Several groups in Kaduna State have called for action against the increasing cases of rape and gender based violence across the country.
Arewa Trust weekly reports that while some of the groups have called for the death penalty on rapists found guilty, others want federal and state governments to declare a state of emergency on rape and sensitise the public on victims’ stigmatisation.
The Executive Director, Village Debbo Care Initiative, (VDCare), Samira Isah Modibbo, said though there has been a spike in rape cases during the COVID-19 lockdown, sexual abuses were not new in Nigeria, adding that the only difference was that more people are now speaking out.
Moddibo, however, cautioned against silence for fear of stigmatisation, stressing that, “stigmatisation should not be an issue because if you do not speak out, the rapist will go on to his next victim, and the vicious circle continues.”
Also, the Movement Against Gender Awareness has advocated that convicted rapists across the country should face the death penalty as punishment for their action.
Convener of the NGO, Tarfa Hyendau, who led a rally to the Kaduna State Ministry for Human Services and Social Development to appraise the efforts of the state government as well as condemn the spate of rape cases in the country, urged “lawmakers to implement laws that will serve as capital punishment for offenders instead of blaming the choice of dressing as the cause of rape in the country.”
She also pleaded with the federal government to declare a state of emergency on rape and sensitise the public on the challenges of victims while trying to ward off stigmatisation.
Her point was re-echoed by the leadership of the Sir Ahmadu Bello Foundation which called on authorities concerned to strengthen existing laws to deal justly and fairly with the worrisome cases of rape in the Nigerian society.
Managing Director of the foundation, Engineer Abubakar Gambo Umar, in a statement advocated for prompt and free medical attention for victims of rape and Gender Based Violence (GBV).
“The foundation notes that oftentimes, those who suffer rape and other gender based violence are under-aged 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,” he said.
“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 three in 10 females have experienced physical, mental or sexual assault. The situation of young female domestic workers is even more pathetic as they neither have any one to report to, nor any to stand for them,” he further said.
The Sir Ahmadu Bello Foundation noted that rape culture is encouraged by society’s attitude of victim blaming and placing the onus of proof of rape on the victim and called for empowerment of women and adolescent girls in order to reduce their vulnerability to gender based violence.