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Legal Depository: Rape

By Na’Yeesha

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Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual penetration perpetrated against a person without that person’s consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority or against a person who is incapable of giving valid consent, such as one who is unconscious, incapacitated, has an intellectual disability or is below the legal age of consent. The term rape is sometimes used interchangeably with the term sexual assault.

The offence of rape is complete where the rapist compels his victim to submit by forceful threat, imminent death, serious bodily harm or injury and extreme pain afflicted against the person.

Section 357, 358 and 359 of the Criminal Code Acts in Nigeria provides for the offence of rape. The section provides that:

“Any person who has unlawful carnal knowledge of a woman who or girl, without her consent, or with her consent, if the consent is obtained by force of or by means of threats or intimidation of any kind, or by fear of harm, or by means of false or fraudulent representation as to the nature of the act, or in the case of a married woman, by impersonating her husband, is quilty of an offence which is called rape. The punishment for the offence of rape is life imprisonment with or without whipping, while the offence of attempted rape carries a punishment of fourteen years with or without whipping”.

ESSENTIAL INGREDIENT FOR RAPE.

The essential ingredient of rape is the absence of consent on the part of the woman which leads us to the reason that sexual intercourse with a woman who is unconscious, insensible or sleeping is rape. It is also not consent where intercourse is obtained by fraud, force, threat, intimidation deceit or impersonation..

CAN A HUSBAND BE CONVICTED OF RAPE OF HIS WIFE UNDER THE NIGERIAN LAW?

This is known as spousal rape. A husband cannot be convicted of rape of his wife, but he may be convicted of aiding and abbeting rape on his wife by a third party.

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