A Psychological Note on Rape and Assault for Africa

Africa may be a “shit hole” in the eyes of Euro-American perception as it appears as  a place where anything can be dumped and practiced but through the eyes of Africa cultural traditions and religions the continent, Nigeria included is not a dumping ground for open immoralities.

From the point of human psychology, psychoafricalysis , that is the psychological perspectives of the African ethical and behavioral traditions,  the bodies of females are historically  treasured with care  and respect.

For far too long, and in recent times in Africa,  consciously or unconsciously the perpetration of the culture of rape and battering are now all around us and it appears that the societal perceptions and the lax responses toward females treatment in the media, by the police , courts, schools, families and communities seems to  normalize, justifies or tolerates female assault and rape.

Let’s make this clear a male is mainly the perpetrators of various types of violence globally. As to Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo who is accused of rape and Senator Elisha Abbo  who is accused of assault, as a practitioner of forensic/legal/clinical psychology, I have no way of knowing if these men suffer from aggression related disorder as I did not have  a face to face evaluation of them.

However, from the unusual or upsetting behaviors of these men as see or reported in the media one can learn a lot about violence related behaviors in the African settings especially.

In general terms, let’s see what is unique about men who engage in aggressions like violent attack, child sexual abuse or rape especially.

Rape is a type of sexual assault that usually involves sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual penetration perpetrated against a person without that person’s consent.

The act may be executed by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority or against the individual who is incapable of giving valid consent, such as one who is unconscious, incapacitated, intoxicated, has an intellectual disability or below the legal age of consent.

Rapist like all violent behaviors especially against females is all about the power trip. Rapist get off excitably and are trilled knowing they’ve got power over another human-being.

They swim with excitement when engaged in erotic coercive sexual behavior. They are so delusional and intoxicated with power that they believe in their own mind they can encounter the presence of higher authority through sexual or aggressive control of others. 

They are emotionally weak persons but portrays to be physically solid, and they are very skilled in using communicative manipulation to persuade someone against their wishes.

These batterers whether in form sexual or assaultive acts in some cases suffer from the spirit or condition of extreme sexual jealousy, a common motive in men who kill their female victims.

For those who are married if they have a real choice, they rather maintain an open lifestyle as they are not interested in committed long-term relationships, as such they are always willing to engage in impersonal sex with young females or underage females through real penis, hard or ultra-soft Dildos. 

Some of them mostly prey on pure girls or young females; not used up or experienced ones and they like watching the suffering expressions in their victim’s face.

Some of these men uses alcohol to exert violence on their victims and even if they don’t drink, they are known to encourage their victims to partake in alcohol use in order to apply more control.

They are motivated towards violence as ways to use inappropriate attempts to deal with their emotional struggles within various aspects of their lives which include family, work and other social settings. 

They suffer from empathy or sympathy deficits which is the root of evil acts, as such some of them enter or hide under occupations which the society views as positions of the highest level of dignity.

In their mind they see women as personal property especially in societies where for a long time the rights and liberties of females are subdued simply because of their gender.

But technology and the social media is changing many things now even in the thickest forest and rural areas as well as far away villages where some of our people reside and work. In the African societies, females have been cultured to emotionally and socially respond to  a man’s sense of entitlement.

Batterers know this so they are quick than nonviolent men to attribute negative intentions to their partners’ actions such as blaming them for disrespecting them and behaving negatively.

There are all forms of violence whether direct attack like repeated beatings or slapping, and here are some examples of violent sexual performances; systematic rape is when act of sexual assault is used as a weapon of war in ‘ethnic cleansing’,

Acquaintance or date rape  involves sexual acts forced on one person by a friend,  marital rape  involves  is the act of sexual intercourse with one’s spouse without the spouse’s consent, undetected rape is the act of sexual intercourse where the perpetrator actively engages in consensual sex as well as in a strongarm or forcible way.

 Gang rape happens when a group of people participate in the sexual attack of a single victim, digital rape is when the perpetrator used the finger or fingers to penetrate the vagina of the victim without her consent, spiritual rape is when the victim is sexually  attacked while in a trance, emotional rape is a cautious and systematic  attack on another person’s personality and not their body.

Diminished Capacity Rape is when there is forced sexual penetration on another person who cannot consent to the sex act due to limited intellectual or physical ability. An example would be a person with an intellectual disability or under intoxication.

Statutory rape is sexual actions with a person below a minimum age which is considered illegal, incest is a type of rape involving relationships like family members such parents and children, uncles and nieces or nephews.

Rape, child sexual violence, online sexual abuse, intimate partner violence or violence in general on females especially are associated with a host of short- and long-term difficulties. These include physical injury and ailments, psychological symptoms, economic costs, low work productively, low sex drive, and even death. Rape victims suffer from long term depression, lowered self-esteem, guilt, shame, anxiety, alcohol and drug abuse, poor self-worth, self-blame, stigma, apprehension, poor intimacy, feelings of dirtiness, and other posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) related conditions.

Africa compared to the rest of the world remain highly behind in terms of police, judiciary and community response to Rape and other hurtful violent acts.

Whether we are concerned about sexual aggression or general violent acts the behavior can have traumatic psychological effects on the victim.

There is need to understand ways to carry out assessment and treatment of victims, and rapists respectively.

The attention of treatment for the victim is usually focused on managing psychological symptoms like depression, lowered self-esteem, guilt, shame, anxiety, alcohol and drug abuse, and other acute stress or posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) related conditions.

For the rapist treatment and stiff punishment is always recommended, which is focused on a comprehensive understanding of the main characteristics like sexuality, power, and anger.

In most countries professionally certified or licensed psychologists serve as first clinical responders for traumatized sexual victims in terms of assessment and psychotherapy.

Clinical social workers also assist in the area of couseling, educating the victim about available resources for sexual assault-survivors and their loved ones, as well as assisting with community education.

There is need for a hotline availability which a victim can call to, there is need for  service resources like safehouse or shelters unknown to the abuser, there need for crisis medical centers in  hospitals and no victim should be turned away at any time when they seek urgent care from any medical center.

Usually, the last responder to sexual violent matters is the psychiatrist who on an emergency bases may provide psychiatric evaluation to those in need of medications as it relates to acute stress or severe depression. The psychiatrist along with the Court can provide appropriate treatment for the rapist which could include libido-suppressing drugs, with hormonal drugs to reduce sexual violence recidivism which is generally known as chemical castration.

Given the critical role of psychologists on matters of sexual violence and other violent act in general there is urgent reason why the already passed bill by the National Assembly to establish the Nigerian Council for Psychologists (NCfP) needs the assent of President Muhammadu Buhari.

-John Egbeazien Oshodi, Ph.D. is a Florida based Forensic/Clinical Psychologist. Jos5930458@aol.com

About John Egbeazien Oshodi

Mr John Egbeazien Oshodi, Ph.D. is a Florida based Forensic/Clinical Psychologist

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