Culture of silence on the side of victims and action of influential perpetrators of rape cases, who always move to settle victims’ families, have been identified as part of challenges facing the prosecution of rape cases.
This was disclosed on Thursday by Amina Mustapha Ibrahim, chairperson, Federation of International Women Lawyers (FIDA) at a one-day event tagged, “Awareness Raising on the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act 2015” , held in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
Mrs Ibrahim said that a FIDA’s report shows that out of every 10 cases before courts in Borno State, eight are cases of gender-based violence especially, rape.
She said the aim of the programme was to create awareness and train community leaders, volunteers, paralegals and gender based violence volunteers on how to tackle violence such as rape and ensure that victims get justice.
She said apart from sexual based violence, there were several reports of domestic violence among couples even though such cases are hardly reported because the victims especially, the women don’t want it to look as if they are reporting their husbands.
“The programme which is in conjunction with the United Nations Population Fund (UNPF) and other stakeholders is important in the sense that the rate of sexual based violence in this area is at alarming rate. It is there among the internally displaced persons (IDPs) and communities in the state.
“Sometimes, when such crime is committed, people in the community would not know how to handle it. Therefore, the aim of this programme is for the trainees to go and pass the message across communities. Most of the challenges is when there is so much pressure on the victims’ parents to withdraw cases of rape or when highly placed individuals are the perpetrators.
“So when the case has gone to the ministry of justice, the victims would not come out. So we will be using the trainees to educate victims on reasons for them to always come out and expose their abusers so as to serve as deterrence to others,” the FIDA chairperson said.
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