By Eyitayo Oyelowo
The Founder, Saab Foundation, Sa’adat Bibire, has said that no fewer than 1,000 women were raped in Kwara State in 2016.
She quoted the state Ministry of Women Affairs as having uncovered and confirmed the 1,000 rape cases, adding that the crime had become too high in the state.
She lamented the harmful effects of rape, child abuse, molestation, female genital mutilation and domestic violence.
Bibire spoke during the foundation’s campaign against rape and other gender-based violence in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital. The campaign was tagged, ‘Walkathon against rape.’
Members and supporters of the foundation marched around Ilorin with placards to raise awareness on crimes against women like rape and domestic violence.
She said, “Rape could be spiritual or psychological. Rapists are either animals or devils. Rape victims should speak up.
They should stop blaming or hating themselves throughout their lives and they should not end up committing suicide. It is not their fault.
“We are creating awareness for gender-based violence. We are working to make people know that these things are real. People are not just cooking up stories on the internet. These things happen. We are having this ‘walkathon’ to make them know that if it happens to them, God forbid, we will take the case up for them.”
She called on the Federal Government, the national and state assemblies to ensure that laws against rape and other gender violence were amended to enhance conviction and punishment of perpetrators.
She appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari’s wife, Aisha; wife of Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, Dolapo, and the wives of the 36 governors; as well other prominent leaders and individuals to step up campaigns and efforts against rape and other domestic violence.
Bibire said, “I am calling on the National Assembly and the 36 houses of assembly to make laws against rape and other domestic violence stricter and more enforceable. They need to do something. They are representing us and they need to stand for us. It could be their sisters, friends and mothers.
“There is a lot government can do. They can start by reviewing the laws. There are laws against rape but they are rigid. They are actually favouring the rapists, because you have a law saying that there has to be a witness during the penetration. How is that possible?
“A rapist is smart enough to make sure that nobody will be there when he is going to do the evil act. So, how can you have somebody that will witness the penetration? That is favouring the rapist.
They need to amend the laws to favour the unfortunate victims.”