Liberia Declares Rape A National Emergency

(FILES) This file photo taken on September 25, 2017 shows former football player and candidate in Liberia’s presidential elections, George Weah posing during a photo session in Paris.
Weah was sworn in as Liberia’s new president on January 22, 2018, in the country’s first transition between democratically-elected leaders since 1944. / AFP PHOTO / JOEL SAGET

 

Liberian President George Weah has declared rape a national emergency and has ordered new measures to tackle the problem after a recent spike of cases in the poor West African state.

The moves comes after thousands of Liberians protested rising incidents of rape in the capital Monrovia last month, in a bid to draw attention to the country’s alarming rate of sexual assault.

Late on Friday, Weah said he would install a special prosecutor for rape in Liberia, as well as set up a national sex offender registry, a statement from his office said.

The government will also establish a so-called “national security task force” on sexual- and gender-based violence.

The high rates of rape in impoverished Liberia, forced to contend both with war and the Ebola virus in recent years, has been a longstanding concern.

A UN report in 2016 recorded 803 rape cases the previous year in the country of 4.5 million, and found that only two percent of sexual violence cases led to a conviction, for example.

It was the resulting sense of impunity and the legacy of the 14-year civil war between 1989 and 2003, when rape was commonplace, that had created the current problem, it said.

Incidents of rape appear to have risen sharply this year, however.

Margaret Taylor, the director of Liberia’s Women Empowerment Network, told AFP last month that her NGO had recorded 600 cases of rape between June and August, for example.

That was up from between 80 and a hundred cases in May, she said.

Weah’s announcement of a national rape emergency follows a conference in the capital Monrovia on tackling sexual violence on Wednesday.

Addressing the meeting, the footballer-turned-president said Liberia was “witnessing what is actually an epidemic of rape within the pandemic, affecting mostly children and young girls across the country.”

Weah’s office said in the statement on Friday that further anti-rape measures will be announced.

 

AFP

Kaduna Assembly Approves Castration As Punishment For Rapists

PHOTO USED TO ILLUSTRATE THE STORY: A photo taken on December 2, 2019, shows women campaigning against rape during a protest.

 

The Kaduna State House of Assembly on Friday approved castration as punishment for anybody convicted for rape in the state.

This follows the amendment of the State Penal Code (No.5), law of 2017 which stipulates stiffer penalties for rapists in the state as part of the effort to protect women and children against any form of gender violence.

“Anyone convicted of rape will have his organ surgically removed so that even upon completion of his jail term, will not be able to commit the crime again,” the spokesman of the House, Musa Ahmed told Channels Television.

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Ahmed said in addition to the castration of the convicted rapist, the new law entails 21 years imprisonment for the rape of an adult and life imprisonment for the rape of a minor.

During a public hearing on the Bill seeking the amendment of the penal code last month, the wife of the Kaduna state Governor, Ummi El-Rufai proposed either castration or death sentence for rapists, even as she described such act as a gross violation of the rights of women and children.

While she expressed concern that an average of five rape cases especially minors are recorded in Kaduna State on daily basis, the governor’s wife noted that only severe penalties for rapists in the state penal code will serve as a deterrent to others.

Lots Of Sexual Assault Victims Destroy Evidence Unknowingly – Police PRO

A file photo of Mr Frank Mba.

 

The Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, has advised victims of rape to preserve the original scene of crime.

Speaking during the UN Spotlight Initiative Town Hall on Violence Against Women, Mba said the move is necessary to enable investigators effectively and successfully prosecute cases of rape and other forms of violence in the country.

“In every case of rape, there are fundamentally two scenes of crime – the body of the woman that has been raped as well as the physical location where this assault took place.

“These two scenes of crime must be preserved. Once we fail in preserving them, we run into fundamental problems with the investigations,” he said.

“It is also important that you maintain the physical scene of crime. Do not tamper with anything, do not try to make the bed, don’t dispose the condom if the person used condom while sexually assaulting you.

