Tears From The Grave Launch : Grace Ike Advocates Establishment of sexual Offenses Courts to Prosecute Offenders

The Chairperson, House of Representatives Press Corps, Grace Ike has lamented the low prosecution rate of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence offenders in the country.

Ike, who noted that sexual-based violence is spreading fast across the country, called for collective effort from the government and critical stakeholders to tame the menace.

She made the remark on Wednesday in Abuja while speaking at the launch of a publication, Tears from the Grave,” an initiative by Men Against Rape Foundation.

She said, “Despite existing legislation imposing severe penalties for SGBV offenses, prosecution rates remain dismally low. Victims often shy away from reporting due to fear of stigma and the arduous legal process.

“I am deeply honored to join you today as we launch ‘Tears from the Grave,’ a poignant publication by the Men Against Rape Foundation dedicated to the memory of victims of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence.

“I must commend the Men Against Rape Foundation and the organizers of this event for your commitment to shedding light on the harrowing experiences of SGBV victims.

“Tears from the Grave” demonstrates our collective resolve to confront and eradicate this pervasive issue.

“The statistics are alarming as a recent survey in Nigeria revealed that 31.4 per cent of sexually active adolescent females and 5.7 per cent of males experienced forced sex (rape) at sexual initiation.

“Shockingly, female adolescents living with HIV are disproportionately affected by this violence.”

While calling for sustained efforts against the vice, Ike argued that “The normalization of sexual violence is spreading like wildfire, leaving victims in unimaginable physical and psychological anguish.

“Every day, we are confronted with distressing accounts of girls and women enduring unspeakable trauma due to sexual violence. What’s even more disturbing is the growing trend of perpetrators committing murder, killing their victims after these heinous acts, an act that must be condemned in the strongest terms.

“SGBV knows no boundaries—it transcends age, ethnicity, color, socioeconomic status, and geography.”

This is just as the veteran journalist lamented what she called the growing stigmatization of victims by the larger society, saying, “While the list of victims in Nigeria is extensive, many cases remain unreported due to fear of stigma and inadequate support systems.”

According to Ike, a government-funded scheme for victims of SGBV will go a long way in addressing the physical and emotional trauma of victims, if established.

“I am particularly troubled by the absence of a government-funded compensation scheme for victims of sexual and violent crimes in Nigeria. This is a critical gap that demands urgent attention from our policymakers.

“Furthermore, civil society organizations such as the Men Against Rape Foundation play a pivotal role in advocating for the rights of SGBV victims and ensuring they receive the justice and support they deserve.

“I call upon our lawmakers at the national and state levels to prioritize the establishment of Sexual Offenses Courts across the country, modeled after successful initiatives in Lagos and other regions.

“Together, let us stand united against SGBV. We must continue to strive for a society where every individual lives free from the fear of violence and injustice,” she added.

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