By Prince Okafor
LAGOS—FORMER governor of defunct Bendel State, Chief John Edozien; a governorship aspirant on the platform of All Progressives Congress, APC, in Delta State, Professor Pat Utomi, and founder of The Mirabel Centre, Mrs. Itoro Eze-Anaba, yesterday, called on Nigerians to fish out perpetrators of rape, sexual harassment and other gender-based violence in their respective communities.
They spoke in Lagos at the official launch of a book, It’s My Decision, written by Ogechi Alabi.
In his address, Chief Edozien said: “Looking at the judicial system of the country, people tend to lack interest in pursuing rape cases because they believe they will not get anywhere. There is need to strengthen the nation’s judicial system.
“Rape is such a terrible thing that people who engage on it should never go unpunished. Real men do not go about raping women. We need to help victims not to feel the stigma.”
Also, Founder of The Mirabel Centre, (a Sexual Assault Referral Centre, SARC) Mrs. Eze–Anaba, said: “When a rape incident occurs, it puts the victim in prison forever.
“We all have the responsibility to drive rapists out of our community; they belong to the prison. 85 percent of survivors report that they are raped by acquaintances. The youngest victim we have come across in SARC is a four-month-old child, while the oldest is a 70 years grandmother.
“Most of the survivors find it difficult to tell their stories. Sometimes, it takes a victim a week or even months to tell the story the exact way it happened.
“That is why it is advisable not to ask the survivor the ‘why’ question. Let them tell you the story when they want to. It is best you don’t help the survivor say the story, since it is not your story; always take permission from the survivor.”
On his part, Professor Utomi, who canvassed a strong public campaign on rape, said: “Educating children from home about the effect of rape is very important.
“Even schools need to create a programme that will enlighten children on this.
“There is also an urgent need for a media campaign on this evil act. It is a grievous act and whoever is found wanting should face the retribution without any sentiment.”