Sunday, January 20, 2019

Sexual violence: Reluctance to report cases major hindrance – group

A women advocacy group, Girls Pride Circle (GPC), on Sunday called for collective effort to stop sexual violence through reporting of cases and effective law enforcement.

The Executive Director of  GPC,  Mrs Olaoluwa Abagun, told the media in Lagos that many cases of sexual violence were not reported because of fear of  being stigmatised.

She also said that many victims of rape were afraid of exposing perpetrators because of their  (victims’) young ages and threats from the culprits.

“All mothers, grandmothers, aunties, teachers and friends who hide sexual violence are as bad as rapists.

“When we conceal the perpetrators, we shall be encouraging the menace instead of ending it,” she said.

Abagun, a lawyer, said that her group had trained over 270 victims of sexual violence.

She said that the group had also offered legal aid to victims, adding that it educated some school children on how to prevent falling victims.

“Sexual violence perpetrators are usually close relations and neighbours that use several means to lure their victims.

“The challenge is to find means to make these victims speak out and expose the perpetrators because they threaten the innocent victims who are scared of exposing them,” she said.

Abagun regretted that many children were abused before age 15.

“Some believe that bad dressing by girls contributed to sex violence; this is not true.

“The victims of between two years and seven years, what bad dressing are they guilty of?

“We must clamp down on these rapists and put away their flimsy excuses.

“The best time to achieve it is now,” she said.

She called on the police and judiciary to properly prosecute and punish offenders to serve as a deterrent to others.

Abagun produced a 10 minute  documentary on  sexual violence in which some victims narrated their ordeals, how they got trapped and how difficult it was for them to open up.