By Itoro Eze-Anaba
HI readers, this is hopefully going to be the beginning of a long relationship with you where I will tell you about one of the dangerous societal problems confronting us right now- rape and sexual violence of children, women and boys/men.
We have been reading about cases of children and women being raped but nothing about boys and men. Rape of boys and men is also on the increase in Lagos. Also on the increase is gang rape. These are societal problems that people are reluctant to discuss, but believe me is assuming epidemic proportions. Homes are being broken and relationships destroyed because of these issues.
What has my experience been? What is happening in other jurisdictions? How are we dealing with these issues here? What is the Lagos State government doing?
In the past 10 years or more, I have been working on the issue of rape and sexual violence, especially on providing a better legal framework for prosecution of these cases. Lately I have focused on working with the survivors, providing free counseling and medical services to hundreds of survivors, some as young as 10 months and as old as 70 years. More than a decade of experience has provided me enough material which I hope to share with readers.
Insight andlearning points
Advocacy visits to schools where I talk to pupils and students have also provided me with more insight and learning points on this issue. Teachers, pastors, fathers, cousins, neighbours, drivers, security men, “uncles”, bosses are all potential abusers of children but more heartbreaking is the case of a father sexually abusing his own daughter. Where does the child go for protection?
Almost every one you talk to knows someone (or knows someone who knows someone) that was sexually abused as a child or as an adult. Some live in denial, choosing to suffer in silence, maybe for their own protection. Others want justice for the pains they went through but do not want to be stigmatized. I expect feedback since these are issues destroying individuals and homes.
I hope together, sharing your experience with me, we will bring relief and peace to someone out there. In the coming weeks, you will read about heart rendering stories of children, babies too, girls, women and boys who have been raped and sexually molested by people they know and TRUST, people who should be showing them love.
If you have any story to share or know of anyone that needs help to deal with this trauma, please do not hesitate to get in touch no matter how long ago the incident had occurred.