Odumakin, UNILAG Students, Others Walk against Rape, Sexual Harassment

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By Chiemelie Ezeobi

In a bid to raise awareness on the twin evil of rape and sexual harassment, the president, Women Arise for Change Initiative, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, yesterday led hundreds of University of Lagos (UNILAG) students and lecturers, as well as celebrities in a walk targeted at the menace.

Tagged ‘Silence is not Golden: A walk Against Rape’, the walk was organised by the Moremi Hostel, and it was a gathering of students, lecturers, Nollywood actress, Folake Daramola Salako; a music icon in the person of Mr. Michael Stephens, also known as Ruggedman and activists.

Okei-Odumakin while addressing the rally said, “Rape is oppressive; it is forceful means of possession; and it is evil!

“Rape has destroyed lives, it has not repaired any, and it has to be stopped.

Many promising girls have had their morals destroyed, their confidence conquered, their esteem lowered and their future destabilised.

“More so, victims would become mothers in soon future, but the trauma they got from their previous experiences of rape would also affect how they train their children.

“This is another way the rape experience of one person poses effects on the generation they would lead.

“Rape does not only affect the psyche of the immediate victims, it affects a generation each time it occurs.

“This is so, in that the victims develop an altered psychological process that affect how they relate with families, friends, associations and the general society.

“Asides from psychological distress, victims also become vulnerable to chronic, and sometimes incurable diseases such as HIV/AIDS and other life threatening STI’s”

Noting that records of unplanned pregnancies were also high from incidences of rape, she also admonished those in this practice of sexual harassment to desist.

She said, “We also advise the University authorities to help lives escape it by putting measures in place that check abuses and we encourage those who are currently being pestered for such abuse to stand against it, speak out and overcome it all at once.”

Nollywood Star, Mrs. Foluke Daramola Salako, who said she was a survivor, explained that she regained her dignity again when she spoke out.

“There are places where the incidence of rape is common, and so we must go to such places and address it there. One of such places is our higher institutions.

“University authorities must put measures in place to check mischievous male lecturers from sexually harassing female students and also discourage female students from sexually harassing their lecturers.

“It is not only unethical to base academic success/assistance on such unfair impositions; it is also unhealthy and destructive to do so.”

Stephens in his address said once the incidence of rape happens successfully, its damaging effect was long lasting, if not everlasting.

He said, “Those who are still being pestered should speak out not because silence is not golden.

“If you do not speak out, you imprison yourself and get disturbed all alone. Speaking out debugs your mind of the evil and gives you psychological freedom.”

Moremi Hall Mistress, Professor Virgy Onyene also said, ” Rape is evil and must be stopped! Those who have been victims must however still speak out. With proper counseling, they will overcome the trauma and also expose rapists, thereby cutting off their chances of violating others.”

Also, Moremi Hall Chairperson, Miss Zainab Olaitan, said silence was not golden, adding that “We must all speak in one voice by saying no to rape, no to gender abuse.”

DSA Unilag, Prof. Tunde Babawale, while appreciating Odumakin said Unilag had never condoned impunity, stressing that students had been given the opportunity through complaint unit to either drop anonymous complaints or call the Vice Chancellor, DSA, Hall Mistress and other channels in reporting sexual harassment or rape.

He said, “We must all discourage the act of rape and abuse of this precious gender. Again, silence is not golden. Together, we shall end gender abuse.”