Ekiti Establishes Sexual Assault Referral Centre for Rape Victims

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By Victor Ogunje

The Ekiti State Government has established a Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) where victims of rape and other molestations will receive medical and psychological attention, rather than being abandoned to suffer.

The state government also said that it will strengthen the adopted policy of naming and shaming of perpetrators of rape, by publishing their photographs on the state’s website and pasting in palaces.

The wife of the governor, Mrs Bisi Fayemi, gave the revelation on Friday while making a presentation on the floor of the state House of Assembly during an advocacy visit to expand the frontiers of gender-based violence (GBV) prevention in the state.

She stated that the referral centre, located within the premises of the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital, Ado Ekiti, will provide well guided and discreet medical support for survivors.

“The SARC will be operational soon. It will attend to GBV survivors in a prompt, discreet and professional manner. Discussions have been held with council chairmen to replicate SARC in all their local governments,” she said.

Mrs Fayemi applauded the Assembly for the passage of the Gender based Violence Bill, 2019 and the compulsory treatment and care for Sexually Assaulted Minors Bill, 2020, saying these will help in fast-tracking actions against GBV.

“We are ready to strengthen this aspect of naming and shaming of perpetrators of rape on social media and in our palaces, because it was embedded in our cultural practices not to cover up perpetrators of evil,” the governor’s wife added.

She urged the lawmakers to declare emergency against GBV through robust and strong legal framework, while charging the governors to also set up machinery for the promulgation of the laws that will prevent rape and take care of post event trauma in their states .

Mrs Fayemi added that a GBV committee, comprising police, traditional rulers, religious bodies and non-governmental organisations, has been set up to take the fight to the community level, where there were high prevalent rate of rape and domestic violence.

“I implore the Assembly to intensify GBV war across all the constituencies to make Ekiti safe for all and sundry and reduce the incidences to the barest minimum,” she said.

The Speaker of the Assembly, Hon Funminiyi Afuye, who applauded the governor’s wife for her strides in women empowerment and emancipation, said she has etched her name in gold as a campaigner for respect for human dignity and protection of gender.

“Most of the laws being proposed in other states have been introduced long ago in Ekiti through the instrumentality of the first lady.

“Today, Ekiti has become a reference point in terms of protection of the rights of the citizens and maintenance of equality among genders. We are ready to partner the government to ensure that those who violate the people’s rights are punished.”

The Chairman, House Committee on Women Affairs, Hon Kemi Balogun, advised churches, mosques and cultural groups to join the fray against rape that was fast becoming a pandemic killing the Nigerian society.

“I agree with the fact that there must be capital punishment for perpetrators of rape and other molestations against any gender. The police, judiciary and parents must play their parts in this regard,” Balogun said.