The movie HIGHER CRIME produced by Aniebiet Francis is a heart rendering movie about Cynthia, a determined young lady who trusted her sister’s fiancee only to be raped by him after strategically getting her drunk.
Her elder sister, Evelyn who was afraid of losing her family’s prestige as well as her beloved husband, refused to listen to Cynthia or act. She kept silent when Cynthia needed her most. Though rescued, after attempting suicide, Cynthia did not make it out from the hospital alive.
The movie also x-rayed another victim who was raped by her uncle – a well respected popular pastor “full of anointing” (emphasis mine).
He raped her twice and her mother, a public figure who was aware of the crime refused to act because her brother, the pastor, was a “family”, with large church membership and a friendly public who will never believe her story.
Thus her mother envisaged a scandal that may consume her only daughter. Unknown to the mother, her daughter, the victim, went through abortion twice in a bid to get rid of the pregnancy resulting from the rape, and lost her womb in the process.
She was traumatized and attempted suicide after disclosing what her uncle and her mother did to her; to her activist boss and younger brother. She was however lucky to survive, unlike Cynthia.
Some crimes were perpetuated in the movie but the Higher Crime in the movie HIGER CRIME is SILENCE. Both guardians kept quiet and refused to stand up against rape.
They acted improper and selfishly in their bid to maintain their protectionist tendencies. If they had taken actions, especially Evelyn, Cynthia would have been alive. So also would the other victim’s womb be intact.
Another higher crime in the movie is trust. The fact that Cynthia trusted her sister’s fiancee not to think that he was giving her too much alcohol to get her drunk and rape her makes trust a higher crime. So also did the other victim, who wouldn’t have gone close to the pastor, if he was not her uncle.
A third crime in the movie is the stigma of having being raped. It is a serious crime that lubricates rape in the society. Most victims are willing to speak out but their family members want to protect their family names and prestige. Hence they discourage them from speaking out, indirectly traumatizing them.
A very important but unnoticeable crime in the movie and in the society is that a huge percentage of rape cases in Nigeria are committed by family members or someone close to the victims. In the last two years, rape cases recorded shows a long list of victims raped by family members, neighbours or friends.
For instance, in a recent study (2020) to examine the coverage of rape incidents in order to identify the characterisation of victims and rapists in the country, 331 cases of rape reported by The Punch and The Sun were analysed.
The result showed that 90% of reported rape victims were females. And 99% of the rapists were male. A third of the female victims were aged between 1 and 10; those between 11 and 20 years constituted 46.1% of the victims and victims aged 21-30 made up 8.4%.
The study found out that rapists were mainly people that victims knew, such as fathers, neighbours, clergymen and relatives. Very few were total strangers.
A similar findings in studies done in India and US concluded that victims are attacked by people they know, same with the the research conducted in Nigeria. This in essence, is the reason why the movie portrayed both family members as rapist.
The movie is very significant as it helps to educate families, friends, neighbours and the society at large that the higher crime one can commit against one’s loved one is to be silent in times of adversity such as rape.
There are very minor errors noticeable in the movie, one of which is the scene where Cynthia came out from coma and the doctor rushed in. He went straight to chest compression, without checking her pulse or temperature and after trying thrice, he declared her dead, asked the nurse to call it in and walked out emotionlessly.
Nevertheless, the movie is an intelligent document that will aid the fight against rape and very useful for further research on the subject matter. It is a must watch for every family of viewing age.
The producer, Aniebiet Francis has done justice to the movie. Akwa Ibom people, especially government should be proud of her and give her the needed support to do more, as the movie helped to sell the state’s unique health infrastructure, language, serene environment, culture and personalities.
She has done well and made a great mark. I celebrate her ingenuity.
(C) Tom FredFish