“If you suspect you were drugged or your drink was laced with any substance, please do not dispose the remnant of the drink whether it is yogurt, Ribena, coke or wine.

“Leave those things for us. When we come, we know how to pick them up no matter how disorganised the room is,” he said.

READ ALSO: President Buhari Calls For End To Violence Against Women, Children

Meanwhile, Minister for Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, has called for an end to the rising cases of rape and other forms of violence against women and girls in the country.

While condemning the act, she declared that further violent cases were unacceptable.

She, therefore, encouraged victims to speak out in order to end the scourge of violence against the female folks.

According to the Minister, perpetrators of violence against women should be named and shamed to serve as a deterrent to others.

President Buhari Calls For End To Violence Against Women, Children

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has once again called for an end to violence against women and children in the country and around the world.

In solidarity with Nigerian women and children, President Buhari said the country has made a lot of progress in the fight against gender-based violence.

“I stand in solidarity with all the women and children in Nigeria and around the world and say no to violence against women and children,” he said in a message during the UN Spotlight Initiative Town Hall on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Nigeria.

“A lot of good progress has been made in the past few months. We have established an inter-ministerial management committee on the eradication of gender-based violence in the country.

“Many states in the country have passed laws promoting access to justice for women and children and services are being improved to support survivors of violence.

READ ALSO: How I Was Raped For Years By My Step-Father – Survivor

While commending the Ministry of Women Affairs, and the Ministry of Justice, lawmakers, Nigerian governors, and the Police Force for their “plans to ensure the creation of a national action plan to combat violence against women and girls,” he admitted that violence against children and women has consequences.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

 

“Gender violence has consequences, not only for the victims and their families but on the community and the country at large,” he said.

“Preventing violence against women can save lives and prevent human suffering.”

According to Buhari, men also have a role to play in building a safer society for women and children and should recognize the role of women in the development of the economy and the country.

“A lot still needs to be done and I call on all our men and boys to help us in achieving our goal of creating a society that is free from domestic violence, rape and all other forms of violence against women and children,” Buhari added.

Lack Of Support For Victims Of Sexual Abuse Empowers Perpetrators – Advocate

 

 

Juliet Olumuyiwa-Rufai believes the lack of support for victims of sexual abuse emboldens perpetrators. 

She likened a situation where community members beg victims on behalf of sexual offenders to “telling them [perpetrators] to do more.

READ ALSO: For Every Case Of Gender-Based Violence, 10 Are Not Reported – Women Affairs Minister

“By the time we do not give support to survivors of sexual abuse, we are doing a lot of harm; we are empowering the perpetrators; telling the perpetrators to go ahead and go more,” Juliet who is the Centre Manager, Mirable/Partnership for Justice, said on Tuesday during the UN Spotlight Initiative Town Hall on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Nigeria.

“And Nobody knows whose turn it is going to be next. And we are making the survivors be so down, so withdrawn.”

 

juliet-olumiyiwa-rufai
Juliet Olumuyiwa-Rufai speaking during the programme.

 

While narrating her experience managing cases of sexual abuse, she said many victims of abuse are told to leave the matter for God, telling them [victims] that “judgement belongs to God.”

“It is made worse when they do not receive support from the society; when people turn to favour the perpetrators instead of the survivors,” she explained.

“So, you get to see community members coming to beg survivors to drop the case, not to pursue justice; going to beg on behalf of the perpetrators, trying to tell survivors that ‘Well, you can’t fight for God. Judgement belongs to God. You are too hard; can’t you forget about it?’.”

She reiterated that sexual abuse leaves victims with a lot of trauma with many of them going into depression and even taking their own lives.

“It [effects of sexual violence] cannot just go away,” Juliet added.

‘Widespread, Persistent Violations’

The Spotlight Initiative is a new, global, multi-year initiative from the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN).

The Initiative aim is to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls (VAWG).

According to the United Nations, “violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations in our world today.”

The Spotlight Initiative aims to bring focused attention to this issue, moving it into the spotlight and placing it at the centre of efforts to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment, in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

An initial investment in the order of EUR 500 million has been made, with the EU as the main contributor.

