The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in collaboration with other rights based Civil Society Organizations has embarked on one week sensitization campaign against rape and Gender Based Violence (GBV) in Ebonyi.
Mr Christopher Okorie, Coordinator of NHRC in Ebonyi disclosed this in an interview with Summitnews correspondent on Tuesday in Abakaliki.
According to Okorie, the campaigns are aimed at sensitising members of the public on the increasing incidences of rape and the dangers it posed to the society.
Okorie said that proper awareness and information on rape and GBVs were part of key steps to addressing the monster currently plaguing the society and called for extra support from stakeholders to tackle it.
He said that the week long campaign which kicked off on Monday, June 15 was geared towards achieving a zero tolerance to rape and other associated sexual violence which he noted were on the rise in the state.
He added that the sensitization campaigns would bring a reorientation in the lives of rapists who he noted live among their victims and thus help to reduce the rising trend.
“There is a spike in the number of rape and gender-based violence in the state, yet most of these cases still go unreported.
“The essence of the week long advocacy and sensitization campaigns which will be taken to the rural areas is to equip the people with strategic information on the dangers of rape, what to do when sexual molested as well as ways to seek legal redress.
“The NHRC is collaboration with Human Rights and Conflict Resolution (HRCRC); Child Protection Network (CPN), Human Rights Defender and Liberty Access (HRDLA) and the Girls Guild Association, (GGA) among others.
“The rate of proven incidences of rape and GBV have reached an unprecedented proportion nationwide and this is not acceptable .
“Rape and all forms of GBV are condemnable, criminal and punishable according to the laws of our land.
“The one week activism programme is to officially say enough is enough to the acts and declare zero tolerance to these inhuman and criminal acts,” Okorie said.
He explained that NHRC, since inception in the state in collaboration with partner agencies and organizations has been in the fight against sexual violence particularly those against minors.
He regretted that most Victims of rape and other related gender-based violence usually did not like to report cases abuse either due to fear of being stigmatized, cultural practices among others.
“We are challenged by lack of cooperation on the part of victims, their relatives, harmful cultural practices, ignorance, corruption and lack of diligent investigation of alleged rape cases on the part of police,” he added.
He urged all law enforcement agencies to continue to educate their officers on the fact that services to the public were free.
Also, Mr George Eamesor, Director, HRCRC, in an interview assured that his led HRCRC would effectively partner the NHRC in the fight against rape and sexual violence in the state.
He commended the NHRC for the initiative, assuring his organization’s commitment in the fight for a rape-free society; justice for rape victims, rule of law, more peaceful and humane society.
He urged other collaborating organizations and media to synergise to effectively combat rape and violent sexual crimes in the state .
“Any sexual crime committed against one person is a crime against all, we therefore must synergise action to confront and challenge ideology that sustains the ugly status quo.
“One abuse is more than enough; HRCRC will start today to make the change we desire as we interact with the public by sensitizing them and taking action where need be,” Etamesor said.
Our correspondent reports that no fewer than 717 rape cases have been so far reported across the country between January and June.