By Longtong Ibrahim
Kaduna (Nigeria) – Worried by the high rate of rape cases especially of minors in the society, the National Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Kaduna state chapter has on Thursday staged a peaceful rally against rape in Kaduna state (North-west Nigeria), calling on the legislature to enact stiffer punishment for culprits.
The women Journalists who started their rally procession from NEPA roundabout by Mohammadu Buhari Way to the secretariat of the Kaduna state Chapter of the Nigeria Union of Journalists carried placards with various inscriptions such as; ‘say no to rape’, ‘women are to be respected not to be abuse sexually’, ‘respect the dignity of the girl-child’, ‘expose rapists’, ‘rape and be jailed or killed’ among others.
Speaking during the protest, Chairperson of NAWOJ, Juliet Oyoyo, condemned the act of rape, saying, it is taking a frightening dimension which needs to be stopped before it gets out of hands.
She said, “rape of our children are daily on the increase with little or inadequate reactions from government and elected leaders, especially legislators who are saddled with the responsibility of legislating laws that would proffer stiffer penalties for offenders.
“Rape is evil. It is condemnable and despicable act that must be fought against by all. Innocent toddlers have suffered untold pains in the hands of such pedophiles in our society but because of the stigma and shame, many victims and their parents, especially those from poor backgrounds, have been compelled to hide this act of criminality from the authorities.”
While calling on the legislature to review the prescribe punishment for rapist to a stiffer one, she also called for a collective efforts by all and sundry to protect the girl-child against rape and sexual molestation.
“The only way out is to fight this scourge itself and eradicate it before it blows out of proportion and control. And to achieve this, it is the belief of this great and noble body, NAWOJ Kaduna state chapter, that a more stringent and punitive measure, must be put in place by our legislators both at the state and federal levels,” she noted.
Also speaking, Vice Chairperson of the Federation Of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Kaduna state chapter, Amina Audi Mohammed noted that Rape is a criminal offence, and also an offence against the state.
According to her, for a rape case to be established, the case should be reported immediately to the police without washing out any evidence; where they (Police) would take the survivor to a government hospital to a get a medical report.
She however noted that rape can be avoided if parents especially mothers take care of their children; adding that, in any case rape occurred, survivors or relatives shouldn’t keep silent but report and give care to survivors in order to avoid stigmatization and trauma.
Effects of rape include; Low self esteem, anxiety, multiple personality disorder, suicidal behavior, criminal behavior like indulging into drugs among others, she mentioned.
In her remarks, founder of the Benjamin Bissan Shekari Foundation (BBS Foundation), Mrs. Shekari, pointed out that, low reports of rape issues by survivors or their relatives is what is responsible for the increase in rape cases; positing that, lack of parental guidance, poverty, indecent dressing, intimacy, alcohols and drugs are factors responsible for rape.