In a world where personal safety should be a fundamental right, rape remains a terrifying and traumatic reality for many people. Despite progress in awareness and legislation, victims of rape continue to face immense challenges in obtaining justice and redress.
Rape is much more than an act of physical violence. It is a profound violation of human dignity, leaving lasting emotional and psychological scars. All too often, victims are faced with stigmatization, blame and shame, while perpetrators go unpunished, contributing to a cycle of injustice and trauma.

The new article 553 of No. 2021-11 of December 20, 2021 relating to special provisions for the repression of offenses committed based on the sex of persons and the protection of women in the Republic of Benin, punishes rape with criminal imprisonment of 05 years to 10 years and a fine of 500,000 f to 2,000,000 FCFA. However, this provision of the law does not seem to dampen the ardor of people who engage in this vile behavior. Victims are still counted almost every day and in several forms.

The question of rape also leads me to address that of consent since for me the two are linked. I would like to remind you that consent for sexual relations must be free, informed and continuous. Several young girls, to speak only of this layer, undergo rape without even realizing that it is rape or even without knowing that they can denounce it.
It is imperative to teach young people to clearly express what they want so as not to confuse (a woman must be courted) with (a woman must be harassed). It is common to hear among us that it is good to make men languish before accepting their advances or having sex with them. This would demonstrate our value as women.
Well, from my personal analysis, this rather contributes to perpetuating violence such as rape because it is then difficult to distinguish between “she wants me to insist” and “she really doesn’t want it and therefore I must stop”. . For me, deconstructing this myth would lead us to take a big step in the fight against rape.
It is time for society to take a strong stand against rape. This involves not only improving laws and policies to ensure effective investigations and fair prosecutions, but also changing cultural attitudes that perpetuate rape culture. Support systems for survivors must be strengthened, with increased access to mental health services and legal support.
Above all, we should popularize the different ways and means by which a person who is a victim of rape can take to obtain justice.

As a society, we must listen, believe and support rape survivors.We must work together to create an environment where respect for human rights and the protection of individuals are priorities. Rape must not be tolerated, and every victim deserves justice, healing and hope for the future.

Edéladjo Florence ODJO
Gender Specialist

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