RAPE: WOMEN DEMAND END TO MENACE ; SENSITIZE PUBLIC.
Chinwe Ugele, Umuahia
Rape and all forms of gender based violence recently took centrestage in societal ills in Nigeria even as the world battles a pandemic.
While families were locked up in their homes as a result of government policy to contain and control the spread of corona virus, so many issues were either uncovered or discovered within the period.
What should have been a huge advantage to families, turned out to be monumental disasters to some families.
Cases of rape soared in the country and even competed with the cases of COVID 19. The force headquarters announced recently that the number of reported rape cases in the country from January to May, 2020 was 717 cases.
As alarming as the number is, major source of concern is that most of the perpetrators are allowed to go scot free, the victims get intimidated and cajoled.
The society tries to justify rape by any means possible, most times blaming the victim for mode of dressing or for not being emphatic with refusal.
It is for this reason and many others that the Abia State ministry of women Affairs in collaboration with National Association of women journalists held a protest march in Umuahia the Abia State capital to sensitize the public on the need for a collective condemnation of the act of gender based violence.
International Association of women lawyers (FIDA) and other groups including men joined in the exercise.
The protesters carried placards with various inscriptions ranging from, “My no is my no”, “justice for victims”, “Control your erection”, to “speedy dispensations of rape cases”, “special courts for rape cases”.
The permanent secretary in the ministry of women affairs, Onyinye Nwachukwu said it has become pertinent to have this discussion now to avoid the effect in future.
She said the menace has no age boundaries anymore and cannot be blamed on dressing since babies are now also being raped.
President of NAWOJ in the state, Beatrice Odoemelam said no sane person will support rape and called on relevant agencies to rise to the occasion by ensuring no rape case is treated with levity.
Also Glory Abiakam advocated for adequate parenting for not just the girl child but the boys as well as it will go a long way in addressing the cankerworm. She also wants government to institute stiffer penalties for offenders through legislation.
Others who spoke to CSUnewsng like Amaechi Olufemi and Chioma Godwin both from the NSCDC believe everyone assigned to handle rape cases ought to understand what their job entails.
They say every man should have some sort of self control.
Another respondent, an elderly man who was part of the protest said he was happy to join in the campaign to end rape and hoped everyone understood how important it is.
The protesters had the cover of the police who followed them from the beginning through major roads to the end of the march in Umuahia.