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Saturday, 24 September 2016

Indian hemp gang-rape: Family raises the alarm over victim’s mental health

The physical damage done to 23-year-old Judith (not real name) the day she was raped by hoodlums on August 28, may be the least of her problems as her family has raised the alarm over the strange ways she now behaves.

Her aunt, whom she currently lives with around Oshodi, Lagos, told our correspondent that she sometimes suddenly lapsed into a fit of laughter for no particular reason.

“When she does that and I ask why she is laughing, she stops and says nothing.

Sometimes, she could sleep for more than 12 hours at a stretch. In fear, I would wake her up but she would simply say, ‘leave me alone’. Another time, she might not eat for so many hours and when I offer her food, she rejects it and goes to sleep,” the woman told Saturday PUNCH.

Saturday PUNCH had reported last week that Judith was forced to smoke Indian hemp by hoodlums who then raped her on Sunday, August 28.

She was allegedly raped by two men identified as Monaco and Wasiu at 106, Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway, Dopemu, as she made her way home around 10pm from her aunt’s stall around Pako Bus Stop. The suspects are still on the run.

A third suspect, Olanrewaju Osinubi, was arrested in connection with the rape. The family had alleged that Osinubi boasted to them that he was the one who gave Indian hemp to the victim, claiming that she took it willingly.

But the police had charged Osinubi to court for obstructing the police when they wanted to arrest Monaco and Wasiu, allowing them to escape.

Judith has since been bedridden as the police say they are still in search for Monaco and Wasiu.

However, when our correspondent visited Judith in company with officials of the Esther Child Rights Foundation handling her case on Wednesday, she sat glumly, merely looking at the faces of the people present.

When asked what she could remember of what happened about the incident of that day, Judith initially said, “Nothing happened now.”

After some minutes, without being prompted, she said, “Some people are talking to me in my head. I am hearing voices.”

It was apparent there were many details she could not recall of what happened that day.

But after much prompting and many minutes going by without her saying anything but merely staring into space, Judith said, “The one they arrested (Osinubi) held me and said I should sit beside him in front of the shop. He put the Indian hemp in my mouth.

“One of his friends, who was one of the two that raped me also told me I must smoke from his own too. I cannot remember if I shouted or not but I remember that after the first one raped me inside the shop, they took me into the bathroom in the house and said I must bathe.

“After I bathed, I wore my clothes and was about to run out of the house when the other one grabbed me again and also raped me. After that, I remember searching for my slippers. I did not know where they were.”

Saturday PUNCH gathered that Judith had just secured an admission at the Kogi State University, Ayingba, and was looking forward to a screening at the school. Judith’s uncle told our correspondent that her case was not one that the family could handle alone.

He said officials of the Lagos Government had visited Judith and hoped that they would indeed do something.

Coordinator of the Lagos State Domestic and Social Violence Response Team, Mrs. Lola Vivour-Adeniyi, told Saturday PUNCH that the government had now taken up Judith’s case to get her treated.

She said, “In fact, her first session with a clinical psychologist that we have booked her with, is likely to come up on Saturday.

We are also working with the police and the Lagos State Office of the Public Defender to ensure that the due diligence is done on the investigation.

“Our concern is to ensure the lady gets the necessary treatment while the suspects are apprehended as soon as possible.

“Whoever has information that will help to track and apprehend the suspects should give such information anonymously.”

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