Paul Osuyi, Asaba
Delta State chapter of the 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.
Chairman in the NAWOJ in the state, Mrs. Pat Gbemudu stated this in Asaba during a stand up campaign tagged: ‘Stand against Rape and Other Gender Based Violence’.
The campaign was organised by NAWOJ in partnership with civil society groups and women associations in the state including 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 Soroptomist International.
Dressed in apron strings, the advocates carried placards of 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 whom slowed down to get the messages.
In her remarks, Comrade Pat Gbemudu called for the domestication of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act (VAPP) in Delta State.
She added that stricter punishments should be meted out to rapists, to serve as deterrent to other criminal minded persons.
The state NAWOJ chairman said proper parenting was key in the fight against rape, and urged parents to groom both the boys and girls into responsive and supportive citizens.
Comrade Gbemudu advocated that rapists should be blamed, shamed and punished, and not the victims.
Leaders of the various groups present, said that the campaign has become necessary given the increasing spate at which minors and adults, including boys and girls, were being raped in different parts of the country.
In his remarks, state chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Mike Ikeogwu, said rape is a crime that should be punished.