Written by Ijeoma UKAZU

Lagos gov’t, Mirabel partner to celebrate rape survivors

To mark International Women's Day 2016, Mirabel Centre in collaboration with the Lagos State Domestic Violence and Sexual Response Team, DVSRT, and the Motherhood magazine teamed up to celebrate survivors of rape. 

Speaking to journalists, Executive Director, Mirabel Centre, Itoro Eze-Anaba, said the theme, “A walk to Celebrate Survivors of Rape and Sexual Assault in Lagos State,” is to create awareness and inform residents that Lagos state has a law to protect children from rape. 

She said the walk is geared towards educating the people that rape is a crime, stressing that anyone found wanting, will face persecution and be sentenced to life imprisonment. 

According to Eze-Anaba, "Lagos state law on rape is active and it cut across these segments like; mandatory reporting, sex offenders act, family court, family support unit in the Nigerian police. We also encourage individuals to do their beat. 

"We can say that reporting of rape cases is on the increase but it is difficult to say that rape is on the increase because we do not have the data to compare. If we have the data for the last 10 years, then we can compare it with what is happening now. We encourage people to report rape cases because it flourishes when people keep quiet. 

"We should stop begging on behalf of rapist. We should stop using religion and tribe as an excuse to cover up. We should let people know that if you rape one child, every other child is not free in that community. Individuals have a role to put this to an end." 

She, however, said that a lot of parents are in denial, "they think when they read about it, it cannot happen to them. Nobody is safe. The youngest child at Mirabel Centre is a 4 months old baby while the oldest is a 70 year old grandmother.” 

She, however, advised that children should at all times speak out as that is the only way to end the silence while calling on stakeholders to help in fighting rape in the society. 

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