 

How I Was Raped For Years By My Step-Father – Survivor

 

A rape survivor in Nigeria on Tuesday shared a shocking tale of how she was raped for years by a man she thought was her father.

Fatima Ada Isiaku was first sexually abused at the age of five. Her stepfather started off her nightmare by using his fingers on her.

“At the age of seven, the abuse became worse. I was a sex slave for complete seven years under my mother’s nose without her knowing that I was being abused,” she said during the UN Spotlight Initiative Town Hall on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Nigeria.

Her attempts to get help failed as her mother, the person she went to would not believe her.

She endured the abuse and worse for years more, all the while believing her rapist to be her father.

“So, I thought he was my dad; I never knew he was not my dad. It was at the age of 14 that my mum found out (and) she revealed to me that he was not my dad,” she said.

Finding out

After years of trying to convince her mother to believe her, it took another humiliation before the truth came out. Her mother subjected her to a crude virginity test.

After returning home, to the military barracks where they lived at the time, she found herself received coldly by her mom.

“When I came back from school, my younger ones greeted her, I  greeted her; she responded to them but she did not respond to me. She said to me, ‘You stand in the corner’ and she told my younger ones to go inside and not come out. She told me to stand aside.

“So, she poured the water into me and the water went in. She then shouted, ‘So, you are not a virgin?’ 

At that time, at the age of 14, Fatima had not received any sex education and had no clue what the word ‘virgin’ meant.

“I said, ‘so, who is a virgin?’ and she said, ‘a man has been going through you’. And I told her it was my father,” she shared during the show.

It had taken Fatima so long to get her mother to hear and believe her because, according to her, her stepfather did not only make her a sex slave, he successfully ran a campaign to discredit her and turn her mom against her.

An EU, UN Initiative

The Spotlight Initiative is a new, global, multi-year initiative from the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN).

The Initiative aim is to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls (VAWG).

According to the United Nations, “violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations in our world today.”

The Spotlight Initiative aims to bring focused attention to this issue, moving it into the spotlight and placing it at the centre of efforts to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment, in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

An initial investment in the order of EUR 500 million has been made, with the EU as the main contributor.

Labour Unions, Women Protest Against Rape In Oyo

 

Labour unions and Non-Governmental Organisations in Oyo State have taken to the streets to protest against rape and other forms of gender violence in the state.

The women wing of the labour unions and a group of students from the University of Ibadan asked both the state government and residents to take bolder steps to curb the menace.

They were seen carrying placards with various inscriptions like “Women are not sex toys,” “No to rape is a collective responsibility,” “rape is a lifetime injury” among several others.

Speaking to Channels Television on Friday, the protesters explained that efforts were ongoing to lobby states and the National Assembly to ensure a quick review and passage of Anti-Rape and Domestic Violence laws in the country.

READ ALSO: Benue Lawmaker Remanded In Prison Over Criminal Conspiracy, Kidnapping

Addressing the protesters, the Chief of Staff to Governor Seyi Makinde, Bisi Ilaka said the state government will do all within its power to secure the lives of residents in the state.

Oyo State recently recorded cases of violent attacks on residents of Akinyele Local Government Area where at least six women were raped and murdered.

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Governor Masari Seeks Better Protection Of Rape Victims

Katsina State Governor, Aminu Masari speaks to the Trude Union Congress members and women during a rally in Katsina on August 20, 2020.

 

Katsina State Governor, Aminu Masari has asked security agencies to give maximum protection to victims who testify to rape.

The governor made the appeal on Thursday when he addressed a rally organised by the Trade Union Congress in collaboration with the women commission in Katsina.

According to him, there are many ways a woman can testify without really disclosing her real identity.

Governor Masari asked the law enforcement agencies to expedite action on those that are being detained.

READ ALSO: Three Nigeriens Arrested Over Arms Smuggling In Sokoto

Speaking further, he reminded people in the state that the consequences of keeping quiet on rape cases mean one had aided, abetted and helped rapists to escape justice.

