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Sexual abuse: Group wants harsher punishment

A Muslim group, Sisters of Jannah has called for review of laws dealing with sexual abuse and child molestation with a view to taming the tides of sexual violence against children in the northern part of the country.

The group prefers harsher penalties for the perpetrators of the crime, even as it noted some cases involving members of the same family molesting their own daughters and sisters as the case may be.

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Speakers at a one day seminar convened by the group in Kano identified reluctance in reporting incidences of sexual abuse to concerned authorities by the parents as the major factor propelling the trend.

According to Dr Zubaida Ahmed Negee, who was the keynote speaker at the event “We are not only witnessing sexual molestation by sexual offenders but family members are now involved, the case of incest, father molesting his own daughter, or a brother sexually abusing his own sister is very high, so this will tell you that it has gone this far, it’s a very bad experience for women and for girls and something needs to be done.

“The culture of keeping quite is what helps to drive what is happening, it is giving them more chance to do what they are doing, we need to talk the more to say what is happening and to call on our people who are responsible for enacting the laws and reforming the laws that the laws need to be reformed and harsher punishment given to those who are culpable whether the family or outside the family we need to give them harsher punishment” she posited.

She also advised parents to desist from trusting house-helps with their children, saying doing that would put the life of the children in danger of both physical and sexual molestation.

Hajiya Halima Salihu Kabara who was a participant at the seminar emphasized the need for social solidarity and support for the victims of sexual abuse rather than being subjects of contempt and stigma within the neighbourhood, stressing any one can fall victim.

“Everybody should take the issue seriously, report it to the police and also take the child to the hospital. They should not wash that area because if they do they are washing off evidence. People should be aware that if they wash off the evidence no culprit will be caught.”

The Kano zonal Coordinator, Sisters of Jannah, Ruqayyat Olabisi Olawale claimed that about 75 per cent of women in the country had experience sexual molestation in one way or the other, she therefore urged parents to take decisive action to protect their children by reporting any form of abuse to appropriate authorities for necessary action against the culprits.

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