreading faster and debasing our women and destroying our girls, this is very alarming and requires urgent intervention,” the statement reads.
“This aspect of rape is done for ritual purposes and spiritual cleansing, and it is embedded in occultism and voodooism.
“While the unabated cases of rape in general are bad enough, and deserving of capital punishment, and while we must do everything to fight it,this aspect of rape for rituals which has not featured prominently in public and intentional discourse, must be addressed with a different approach.
According to the groups,they share the same ideology with actors and activist that understand the gravity of the crime and fight to bring it to an end but feels that rape for ritual should be treated differently.
“We are on the same page with activists and actors who believe that rape is rape, and it must be confronted and fought to a standstill, but we have since discovered that the current public and global actions against rape cannot significantly address the worrisome trend of rape for rituals.
“Rape for ritual has eaten deeper into our communities, even as more women and girls now live in ‘fear’unfortunately, some notorious traditional herbalists, occultic practitioners and ritualists, have been found to be culpable in the unconscionable and barbaric practices of recommending women and girls for violation and ritual.
“For instance, these wicked souls do recommend to their clients, sex with a virgin as a spiritual cleansing of sort; while blood from penetrative sex with a virgin is said to be used for ritual purposes: this could significantly explain for the rising incident of rape of minors.
“There are also other degrees of rape for rituals, which have actually been with us for a long time, but which have not received any significant responses and actions.
The CSOs however, stressed that “this aspect of rape, will require a different methodology and actions, while activists and actors are combating rising cases of rape in general.