“Since last year, the state government through the House of Assembly enacted a law in order to prescribe two punishments – rape with murder is capital punishment, death.

“Rape without murder will attract life imprisonment. So I appeal to the law enforcement agencies in particular to expedite action on those that are being detained.

“However, one of the problems which you need to talk to women about is that if you are raped, you know the person who raped you and you keep quiet, you are allowing him to rape another woman,” he said.

Governor Masari Seeks Better Protection For Victims As Hundreds Rally Against Rape

Governor Masari speaks at a rally against rape in Katsina on Thursday… August 20, 2020

 

 

Governor Aminu Masari of Katsina State has appealed to law enforcement agencies and prosecutors to find more ways of giving maximum protection to women who have been raped or molested.

The governor made the call on Thursday when he addressed a rally against rape organised by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) in collaboration with the Women Commission at the Katsina government house.

Participants in the rally carried placards with inscriptions, such as “No To Rape” and “Government should impose stiffer punishment for rapists”, condemning rape and calling for it to be rejected.

By better protecting victims, and finding ways for them to testify anonymously, the governor believes more women will be willing to testify and help fast track the prosecution of rape cases.

Chairperson of the Women Commission, TUC, Hajara Idris, decried the increase in rape cases, which influenced the decision to hold a rally.

 

 

Pledging the support of his administration to women, Governor Masari said his administration is open to corrections and constructive criticism aimed at improving governance in the state.

He called on people to speak up because keeping quiet only aids and abets rapists. When people keep quiet, rapists escape justice due to the lack of evidence, he said.

Governor Masari, who attributed an increase in rape in the state to banditry, explained that as part of efforts to tackle the menace, the state government through the state house of assembly had enacted a law that prescribes the death penalty for people who rape and murder the victims.

Apart from bandits, kidnappers have increasingly raped and maimed women in the state, a development the governor also acknowledged.

He promised that the state government would continue to work towards halting the trend.

A banner held by participants at a rally against rape, organised by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) in Katsina on Thursday, August 20, 2020

 

The state’s Commissioner for Women Affairs, Rabia Muhammad, explained that the rally was organised as a follow-up to a workshop held earlier by the Trade Union Congress and women commission on rape in the state.

Chairperson of the Women Commission, Hajara Idris, decried the increase in rape cases, which influenced the decision to organise the workshop.

The workshop, according to her, will be held in the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja in order to sensitise the public.

President Muhamadu had on June 11, 2020, inaugurated a management committee to address and manage gender-based violence and Idris urged Governor Masari to emulate the action at the state level.

She eventually presented a letter to the Governor on the need for action to halt rape in the state.

Cuba Gooding Jr Accused Of Rape

(FILES) In this file photo taken on January 22, 2020 US actor Cuba Gooding Jr. arrives at the Manhattan Criminal Courtin New York City.  Johannes EISELE / AFP

 

Actor Cuba Gooding Jr, already charged for groping three women, has also been accused of raping a woman in 2013, according to a civil lawsuit filed Tuesday.

In the complaint, registered with the Manhattan federal court and reported by several US media outlets, an anonymous woman accused the 52-year-old actor of raping her in a Manhattan hotel seven years ago.

After inviting her for a drink, Gooding — who won the 1997 Oscar for best supporting actor for his role in “Jerry Maguire” — took her up to his room.

The woman said the actor prevented her from leaving once he began undressing in front of her, then pushed her onto the bed and raped her twice even though she kept asking him to stop.

“Our client is making very serious allegations against Cuba Gooding, Jr. in her lawsuit which we have filed,” said lawyer Gloria Allred, who is representing the plaintiff.

Allred is seeking an unspecified amount in damages for her client.

“She looks forward to obtaining justice in a court of law,” Allred told AFP.

Gooding’s team denied the claims. “The allegations are false and perjurious,” his lawyer, Mark Jay Heller, told AFP.

