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City of Banjul
Wednesday, September 27, 2023

The increase in rape cases


In a meeting last month, a report revealed that the number of rape cases in the country has increased immensely. It was also reported that due to family interference, it is almost impossible to prosecute perpetrators successfully as most times, family members withdraw the cases before the courts complete prosecution.

It is well known that rape is one of the most heinous crimes one can commit. Rape scars its victim for life and no one can ever do anything that can make the victim forget about it completely. Rape is such a horrible act that it affects not only the victim but her family as well. The trauma that results from being raped is abiding.

Reports also show that many a time, the rapist is either a family member or a friend of the family. That is perhaps what explains the unwillingness of most families to go through with prosecutions as they see it as tarnishing the image of the family. The problem with doing that is that it leaves the victim to suffer for life, alone.

The minister for gender has appealed for victims to not only report rape cases but to do it on time so as to preserve the evidence which can be used to secure a conviction. She appealed to family members to stop withdrawing cases so that the government can successfully prosecute perpetrators. This will serve as a deterrent for would-be perpetrators.

The silver lining is that the minister revealed recently that government is working with partners to establish a special court for rape cases. She also said that plans are afoot to establish a forensics laboratory to help do the investigations here at home. This will go a long way in making prosecution easier and more successful.

Perhaps government should go a step further in not only prosecuting perpetrators of rape but also family members who temper with evidence or try to protect perpetrators such that the government cannot go ahead with prosecutions. When someone does something that prevents the government from prosecuting a perpetrator of any crime. such a person is obstructing justice which is in itself a crime which should be punished.

Another thing that can help is intensifying awareness creation in society. In this everyone should be involved. From government agencies concerned with the protection of women, to religious leaders, educators, civil society, parents and all well meaning people in the country. This is a menace everyone has to fight, together so as to minimise, if not eradicated completely, in the country.

Rape is evil.

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