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The campaign against rape 

Rape can be simply defined as a crime of having sexual intercourse against the person’s will (consent), usually using violence.  This issue has become an epidemic in Nigeria.

The statistics are horrific. The country is saturated with serial reports on this atrocious malady.

Victims cut across tribe, religion, class, gender, age and other stratification.  Relevant laws such as the Criminal Code, Penal Code and the Child Rights Act, have seemingly failed to deter rapists. Recently, Nigerians and the international community were shell-shocked when an 11-month old baby was brutally defiled by her biological uncle in the city of Eket, Akwa Ibom State.

While leaving for market, the victim’s mother had left the baby under the care of the suspect.

She came back to meet the child in an unconscious state, bleeding profusely. Reconstructive surgery has been recommended, but the possibility of a hundred percent recovery appears slim. Compelled by the foregoing and other gory incidences, the reigning Miss Akwa Ibom State, Queen Blessing Usen, has decided to tackle the scourge head-on.

Unveiling the advocacy in Uyo at the Press Centre of the Akwa Ibom State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, she disclosed that it is a brainchild of her pet project, Light Up The Girl-Child, and that it would be run in collaboration with volunteers.  “As Miss Akwa Ibom, I am a voice to every girl-child in Akwa Ibom State.

Under the Light Up The Girl-Child Initiative, lives have been touched in many ways. #Iwasraped campaign is a bold step in safeguarding the future of girls and women. Any time a girl is raped, I consider it as Miss Akwa Ibom being raped.

Future doctors, lawyers, beauty queens, teachers and most importantly, future wives, are raped, their dreams marred and self esteem reduced to nothing.  The consequences of rape sometimes result in the death of victims.

“This advocacy is to run in collaboration with volunteers.

We are not only coming out to say stop rape; our mission also covers giving succour to victims, counseling, creating awareness and ensuring that perpetrators are brought to book.  Rape incidences occur everywhere –homes, schools, offices etc. This advocacy will surely help victims on the path of recovery.

Many are suffering in silence but this is the right platform for them to shake off the stigma. “We are out to put a stop to our women and girls being assaulted, molested, defiled or infected with deadly diseases by rapists.

Rapists and potential rapists must realize that their actions will be met with superior reaction”, she warned.  The beauty queen disclosed that the advocacy is commencing with a statewide sensitization campaign to secondary schools in the state and solicited the aid and cooperation of the public. She particularly sought the support of the media, security agencies, educational institutions, and religious bodies.

The State Chairman of the NUJ, Elder Patrick Albert, conveyed the union’s willingness to collaborate in a bid to make the mission come to fruition. Checks reveal that rape is one of the most prevalent crimes in Akwa Ibom State, nay Nigeria.

With your support for the #Iwasraped campaign, the statistics would reduce. Support this sane mission.

Ofonime Honesty,

Uyo  

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