Background: Sexual offences differ from society to society. In Nigeria, the major sexual offences defined by law are rape, defilement and unnatural offences, however these are often underreported. This study aims to document the pattern of sexual assaults in Benin City, a historical town in Midwestern Nigeria with a unique population of people from the three major ethnic groups in the country.
Methods: Over a one year period, all cases of sexual assault referred to the Police Medical Centre, Benin City were fully examined, investigated and treated. Relevant data were then extracted and analyzed and the result compared with a previous study and others.
Results: In the period under study, a total of 85 cases of sexual assault were reported out of a total of 1028 assault cases. More than half of the victims (56.6%) were children. In over 88% of cases of sexual assault the assailants were known to the victims and only 7.2% of victims went to court. In 14.1%, weapons were used to threaten the victims. Forty percent of the cases in which the time of occurrence was known occurred between 8p.m and 12 midnight. Reporting of such cases is late in over 47% of cases.
Conclusions: The pattern of sexual assault in Nigeria has remained virtually unchanged. We recommend sex education in secondary schools with instructions on precautions against sexual assault as well as strengthening our judicial services to handle such cases effectively.
Sexual assault, Assault, Offences, Rape