Rape: We demand proactive criminal justice, stringent punishment, honest policy response- MAMA centre
Following the incessant rape in Nigeria, the Mothers And Marginalised Advocacy Centre, MAMA Centre is seriously disturbed with this occurrence, poor response to reported cases with subsequent maiming and killing of victims.
In a statement signed by the Executive Director, MAMA Centre, Barr. Ola Onyegbula said, "we have been following with keen interest, the horrific trend in rape prevalence across the country with disproportionate response by various authorities including ill-thought commentaries by individuals or group of individuals who publicly hold unfair and despicable views against the victims.
"We are perturbed that such traumatic and injury-inflicted moments are allowed to drag or go unpunished in most cases without adequate policy response to sanction and bring perpetrator(s) to justice."
Onyegbula said, while MAMA Centre condemn rape in all forms, "we hold firmly to our position that poor policy response in institutionalizing proactive measures and enabling reporting system as well as inadequate judicial in interpretation of processes and laws to adequately sanction offenders continue to pave way for recurring incidence at all levels."
The statement further reads;
"As rape constitutes a violence against women with traumatic injuries and even death of the victims, we demand that reported cases should be publicly condemned and not be treated with levity in all policy response and judicial interpretation.
"We are worried over the deliberate gender disparity in Nigeria systems coupled with a culture of aggression and domination that discourages the mainstream emergence of qualities such as trust, compassion, and gentleness, frequently associated with female virtues."
The Centre said, "Without the increasing incidence of rape in the country, we are also disappointed at lack of significant policy response to institutionalise functional rehabilitation system in support of the survival in seeking solidarity. This exacerbates pro-long deterioration of mental and physical health like depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, high blood pressure and sleep loss.
"We demand strengthened organs for the administration of criminal Justice that respect human rights, women’s rights as well as institutionalizing law enforcement and criminal justice structure that does not rely on fear and raw power, but on honour, professionalism, legality and fairness to all."
Onyegbula calls for prompt reformation of discriminatory laws and policies against women and girl child at all levels, stressing that there should be quick passage into law, the Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill, at the Federal and State levels to domesticate the CEDAW and AU Women’s Protocol; adoption and full implementation of the Violence against Women Bill at all state levels.
MAMA Centre also call for effective rehabilitation, recovery and reintegration programmes through medical, psychological and legal services for the survivals at all levels, adding that the law enforcement agencies capacity be strengthened to understand existing policies in order to prevent violence against women.