Statistics have shown that 8 out of every 10 teenage girls in Nigeria are sexually abused before the age of 18 by their teachers, friends, neighbours, colleagues and a host of others. However, only 1.3% of them speak out for remedies. Those who speak out are further abused by the system – the police, community elders and women in the neighbourhood. Little girls, children and adult ladies are first introduced into pain in our system because we see them as subhuman appendages.


A report released by the Office of the Public Defender in Lagos State indicates a grievous number of sexual offense cases in 2016. There were 14 cases of attempted rape, 37 incidents involved domestic violence-related forms of sexual assault, 42 cases involved infants below five years, and 86 incidents affected children between 6 and 10 years while those from 11 to 13 years were victims in 73 of the reported cases. Teenagers between 14 and 17 years were victims of sexual assault in 81 cases; 86 incidents involved those between 18 and 22 years, while 73 other cases concerned victims between 23 and 29 years. 30 years and above were victims in 31 reported cases.

Nigeria, being a patriarchal society, endorses male privilege and subjugates the female thereby perpetuating these crimes within the society. Most victims of violence of any kind are women and young girls.

There are laws in Nigeria against sexual offenses and domestic violence. These laws cannot enforce themselves. They require human elements to activate them, bring them to the fore, procure arrest of offenders when necessary and get conviction. We must speak out first. The ladies who are the commonest victims of sexual abuse must speak out. Break the Silence! Damn the threat of the abuser and report to us first. You will be fine, we assure you. If you don’t speak out you would have failed yourself and let society down.

If a man or woman touches you indiscriminately without your consent or with your consent but obtained by duress, fraud, deceit or any other deceptive tendency, he/she has harassed you sexually. If someone uses vulgar language against you by calling you “ashawo” (prostitute), as it’s often done here, it is sexual harassment. If someone forces you to have sex with him, it is rape. These are offenses under our laws but you must speak out first. Break the silence! Let us know about it. We will not let you down. We will ensure that justice is served for all intents and purposes.

You may be guilty of an offence as an enabler if you keep quiet about sexual harassment on you or another person in Lagos state. This is punishable by a prison term of three years with or without fine, depending on the degree of the said offence. You are protected by law once you break the silence. Don’t allow the elders of your community or your family members settle a case of sexual harassment; they have no jurisdiction by law to hear such matters. They will pressure you to assume jurisdiction; say no and report to us. We must develop ourselves, become outspoken and demand for justice at all cost on any wrongdoing or violation against our human dignity.