By Josephine Agbonkhese
As Nigeria joins the international community to commemorate this year’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence which begins each year on November 25th which is the International Day of the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the International Federation of Women Lawyers, Nigeria, has called on stakeholders to unite against the culture of rape in Nigeria.
Describing this year’s theme “Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands against Rape!” as apt due to its focus on rape, Rhoda Prevail Tyoden, Country Vice President/National President, FIDA Nigeria, said the prevalence of rape in the country was overwhelming as it affects all categories and ages of women and children.
“According to UN Women, 35 percent of women worldwide have experienced physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime while 11 percent of Nigerian women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner in the last twelve months; therefore this theme is most relevant now.
“We observe the reported cases of rape, defilement and violence not to mention the numerous incidents which go unreported for reasons such as the culture of silence, the stigmatisation of survivors, the fear of intimidation and so forth,” Tyoden said in a statement made available to Vanguard Woman’s Own and co-signed by the body’s National Publicity Secretary, Eliana Martins.
Appealing for an end in the culture of rape, she said: “We need all stakeholders to play an active part in sensitisation, prevention, protection and enforcement to ensure the elimination of ills such as rape in our society. As we kick off, we call on all good meaning individuals, stakeholders and groups to join us, as we look into, speak out and take practical, effective, and proactive steps to eliminate all forms of gender-based violence in the country.
“All generations must stand together to fight this menace called ‘Rape’ and indeed all other forms of violence perpetuated on our women (our mothers, wives, daughters, sisters, cousins, nieces, wards, grandchildren etc.) whether young or old.
“We advocate that the Federal Government puts in place necessary and appropriate mechanisms, facilities and processes to ensure safe spaces for victims and survivors of gender-based violence, particularly victims of rape. Quick proactive steps must be taken in the reform of our criminal justice system to ensure speedy investigation and prosecution of offenders.”
Calling on the various state governments in the country to fast track processes for the adoption and implementation of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) (2015), Tyoden said the Act will ensure speedy dispensation of criminal trials.
She highlighted activities mapped out for the 16 Days of activism ending 10th of December 2019, which is the International Human Rights Day.
She said:”We shall be carrying out different programs such as legal clinics, activism march, advocacy visits, rallies, media and schools out reaches, sensitisation and mobilisation programs, including capacity building programs for key stakeholders, community influencers, faith-based organisations and other groups on the ills of violence against women, the provisions and protections of the VAPP Act.”