I empathize with her. I doubt that she would want to come out just to destroy those folks. Yet, she loved him and you never know how these things turn into a backlash. Love or even marriage is no excuse for rape or abuse. I also read the sordid details of the (non-consensual) group sex. And she kept going back? What can I say… it also comes down to her age, a state of mind and whatever hold they had on her. Many people have been known to maintain an attraction to monsters. I’m not sure why or how this happens. They like racy guys with powerful and controlling personae. We saw a lot of this in school between dangerous cult guys and naive babes. Some of those babes were also below 18 and in year 1 or 2. But during the period of this madness, you cannot tell them anything. “It’s crazy love”, they say. No doubt, the burden of responsibility lies with the one who is over 18 in these relationships/affairs. They are supposed to be the one who should take control and prevent an escalation, etc. Again, I do not judge her or even the Audus. I don’t know them or have proof of what really happened. Just speaking to the issue.
Now will anything happen to these guys, even if there is proof of these sexual encounters? Since she was 17 at the time, one main concern here is proving statutory rape and making it stick. Now my question is: do we have a legal age of consent (regarding sexual relations) in Nigeria? What is that age? If it is indeed below 18, how come people are able to marry “under-aged” girls and we have not heard of anyone being charged, even as some of these same girls will go on to be pregnant and have babies before 18. Apart from being sorry for Sugarbelly and wishing her the best, I am hoping this sends out a clear message to other young people out there, that they should not settle for an abusive relationship, under any guise. Also, grown-ups must behave responsibly and with due consideration for the disadvantaged party. Sadly, even married folk and adults in relationships endure all these things she said happened to her. These are the issues for me.
Epilogue – November 28, 2015
So there is a Nigerian law that prohibits persons from having sexual relations with minors/children? The law defines children as people under the age of 18. Yes, EIGHTEEN. Yet, scores of thousands of children deliver babies every year. As we sit here, there are 16 year old girls in Abeokuta, Damaturu and Ogbe-Ijoh writhing under labour pains in a hospital or native delivery home. More than likely these girls would have been impregnated by men over the age of 18. Even 70 year old men. And what happens after that? NOTHING. What more proof is there that a crime has been committed? What of the ones that will be married off at 14 and start birthing babies at 16? Don’t question our culture and beliefs is the refrain here.
Today the discussion is on #Sugarbelly because she has a voice and her defilers are men of means. I feel nothing but empathy for her and would never trivialize her ordeal and suffering. However, what happens to the thousands of Jane Does? The Onomes, Bukolas and Basirats all over the Ostrich Republic that is Nigeria? Which case has ever been taken to the courts to seek redress for these ones? Which hospital has ever reported these crimes to the Police? What about the aiders and abetters? The parents who hide under the shield of poverty and ignorance to betray their own offspring?
Woe is us as a country because we do not enforce laws that affect the most vulnerable among us.
Child Right Act, Section 31.
Unlawful sexual intercourse with a child, etc.
1. No person shall have sexual intercourse with a child.
2. A person who contravenes the provision of subsection (1) of this section commits an offence of rape and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for life.
3. Where a person is charged with an offence under this section, it is immaterial that –
(a) the offender believed the person to be above the age of 18 years
(b) the sexual intercourse was with the consent of the child.