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 would receive medical and psychological attentions, rather than being abandoned to suffer.

The state government also assured that it would name and shame perpetrators of rape by publishing their photographs on state’s website and pasting them in palaces.

This was revealed on Friday by the First Lady of Ekiti State, Mrs. Bisi Fayemi, when she made a presentation on the floor of the Ekiti State House of Assembly (ESHA) during her advocacy visit to expand the frontiers of Gender Based Violence (GBV) prevention in the state.

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

“The SARC will be operational soon. It will attend to GVB survivors in a prompt, discreet and professional manner. Discussions have been held with council chairmen to replicate the 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 Sexually Assaulted Minors Bill, 2020, which would fast- track 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 First Lady added.

She said that the lawmakers should declare emergency against GBV through robust legal framework while the governors would set up machinery for the promulgation of the laws that would prevent rape and take care of post-event trauma in their states.

The First Lady added that a GBV committee that comprised of the police, traditional rulers, religious bodies and non -governmental organisations had 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 the 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 ESHA, Hon. Funminiyi Afuye, applauded the first lady for her strides in women empowerment and emancipation, adding that she has etched her name in gold as a campaigner for the respect of human dignity.

“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 fight against rape that has been spreading like an epidemic in 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.