By Omon-Julius Onabu
Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), has described rape as a cancerous pandemic eating through the foundation of the society and creating an unsafe environment for all.
The state Chairman, Nigeria Association of Women Journalists NAWOJ, Comrade Pat Gbemudu, stated this during a stand-up campaign tagged, ‘Stand against Rape and Other Gender-Based Violence’.
The event was organised by Delta NAWOJ in partnership with Civil Society Organisations and Women Association in the state. The various groups involved in the Stand-against-Rape campaign included the NAWOJ, Delta State Chapter, Medical Women Association of Nigeria (MWAN), International Federation of Women Lawyers, (FIDA), Association Against Child Sexual and Gender Based Violence, Ideal Child Foundation, Courageous Girls and Women Initiative, Working Fingers and Soroptomists International.
The protesters, who gathered at the Inter-Bau Roundabout, Asaba, the state capital, wore apron, carrying placards that bore various inscriptions such as “Stop Rape Now; No Means No; Leave Me Alone Means No; Say No to Rape; Rape is a crime; Stop killing our girls, Say No to Child Molestation, Don’t Wait to be a Victim, and No to Sexual Violence.”
Their dressing and chants caught the attention of passerby and commuters, most of who slowed down to get the messages.
In her remarks, Chairman of the state chapter of NAWOJ, Comrade Gbemudu, called for the domestication of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act, VAPP Act, in Delta State. She added that stricter punishment should be meted out to rapists to serve as deterrent to other criminal-minded persons.
She said that the place of proper parenting could not be over-emphasised in the fight against rape, urging parents to groom both the boys and girls into responsible and supportive citizens that shun all forms of violence especially against women.
Gbemudu advocated that rapists should be blamed, shamed and punished, saying no victim should be blamed whatsoever.
Leaders of the various civil society groups and women associations present said that the campaign had become necessary in the light of the increasing incidence in which minors and adults, including boys and girls, were being raped in different parts of the country.
The state chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Comrade Mike Ikeogwu, who came with some NUJ members 8n solidarity with the female journalists, said that rape remains a serious crime that should not go unpunished.