Psychologist, Dr. Adebimpe Oluwafisayo Identifies One Of The Significant Barriers To Women Reporting Rape

A Consultant Psychologist at the College of Health, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomosho, Oyo State, Dr Adebimpe Oluwafisayo, has said cultural and social stigmatisation associated with rape acts as significant barriers to women reporting rape

The specialist, in a chat with PUNCH correspondent, said rape victims undergo various psychological traumas due to their victimisation, saying many of them suffer depression, low self-esteem, and exhibit suicidal tendencies. In her words:

“It is unfortunate that some cultures still hold women to be responsible for the act of rape. It is a crime that is often misunderstood and surrounded by myths. Crimes against women have crossed all limits and must, therefore, become a matter for serious concern to the authorities in Nigeria.

“Many blame the Nigerian and foreign movies for the rising incidences of rape, which in my view is largely untrue because there are millions of people like myself who watch movies daily and do not think that rape is the right way to go. No one would, however, deny that some movies are a bad reflection of the Nigerian society when it comes to the issue of women.”

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She said there was the need for the development of methods of assessment and management of sex offenders to mount a society-wide battle against the scourge in the country. The expert added:

“The surge in sexual violence towards women requires a multi-pronged response that should involve not just organised and non-organised sectors, but also individuals as members of society. Perpetrators of rape often have mental health and psychosocial risk factors that trigger, maintain and perpetuate the offence.

Psychiatry can play a constructive and educative role in assisting criminal justice agencies in managing this scourge. For the discipline to do so, it requires leadership and vision in developing the neglected field of forensic mental health.

READ ALSO: Experts To Parents: How To Protect Your Girl-child From Potential Rapists

National mental health planning must include centres that can train the next generation of professionals in the assessment and management of offending behaviours such as rape.”

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