Original Research - Special Collection: Africa Platform for NT Scholars

The upsurge of rape during the COVID-19 lockdown in Nigeria and its effects on survivors

Kingsley I. Uwaegbute, Daniel C. Unachukwu
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 78, No 3 | a6996 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v78i3.6996 | © 2022 Kingsley I. Uwaegbute, Daniel C. Unachukwu | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 21 July 2021 | Published: 18 May 2022

About the author(s)

Kingsley I. Uwaegbute, Department of Religion and Cultural Studies, Faculty of Social Science, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria; Department of New Testament and Related Literature, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Daniel C. Unachukwu, Department of Religion and Cultural Studies, Faculty of Social Science, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria; Department of New Testament and Related Literature, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

As one of the global measures for containing the spread of the dreaded coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Nigerian government imposed a total lockdown from 30 March 2020 to 15 May 2020. This exposed a lot of women and children to a greater level of sexual violence such as rape, which has persisted even before COVID-19. On 14 July 2020, the Nigerian Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Pauline Tallen, reportedly said that over 3600 rape cases were recorded across Nigeria during the lockdown. The sudden rise in cases of rape in the country calls for urgent attention. The article explores the effects of rape during the COVID-19 lockdown in Nigeria using expository and phenomenological designs. It used data obtained from: (1) articles and commentaries on the websites of various newspapers in Nigeria, (2) existing works and (3) interviews with women and girls who were either survivors or connected to the victims of rape during the COVID-19 lockdown in Nigeria. The findings corroborate the notion that rape, especially during the COVID-19 lockdown, is a very traumatic experience that has negative effects on the survivors in a physical, psychological and sociological way. The data also indicate that the upsurge of rape incidences in Nigeria is an epidemic that should also be treated as a public health emergency.

Contribution: This research revealed diverse health and safety approaches that should be adopted to mitigate further escalation of rape, which includes enforcement of anti-sexual harassment bills, intensified orientation and awareness through campaigns.


Keywords

COVID-19; rape; effects of rape; women; children; Nigeria

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