“We believe the case will be dismissed.”

Since 2019, some 20 women have accused Gooding of inappropriate touching or sexual harassment.

He was charged with sexual aggression towards three of the women behind the accusations.

The actor’s trial in Manhattan was set to begin in April before it was postponed indefinitely due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

It is not known whether the woman who filed the civil suit for rape contacted the police or the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.

Gooding became known for his role in the movie “Boyz n the Hood” (1991). He recently portrayed OJ Simpson in the mini-series “American Crime Story: The People v OJ Simpson” (2016).

Gooding’s case is one of several high-profile cases to come out of the #MeToo movement, which won a major victory in February when disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison.

AFP

50 Suspects Arrested For Rape, Defilement, Domestic Violence In Lagos

A file photo of the Commissioner of Police in Lagos State, Hakeem Odumosu.

 

A total of 50 suspects have been arrested for rape, defilement, and domestic violence in various parts of Lagos State.

The Commissioner of Police in Lagos, Hakeem Odumosu, disclosed this to reporters on Tuesday at the Police Headquarters in Ikeja.

He made the disclosure while giving an update on the successes recorded by personnel of the Lagos State Police Command in the last one month.

Odumosu, who said the suspects were arrested in the last one month, gave the breakdown of the figure according to the crimes committed.

He said, “It is worthy to note that 29 suspects were arrested for rape and defilement; 21 suspects were arrested for domestic violence.”

The police commissioner noted that two suspects were also arrested for child abuse while scores of others were apprehended for various crimes in the state.

According to him, 27 armed robbery suspects and 15 traffic robbery suspects were arrested within the last one month.

A photo taken on December 2, 2019, shows a woman campaigning against rape during a protest.

 

Odumosu added that the police successfully foiled 22 traffic robbery attempts while two armed robbery suspects died during the exchange of fire with security operatives.

On cultism, he said, ”We arrested 39 suspects for cultism and have successfully prevented the annual 7/7 and 8/8 celebrations by the cultists.”

“Four suspects were arrested for kidnapping and 19 suspects were arrested for murder. The Command prevented seven suicide attempts. All the suspects were charged to court,” the police commissioner stated.

He revealed that the police recovered 10 assorted firearms with lots of ammunition of different calibre, cutlasses, axes, and other dangerous weapons and charms from the suspects.

Odumosu, who said the police also recovered three stolen vehicles, believes the command has successfully nipped in the bud the menace of kidnapping in Lagos, especially on the waterways.

He assured the residents of the state that the police would continue to ensure the safety of their lives and properties.

Ensure Severe Punishment For Rapists, Kaduna First Lady Tells Assembly

The First Lady of Kaduna State, Mrs Ummi El-Rufai has called for stiffer punishments for rapists in the state.

 

The First Lady of Kaduna State, Mrs Ummi El-Rufai, has asked members of the House of Assembly to enact a law that will ensure severe punishment for rapists.

She made the appeal on Tuesday during a visit to the Assembly complex for the public hearing on the bill to amend the state Penal Code 2017 after the bill scaled through the second reading.

Mrs El-Rufai proposed either castration or death sentence for rapists, describing such an act as a gross violation of the rights of women and children.

Expressing concern that an average of five rape cases especially minors are recorded in the state on daily basis, the governor’s wife noted that only severe penalty for rapists in the state penal code will serve as a deterrent to others.

Upon arriving at the committee meeting room of the State House of Assembly, she was warmly received by the Speaker Yusuf Zailani and other lawmakers.

Her mission here is to intimate the lawmakers on the dangers of rising rape cases in the state and the need for them to hasten the passage of a bill that will mete out severe punishment against rapists.

READ ALSO: Abducted Yobe Village Head Regains Freedom

The bill which sought to amend section 258 of the principal law is to be amended so as to make it more effective in protecting the citizens of the state particularly women and children against rape and other sexual violence.

Reacting to the rape issue, the Speaker of the House, promised to give the bill a speedy passage into law by next week after the public hearing.