The Salama Sexual Assault Referral Centre in Kafanchan, Jema’a Local Government area of Kaduna State says it has recorded 108 reported cases of sexual assault between January and February 2020.
The Centre Manager, Mrs Grace Abbin, made this known on Friday during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kafanchan.
Of the 108 cases, Abbin said that 19 were rape cases, adding that a total of 219 sexual assault cases were recorded in 2019 when the centre was opened by the state government.
She attributed the high figure for the first two months of 2020 to more awareness campaign carried out by the centre as against when it was inaugurated in 2019.
“When we started, very few people were coming. It was around October 2019 after we had gone to schools, places of worship and the rest that people started turning out in their numbers to make reports.
“We look forward to carrying out more awareness in the media because many people still don’t know about the centre,’’ she said.
According to her, those affected are mostly women and children, noting that many of the cases are still in court, with four convictions secured in 2019.
“Out of the 219 sexual assault cases as at December 2019, the females affected were 190 and the males 29.
“We will continue to seek justice for the affected people because without justice, we cannot make progress,’’ she said.
She called on survivors of all forms of gender-based violence to overlook the issue of stigma and report to the centre for help, as the after-effects of sexual assault were worse than stigma.
“We always advise survivors to forget about the issue of stigma and report to us for counseling as well as medical and legal help.
Abbin said that the negative impacts of rape or assault were worse than the stigma.
“So, why not speak out and get help, because if you don’t do so, you become exposed to all kinds of sexually-transmitted diseases.
“But if you report quickly, these things will be taken care of free of charge,’’ she added.
The centre manager lamented that most perpetrators of such acts tried to frustrate the cases.
“The major problem we are having is that when the cases are reported, you begin to see the perpetrators having more supporters than the victims.
“People from the communities will come and beg on behalf of the offenders but nobody will show up for the victims.
“So what happens to the person who was offended? We want justice for the victims and that is one of the reasons the centre was set up,’’ she said.
NAN reports that the centre is one of the four of such in the state where victims of rape and other gender-based violence are given counseling, medical and optional legal interventions.