The enactment of stringent laws is a possible solution to the increasing rate of sexual violence across the country, a non-governmental organisation, Women’s Rights and Health Project, WRAHP, has declared
This is as the organisation called on the federal and state governments to put such laws in place and ensure their enforcement.
The position of the organisation was made known on Thursday by its Communication Officer, Miss Elizabeth Charles.
She spoke during a town hall meeting with community leaders, women and youths over the increasing rate of sexual abuse cases in the state.
The meeting was held at Ayobo Ipaja Local Council Development Area of Lagos State.
According to Charles, the meeting was informed by the overwhelming number of cases of rape, defilement, assault and other vices received by the WRAHP during the COVID-19 lockdown imposed by the government to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
That effort, she said was with with the support of European Union funded Rule of law and Anti-corruption (ROLAC programme managed by the British Council in Nigeria to educate women, youths, community leaders on how to report and what to do when cases of sexual violence happen in their communities.
She said: “We are in the community to senitise women, youths and community leaders on how to tackle the issues of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence scourge and increase reporting cases of sexual violence in Alimosho community.
“During the lockdown we recorded alarming rate of rape cases and other vices about women and children. One of the strategic ways to increase the awareness about the scourge is through town hall meeting which is what we are having here at Ayobo area. And we are going round all the local council development area in Alimosho to educate the youths, community leaders, women and young girls to report case of sexual violence on time and to the appropriate authority for prompt action.
“Whenever there is any case of sexual violence they can easily report to us, which is why we are having the town hall meeting with them. Another area we are looking at is the justice system; in our own office we follow cases to the end and get justice for the victim. We are not police, we are not lawyers but we do the needful.”
Charles further said, between March and April last year 2020 they recorded over two hundred cases of sexual violence during the lockdown in the different parts of the state and minor defilement.
“The cases are in the area of rape, child defilement, sexual assaults, battery and other gender based violence.”
Mrs. Emiola Ibukunoluwa, the Case Management Officer of the NGO said “we are in the community to educate them on how they can access justice.”
She added: “Some of our training officers are in other local council development area, we want people to speak up on sexual assaults, rape cases. Many people don’t report cases of rape and assaults; we are doing this to let them see reasons why they should come out of their shell and report to the appropriate authority for sanction.”
She said: “Some women, even when they are being abused by their husbands would still claim they are fine, but inside them they are suffering. We want them to speak up so as to get justice for them, some of them also don’t see it as anything until we educate them to see the danger associated with it. We want justice for all.
“We have seen a case where a girl who was raped was tagged a prostitute in the community where the incident occurred, we want prompt action from the security agencies to save the victims from embarrassment.”
Mr. Adebayo Tokunbo, a community leader commended the NGO for sensitising the residents on gender-based violence.
He noted that before now, there was an increase in the rate of violence against women in the community, but since various organisations had been coming it had help to reduce the cases.
He also appealed to government to come to their aid in the community in the area of infrastructure development and well being of the residents of Ayobo and Ipaja as a whole.