June 15, 2024

Grace Edema

A Non-governmental organisation, ARDA Development Communication Incorporated, has said cases of sexual and gender-based violence will not stop if society keeps making excuses for the perpetrators.

Speaking at the unveiling of its toll-free line for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence in Lagos and Borno States, Executive Director of ARDA Development Communication Incorporated, Mrs Data Phido, explained that focusing on the negative attitudes of victims of sexual violence was support for perpetrators.

“Nigerians have a responsibility to stop SGBV. We need to re-orientate ourselves on how we think about this issue. Making excuses for perpetrators instead of punishing perpetrators won’t make it stop, when we focus on victims; asking what did you wear, and where/why did you go there, we are actually letting off the perpetrator and supporting them with our attention on negative things we think the victim has done to bring violence upon themselves.

“If somebody says to you ‘No’ when you make passes at them, you better believe them. Whether a male or female, don’t say he is playing hard to get.” 

She explained that bringing an end to SGBV was the duty of everyone, saying ARDA through its Open Arms Project decided to provide a toll-free line; 0-8000-20-20-20 number, through which survivors across these states could access affirming, holistic medical care, psychosocial support, access referral services, and legal aid and important information on sexual and gender-based violence from ARDA’s network of partners.

Also speaking, the founder, Mirabel Centre, Mrs Itoro Eze-Anaba, explained that the government and private sectors should partner to bring perpetrators to book within a short frame and implement policies that would reduce SGBV in the country.

She said, “Government should prosecute perpetrators immediately and the media should hold government accountable. There should also be a legal framework that protects the privacy of victims and survivors. Why can’t a case last just for a year? Police officers and everyone in charge of SGBV should be trained to disabuse themselves from the biases surrounding victims of SGBV and the government should also provide funding where needed.”

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