Women demand end to Rape menance and other Gender Based Violence


Rape and all forms of gender based violence recently took centre stage in societal ills in Nigeria even as the world battles the Coronavirus pandemic.While families were locked up in their homes as a result of government policy to contain and control the spread of corona virus, so many issues were either uncovered or discovered within the period. What should have been a huge advantage to families, turned out to be monumental disasters to some families.Cases of rape soared in the country and even competed with the cases of COVID 19. The Force Headquarters announced recently that the number of reported rape cases in the country from January to May, 2020 was 717 cases.As alarming as the number is, major source of concern is that most of the perpetrators are allowed to go scot free, the victims get intimidated and cajoled.The society tries to justify rape by any means possible, most times blaming the victim for mode of dressing or for not being emphatic with refusal.
Abia State Governor’s wife, Mrs. Nkechi Ikpeazu in line with the seriousness desired has raised alarm over the increase in sexual violence,molestations, child abuse and violence against women and the girl child.
Mrs. Ikpeazu, raised the alarm calling on more people and civil groups to join the fight against Gender Based Violence when a Coalition of Abia Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development with the Gender Based Violence Technical Group/Response Committee end their protest against rape in the state government house .
The Governor’s wife who was represented by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Women Affairs, Mrs. Beauty Odikwa, said, the action of the women who embarked on protest to register their grievances are commendable and added more voice and energy to the fight against gender based violence.
According to her, “apart from the walk, I also want to encourage you to do more by engaging directly with the stakeholders”.
This, she explained mean meeting with people who have direct impact in the society like Religious Leaders, Opinion Moulders, Traditional Rulers and others.
However, in the course of addressing the root cause of these abuses, which sometimes border on poverty and displacement, we have built over 84, houses for indigent widows and families, providing economic empowerment for over 2,000 women and at the same time set up a gender based violence response desk and hotlines for victims of rape and domestic violence to find help at any time,she elaborated.
Earlier, the leader of the Coalition and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Women Affairs, Mrs. Onyinyechi Nwachukwu used the medium to inform the Secretary to the State Government ,Mr. Chris Ezem that the ministry has established a Gender Based Violence Response Centre at the Ministry’s Head Quarters , School road Secretariat, Umuahia.
She also called on the public to report all forms of GBV matters such as : sexual violence, domestic violence, trafficking in – person , Baby sale, child abuse, etc to the Centre .

The Permanent Secretary said that they embarked on protest because they observed that rape and other vices against women are on alarming rate hence the protest to rally relevant Agencies and government to end the menace.
She explained that in most cases perpetrators of these abuses are set free due to lack of policy direction to deal with the menace.
She however, called on government to take action against the perpetrators while encouraging victims of rape to speak out to overcome the pain and trauma inflicted on them.
Onyinye Nwachukwu restated that it has become pertinent to have this discussion now to avoid the effect in future reiterating that
Responding on behalf of the SSG ,the Permanent Secretary ,Elder Ochu I Ochu lauded the Group for living up to her statutory responsibilities. He promised that the state government will ensure that all perpetrators of rape are brought to justice.
This all important sensitization rally is aimed at re -awakening the consciousness of parents and guardians to the challenges of sexual assault and domestic gender violence occasioned by the out break of the Covid 19 pandemic and other social ills in the country
Some of the Women Groups that participated in the rally include ; Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Federation of Female Lawyers (FIDA), National Council For Women Society( NCWS) and other Women Groups in the Local Government and State Ministries.
Highlights of the rally was the distribution of handbills with inscription such as : war against Rapists in Abia, condemn Rape and every Act of violence against humanity, stop domestic violence / harmful Traditional Practices among others to the members of the public.
The Protesters carried placards with various inscriptions ranging from, “My no is my no”, “justice for victims”, “Men keep your erection in check, Control your erection”, to “speedy dispensations of rape cases”, “special courts for rape cases”. President of NAWOJ in the state, Beatrice Odoemelam said no sane person will support rape and called on relevant agencies to rise to the occasion by ensuring no rape case is treated with levity.