The Support Toward Advancement Networking and Development for Women And Children Foundation (STAND) has urged parents to remain a child’s first source of information about sex education.

Rape
Rape

STAND Executive Director, Mrs Olusayo Adeleye, told newsmen on Tuesday in Ibadan that this had become imperative because understanding correct information on sex could protect children from risky behaviour as they grow up.

Adeleye, who is also a legal practitioner, noted that in the light of recent happenings across the nation, it had become imperative to harp on the importance of creating a safe society for children to live in  and thrive.

According to her, discussing sex is also part of starting open communication with the child because early, honest and open communication between parents and kids is very important, especially when the child becomes an adolescent.

“ Through open conversation kids are more likely to speak with parents about all the other trials of adolescence such as anxiety, depression, relationships and the use of drugs as well as sexual issues and protection against sexual predators.

“Parents and guardians must take it upon themselves to get properly educated about sexual abuse in children and also know what signs of defilement to watch out for,” he said.

Adeleye said sex education was no longer an option but a survival strategy and not the time to ‘protect’ children from information about sex and sexuality as this has been discovered to be one of the commonest reasons why sexual predators get away with their evil acts.

According to her many perpetrators of the dastardly act are not brought to book because of the culture of secrecy, victimisation and stigmatization.

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“Parents should also unlearn the harmful culture of silence and be ready to speak up and seek justice for their children or wards without compromise and regardless of whatever pressure is mounted upon them.

“By reporting and sharing their experiences, they are saving another child from being a victim and also go a long way in stemming the tide of this menace in our society, bringing perpetrators to justice and giving effect to our laws, ” she said.

The rights activist said that having dedicated institutions such as Sexual Assault Referral Centres would also guarantee that victims get the help they need and gather evidence needed to prosecute perpetrators.

“These centres will be charged with operating with utmost confidentiality and manned by professionals who have the requisite knowledge in case of rape, defilement or sexual assault.

“The centre will take up the duty of giving medical aid to victims, professionally collecting and preserving evidence that will be useful in prosecuting the offenders, advising victims on the options available to them and providing appropriate counselling to help victims heal from the trauma of the encounter,” she said.

She added that the media also have a lot to do in the area of advocacy, public enlightenment and provision of necessary support in urban and rural areas.

Adeleye commended the steps taken by the National Assembly with the passage of the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act 2015 and some State Houses of Assembly following suit.

She stressed the need to do more to stem the tide of sexual violence, especially against minors.

“To this end, an urgent intervention is necessary in the area of training of law enforcement officers on the dynamics of the law of rape and other degrees of sexual offences.

“There is also need for improved training of officers on how to advise victims appropriately when they come to them as well as how to effectively prosecute their cases and secure justice for victims,” she said.

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