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Women still battle to deal with the stigma of sexual violence. (Photo Courtesy Women Make Movies)
Osogbo — AT the resumed hearing of the trial case of an alleged rape a 23-year-old Hellen Okpara, an ex- corps member of National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) by a prominent traditional ruler in Osun State, Oba Adebukola Alli, the Alowa of Ilowa in Obokun local government area of the state yesterday before an Osogbo High Court, the victim broke down in tears when the monarch asked her to show her bruised private part to the court to see and confirm.
The calm atmosphere in the court room rapidly tensed when the counsel to the accused monarch, Mr. Tawfiq Tewogbade, during his cross examination demanded that Miss Okpara should open the bruised private part in the court room or rather go into the judge's chamber to show it to the judge, himself and the prosecution. The victim was annoyed by the demand of the monarch's counsel as she started shedding tears in the witness dock.
According to Badiora: "My Lord, all what my learned friend was saying is tantamount to investigation and to annoy my witness. By section 228 of the Evidence Act, the court shall forbid any question which appears to the court to insult or annoy the witness. It is for the doctor to examine and police to investigate. So, I don't know the reason why the counsel is asking her to show her private part to the court".It took the effort of the Principal's state counsel, Mr. Biodun Badiora, to calm her down. The prosecution immediately objected to the question of the counsel.
But the monarch's counsel informed the court that it's a misconception on the part of the prosecution, adding that the demand was not to insult the victim but to verify her claim that the Oba actually bruised her private part.
Meanwhile, the presiding judge Oyejide Falola overruled the question from the defence counsel and said: "The question was raised for her to exhibit her nudity yesterday (Monday) and she answered you that she can't. You can ask another question that won't provoke her passion. She has no picture of it and she cannot exhibit her private part to the court or in the chambers".
The monarch also alleged that he gave the ex-corps member the sum of N20,000 out of the N50,000 that she demanded for in order for her not to raise any scandal after the sexual intercourse but Miss Okpara denied the allegation, saying "I never asked the monarch of any money and he never gave me any money".
The victim further said: "The Oba threw a bundle of N200 notes to me but I don't know the actual amount and I rejected it. He then took the money inside his room and came out naked and started caressing me before he eventually raped me".
However, the prosecution closed their case and Falola adjourned the case till May 2 for defence.