SOAR CHILD AND TEEN SUPPORT CENTER OFFICIAL LAUNCH
In a country of 200 million, where sexual assault is described as ‘endemic’, a small centre has been launched in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital to provide psychosocial support for children and teens sexually abused while they wait for justice.
Recent reports of rape incidents have left many Nigerians enraged over incessant savage attacks, especially on children and young women.
PREMIUM TIMES has reported several rape cases across Nigeria in the past few weeks, some leading to the death of the victims.
A 13-year-old girl stunned Nigerians when she narrated how her father raped her on a daily basis.
As more Nigerians call for stiffer punishment against rapists, the Nigerian governments declared a state of emergency on sexual violence while lawmakers are debating on whether to prescribe castration for persons found guilty of rape.
However, despite these measures, more victims still find it difficult to get justice.
PREMIUM TIMES has also reported how a 16-year-old girl, allegedly raped by an Islamic cleric in Osun State vowed to commit suicide after her family was persuaded to accept an offer to settle the matter out of court.
Nigeria has an extremely low conviction rate for rape and sexual abuse, despite an increase in violence against women. Last week, the police called on the federal government to set up a special court that will help ensure accelerated hearing of rape cases.
But the shortcomings in Nigeria’s legal system – where the burden to prove rape or abuse often lies in the evidence of it also being a violent attack – are not the only challenges facing survivors. Africa’s most populous nation has just a handful of facilities dedicated to the care and support of survivors.