I decided to handle the issue of rape in one of my radio programs “Women’s World”. I then conducted interviews with some school girls to find out if they have been affected either directly or indirectly be rape and I had these stories.
• A young girl who got raped by a family friend. The girl had to go to the boy’s house on the invitation of the boy whom she trusted as a family friend. Unfortunately after the act, the girl got pregnant at 12 and the boy from a so-called rich family ran away and was never punished.
• Another girl was almost raped by her uncle. As she narrates, her uncle came to her rum in the absence of his wife and started making advances at her. Having heard about rape before and seeing the danger she was in, she had to hit her uncle on his groin and escape. Unfortunately for her, the family did not want to believe her story but accused her for attempting to kill her uncle and to divide the family.
• Another narrated what happened to her neighbor. She was raped along the way to the school at a place called “down bush”. A bushy area so to say. Similarly, a young child was severely raped in another bushy area and her womb completely destroyed at the age of 6.
• The fourth story came from this young girl who believes that her friend was almost raped because of the indecent way she was dressed.
• Another girl told me how her aunts daughter was mercilessly raped as she was on her way to give food to her sick mum in the hospital The girl was carried to a different destination by the bike rider who raped her and unfortunately again, her mother died at the hospital.
• This young girl at a tender age was almost raped by a family member with whom they had to spend the night together. She shouted for rescue when he started fondling her genitals and he was already undressed.
• A girl of 2 years another girl told me was raped by a 35 year old graduate.
• The only case that happened directly to the victim who spoke to me happened when she was 13 and also around her school premises. She attended a ladies party that night when she was raped by two boys. Her parents were divorced then and she blames the incidence on the divorce of her parents which exposed her.
• Another story was told of a friend who was raped by the husband of her sister; attempted rape case on a school premises; and one was raped when she was out reading with her friends.
• I was also told of an old man of close to 50 years who raped a 9 year old girl. The man had to run away after the act and has been at large since then.
• There was the story of this young girl who faced attempted rape cases first from her class teacher and the other from a family relative.
Drawing some conclusions from these stories and others I have heard,
1. Many girls face rape in the hands of their teachers, some family members, family friends and neighbors. Many young girls are therefore instead vulnerable in the hands of people who are suppose d and expected to protect them.
2. Unsafe school environments expose girls to rape. This is typical of public schools in Cameroon where most of these schools are located in isolated places in the outskirts of the cities, away from the city centers.
3. House maids or house helps get raped by the sons of their masters and the cases get covered.
4. The divorce of parents can expose their female children to rape.
5. Many girls who have faced rape live with the stigma and sometimes develop hatred for the opposite sex.
6. Many girls who get raped do not voluntarily report and this makes it difficult for them to receive help.
The Barrister I invited to do the radio program with was so enthusiastic because she is presently handling a rape case in court.
I brought up this issue now that students are going on summer holiday and will definite be more exposed. Parents and guardians need to be very vigilant.