Borno: Nigerian State With Alarming Cases of Rape Gets Care Center for Victims

By Blogger state

Residents of Borno state in northeast Nigeria, where displaced women and girls are raped on daily basis have expressed happiness as government opens a referral care center  for sexually abused person on Monday.
This was coming days after the state's police commissioner, Mr Damian Chukwu, raised an alarm on the escalating cases of rape of females especially minors by adults.
The police said it is easy for rape culprits to get away with the crime of having forced sexual relationship with girls as young as four years old because the victims' parents would want to press for charges due to possible stigma.
The Borno state Commissioner of police, Mr. Damian Chukwu, has last week rated Borno state as one of the states in the country with high rate of sexual assaults like raping of minors.
The police chief who was briefing the press on the security situation in the state that is the birth place of Boko Haram ideology said cases of rape has become prevalent in the camps for IDPs

"We are recording rape cases on a daily basis", said Mr Chukwu.

"You find a 60 year-old man defiling a four year-old girl.  And when the police wants to make charges, the parents of the victims will come with an excuse that they wouldn't want to press for charges or that some big person in position of power is asking them to withdraw the case and settle outside court.

 "It is disheartening to see victims' families asking the police to drop charges against rape suspects. Unless we change this attitude, we will continue to witness rape in the society," he warned.
The CP advocated for a possible enactment of the sexual abuse law, and setting up of special tribunal for the trial of all offenders"
Wife of the Borno state governor, Mrs. Nana Shettima, who led officials of the state and international development agencies to open the SARC facility in Maiduguri, Borno state capital said the trend of raping of vulnerable females in the city has becoming worrisome.
"All hands must be on deck to cub this vices rearing its ugly head in the society", she said

"Reports indicates that this societal ills has been on the increase generally and particularly in Borno State complicated by the effect of the insurgency that has resulted in the displacement and  attended deprivation of the livelihood of the people .

"This situation expose women and girls to all sorts of abuse including sexual violence and other forms of exploitation. As a mother, I have lots of concerns for the women, particularly the young and the adolescent girls, it was in realization of this that I established a foundation that focuses on the plight of the less privilege in our society.

Society must rise to condemn or speak out against this practices as they negates the very essence of womanhood. We must have zero tolerance to all forms of gender base violence including trafficking of persons and other social vices.

The center, put in place under the EU-funded British Council program me, Managing Conflict in Northeast (MCN), is said to be a first of its kind in the war-wrecked region.

With the Boko Haram displacing well over 2 million people, mostly women and children, several cases of sexual abuses - especially raping of young girls - have become order of the day within and outside the IDP camps in Borno state.

Security officials as well as the state's ministry of justice said they could not establish any prima face' case against alleged perpetrators due to lack of evidence or reluctance of victims to press for prosecution due to fear of stigmatization.

The SARC center is expected to provide medical and psychosocial cares for all persons that are sexually abused from all parts of the state.

The Borno state Commissioner for health, Dr. Haruna Mshellia said the SARC facility would also function as a hub for collation of forensic evidence that will aid the possible prosecution of rapists and related sexual abusers.

He added that the services of the center would not only be restricted to only females but also to males who may have suffered one form of sexual abuse or the other.
AP gathered from health personnel that that the cases of male minors being sexually abused by adult males is also on the rise in Maiduguri.

Project manager of MCN, Professor Tabiu Mohammed, had earlier said that the SARC center is part of the core programs of the organization aimed at promoting the involvement of women in peace-building and addressing the impact of violence on women and girls. He said the British Council, through its MCN project takes into account the large scale of violence directed at women, girls and boys in the course of the counterinsurgency and the likely escalation of such violence in the affected communities in the course of resettlement after the insurgency"

The SARC facility is expected to run an integrated service with various organs of government like the police, the military, the ministries of justice, ministry of women affairs as well as the ministry of health.

Team Lead of the MCN in Borno state, Mrs. Zara Goni, said it is in the best interest of relatives to encourage victims to visit the facility as soon as cases of rape is confirmed so that the girl could be provided with medical care that could prevent not only unwanted pregnancies, but all other kinds of diseases.

She said  it is part of the MCN program to establish SARC desk in police stations where cases of rape could be referred to the SARC facility for immediate medication and psychosocial supports.


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