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Randy Area Boys defy warning, rape HIV patient

Posted by By Patrick Asonye and Mike Jimoh on 2005/03/06 | Views: 1197 |

Randy Area Boys defy warning, rape HIV patient


A group of daring Area Boys in a densely populated part of Lagos Island may have signed their death warrant after they repeatedly raped an HIV patient recently.

A group of daring Area Boys in a densely populated part of Lagos Island may have signed their death warrant after they repeatedly raped an HIV patient recently.
The victim is Ms. B (not real name).

In her recorded testimony given to Women Protection Organisation (WOPO), an NGO, Ms. B said on that fateful night, her pleas that she is HIV carrier fell on deaf ears as the ruffians took turn to forcibly have unprotected s-x with her.
HIV is a desperate medical condition leading to the killer disease, AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome).

In the video tape viewed by Sunday Sun, a fragile-looking Ms. B, who hails from Oyo State, is shown graphically recounting her ordeal: "I tried to tell them that I am not the type of person they should rape, that I am HIV positive. I thought their instinct would tell them because of my lean frame. But they refused. Now, I am sure they are also on their way to untimely death."
Confirming the incident, the co-ordinators WOPO, Mr.&Mrs Godwin Adekunle Towobowa, expressed outrage.

"It is unbelievable that because of s-xual hunger, a man could willingly sign his own death warrant," said Mr. Towobowa, 47, Friday in their Edumare Street, Lagos office. "She came here and told her story herself."

WOPO offers counseling to victims of rape, especially people living with HIV/AIDS.
On that fateful night of the incident, the rapists had surrounded her at a lonely spot and threatened to kill her if she refused their amorous overtures.
They even gashed her thigh with a bottle, at which point she fearfully surrendered to their devilish quest.

In fact, Mr. Towobowa further revealed that the rape victim was two months pregnant when the hoodlums s-xually assaulted her the first time.
If Ms. B thought that her problem was over after the first incident, she was wrong. Soon after, another group cornered her again and defiled her for the second time.

"I also told them of my HIV status," fair-skinned Ms. B further narrated in the video "But they thought I was joking, maybe to fend them off. They were even more brutal than the first group."
Dramatically, a third group forcibly had carnal knowledge of her on another occasion, clearly making her one of the most serially abused women in that part of Lagos.

"That part of Lagos is particularly notorious for rape," Mr. Towobowa told Sunday Sun.
According to him, no week passes without some victims running to them in their office "to complain about rape".

According to him, no fewer than 10 girls have been raped in the recent past.
Mrs. Towobowa expressed the belief that there are more cases of rape on Lagos Island and elsewhere, most of which, she believes, are not reported by the women "for fear that those Area Boys will cause more harm to them".
Even the police, she said, are not helping matters: "When victims go to them, they make fun of the girls sometimes."

Her husband recalled an incident when a desk sergeant asked a rape victim to undress right there at the counter for him to examine her if indeed she had been s-xually assaulted. When she refused, he reportedly threatened to lock her up: "That is why most of them do not even go to the police any time they fall victim to rapists."

WOPO, Sunday Sun learnt, has started a data collection detailing cases of abuse against women, from the point of assault to the station where it was reported down to doctorís report and other relevant information.

Presently, there are 63 HIV positive victims under the care of WOPO.
"Most are young women, some are widows while there are few married ones among them," Mrs. Towobowa said. Also on their record are cases of previous victims of all sorts of abuse.
But why do the women remain in places where they have been raped? Some of the victims, who came from outside Lagos do not have anywhere else to go. "Some came from Kwara State and they are too poor to relocate".

Though Ms. B is from a village in oyo State, she left behind parents buckling under crushing poverty, "That she canít go back to".

So, her situation, for instance, is between the devil and the deep blue sea, Mrs. Towobowa said.
Other rape victims are equally indigent. "In most cases, they fall victim because they donít have anywhere to sleep".

In their poky office are sewing machines and computers to provide victims with vocational training that would place them in good stead to earn a living for themselves.
"Besides sewing, we also train them in soap-making, pomade production and other things," Mrs Towobowa added.

The couple founded the NGO in 1996 primarily to counsel HIV patients. Rape victims are top on their list and, in Toyinís words, "We work in collaboration with other related NGOs to rehabilitate sufferers, especially the indigent ones."

There have been particularly bad cases, the husband chips in: "There was a pathetic case of a wife whose husband ran away after she tested positive. The landlord gave her quit notice immediately, and threw her things on the street. Someone called on us and asked if we can help her."
The woman was promptly rehabilitated "with assistance from Doctors without Borders (Medicine sans Frontiers)".

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