Christopher Isiguzo in Enugu
No fewer than 471 cases of rape, defilement, sexual assaults as well as domestic violence have been recorded in Enugu State in the past 24 months, with cases involving minors between the ages of eight months and 18 years accounting for 60 per cent of the cases.
Of the number, the three councils within the metropolis, Enugu East, Enugu South and Enugu North witnessed 349 cases, while the remaining 14 councils experienced the rest, with Igboeze North experiencing only one rape cases within the period under review.
Also, a case of a father (names withheld) who sexually molested his three daughters aged five, seven and nine years was reported to the police.
It was gathered that the children in question told the police that their father usually makes loves with the eldest childs, while insisting that the other children face the wall as he fingers.
The man is said to be presently detained at the Uwani police station, while efforts are being made to transfer the case to the State Criminal Investigation Department of the state police command.
Speaking during a media roundtable organised by the the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC), Enugu on the activities of the SARC in the past two years, the Executive Director , Dr. Joy Ezeilo, said the agency which is a joint initiative of Women’s Aid Collective in collaboration with the Enugu State Government had made startling discoveries since its formation two years ago.
She noted that the centre remained committed to providing high quality and confidential medical counselling and other support services for victims/survivors of sexual violence.
While expressing sadness over the increasing cases of sexual assaults in the society, Ezeilo noted that from the statistics at their disposal, most of the victims were raped by one perpetrator, while some were victims of gang rape. The breakdown showed that 375 victims were raped by one perpetrator, 89 were gang-raped by two or more, while seven victims could not remember the number of perpetrators that raped them.
According to her, the outcome of such rapes showed that 15 victims became pregnant, two victims tested positive to HIV as a result of the rape because of their inability to have access to the post exposure prophylaxis, while other victims contacted sexually transmitted diseases.
She noted that the SARC also discovered that out of the 472 cases treated, 354 persons knew their perpetrators while 118 did not. Of the number, 52 perpetrators are family members.
The Executive Director further disclosed that in the past two years, only one rale case was successfully prosecuted as the person was sentenced to 14 years in prison while five cases were discharged. Also, seven cases are presently at the prosecution stage, with 24 other cases awaiting trial.
While identifying lack of funds to effectively prosecute the cases as a major challenge to the centre, Ezeilo also frowned at the continued reluctance of victims and family members to report rape.
She therefore appealed to the state government to make funds available to the centre in order to checkmate incidences of rape and sexual violence.