by Juliana K. Tauna, Kaduna
The Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation has on Monday, 15th June, 2020, raised a serious concern over what it termed as “The astronomical increase in incidences of sexual and other forms of gender-based violence in Nigeria, and called for advocacy by stakeholders.”
The foundation also called for increase in government funding of governmental and non-governmental bodies to meet the challenges posed by the spike in case of rape and other GBV and to strengthen existing laws to deal justly and fairly with rape cases.
“It is disheartening that gender-based violence, especially against women and the girl-child, are being increasingly reported on daily basis; particular concerns are the issues of rape, sexual abuse and exploitation, domestic violence against female spouses, marital rape, trafficking or young adolescent girls, hawking, ‘baby factory’ and female genital mutilation.
“In most cases, victims suffer from unwanted pregnancies, VVE, HIV or some other sexually-transmitted infections,” the foundation observed.
The Foundation notes that oftentimes, those, who suffer rape and
gender-based violence, are underage and young teenage children whose
innocence, weaknesses and vulnerabilities are being exploited by more
powerful, stronger predators.
“Equally disturbing is the fact that some perpetrators of the rape and other GBV are well known to the victims. Rape cases are grossly under-reported.
“In most cases, the victims would not expose their molesters for
fear of even
more severe consequences. It has been reported that by age of 15, nearly 3-in-10 females have experienced physical, mental or sexual assault,” the foundation added.
A statement by the Foundation’s Managing Director/CEO, Engr
Abubakar Gambo Umar, therefore, called on all the stakeholders to rise up
against the menace
of rape in the nation. Our position on rape issues and other GRV is being sent to all stakeholders.
It also advised for empowerment of women and adolescent girls, in order to reduce their vulnerability to gender-based violence as well as increased advocacy, to promote positive behavioral change.
“Gender Inclusiveness – to increase women participation in socio-economic
and political activities in their communities should be encouraged as well as
medical attention to victims of rape, and GBV should be provided with free
medical and reproductive health services,” it further noted.
The foundation also called for the role of community leaders and educational institutions in advocacy and to create awareness on rape and its implications.