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Medico-legal examination of biological responses to sexual stimulation and the law on rape in Nigeria

Grace Titilayo Kolawole-Amao


Rape is one of the most heinous sexual offences against a person. There has been a persistent rise in rape incidence in Nigeria in recent years. Thus, the criminal justice system should be well-equipped to provide necessary protection for the victim while not ignoring the rights of the accused. There is no doubt, that at times, the victim in one way or another played a part contributing to the rape by sexually arousing the victim. Such aspect of the rape should not be ignored by the law. A good understanding of what triggers sexual arousal and the responses of both male and female to sexual arousal will help the law to adequately address cases of rape and sexual offences, particularly false allegations of rape. This paper examined biological responses to sexual stimulation as well as sexual arousal and its potential impact on sexual decision-making. The paper further examined sexual arousal and the defence of provocation, provocation in the context of rape and the possible application of the rules of provocation to rape cases under the law in Nigeria. The paper relied on primary and secondary sources of information and data obtained from these sources will be subjected to content analysis. The paper found that sexual arousal has the ability to impair self-control and decision making at the time of sexual arousal and recommends that the defence of provocation should be broadened to include situations where the victim of rape caused the sexual arousal, making the defence of provocation available to such situations and serving as a mitigating factor. Also the paper recommends that the victim of rape should also be punished for causing the accused to commit an offence.

Keywords: Biological responses, Sexual Stimulation, Rape, Defence of Provocation, Criminal Law, Nigeria