A Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Zonta Club, Ibadan, on Thursday, condemned the incessant rape cases being witnessed in some parts of Nigeria, demanding for speedy actions to bring perpetrators to book.
Stakeholders within the club spoke in Ibadan at a news conference, organised to lend their voices to the alarming rate of rape scourge in the country.
Mrs Tayo Alabi, the President-elect of the club, called on government to provide adequate medical assistance for the victims.
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She also urged governments at all levels to make available long term psychological evaluation, treatment, therapy and welfare plan, saying that this was a very traumatic experience, which often lingered in the minds of victims for a lifetime.
Alabi added that those affected should be offered free and full legal services.
“I will begin by pleading with the government to please spend its resources through the mass media to create awareness in the community and the state at large on what constitutes sexual harassment.”
“They should let people know that it is a crime punishable by law in the form of long imprisonment and public display of the person’s identity, to discourage people from committing the act.”
“Let us all make rape a cultural taboo in our society,” she said.
On what should be done to perpetrators, Alabi listed full investigation, proper and speedy trial, incarceration and imposition of stiffer penalties.
Others, she said, should include enforcement of the sentences to expiration, with lifetime probation and parole.
Also, Mrs Olajumoke Akere, the President, Zonta Club I, said that the group would not rest until women’s rights were recognised as human rights.
“We are here to strongly condemn the recent cases of rape and murder of our girls and women. We call on law enforcement agencies to investigate and hold perpetrators accountable so as to serve as deterrent to other would-be perpetrators.
“The cases of Vera Uwaila Omozuwa, Barakat Bello, Azezat Shomuyiwa and many others that were not reported, demand urgent action. We cannot afford inaction,” she said.
Akere put the reported cases of sexual offences in 2017, cases of rape and indecent assault, at 2,279, with 1,164 reported cases of ‘unnatural offences’, that is, anal sex.
“Zero convictions were reported by the police and one out of 36 reported no cases of indecent assault, according to the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics.
“Most of the time, rape cases are under-reported, for reasons such as fear of molestation by the victims, stigmatisation, being disowned by the family and even being killed in the process, while the lives of perpetrators continue unabated,” she said.
In the same vein, Mrs Stella Olaniyan, President, Zonta Club II, said the implications of rape and sexual violence could have far-reaching psychological, emotional and physical effects on the victims, their families and the society at large.
“The way forward is for parents to build a strong, healthy and open relationship with their children and be very vigilant.
“Parents should be schooled on the appropriate time and place to discuss sex-related issues with their children. Schools and institutions of higher learning should also have forums for discussing and educating students on the threat of rape and the actions which girls and young women can take to protect themselves.
“Civil society organizations and NGOs should also initiate elaborate enlightenment campaigns against rape and rapists,” she said.
Source : independent.ng