The Founder, Dr. Kemi DaSilva-Ibru told newsmen at the inauguration of the foundation’s Educational School Programme (WESP) Initiative in two phases at its Yaba office in Lagos recently.
“This is a preventive initiative by WARIF since May with two phases that will drive home their aim – reduce the statistics of children sexually abused.
In its phase one, with the approval of the Lagos state Ministry of Education; over the first quarter of 2017, she expressed that WARIF embarked on a baseline survey of the prevalence of cases of sexual abuse violence among adolescent school children in various communities and identifying the existing patterns of behaviour of adolescent between ages 13 and 16.
She expressed: “We distributed over 1000 questionnaires anonymously to children in that age gap in 10 selected government secondary schools from the School District IV in Lagos.
DaSylva-Ibru said 86 per cent of the respondent, both male and female, believed that sex education could help reduce the incidence of rape and sexual assaults. “It also showed that 52 per cent of boys noted that the types of films they watch contribute to why boys may engage in rape.”
“Key findings in the survey revealed that one in four adolescents knows at least one survivor of rape. One in three adolescents identified fathers as abusers, while one in every eight girls is willing to report a case of rape or sexual assault.”
Meanwhile, the Deputy Commissioner State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (CIID), Panti, Lagos, DCP Bolaji Salami, while commending the NGO for its activities, assured them of the police cooperation in reducing the scourge. “We are committed to ensuring that victims are not only given adequate attention at the family units but convicted offenders are brought to book.”
Fielding questions from this reporter, Salami noted that although citizens had complained of police attitude towards rape cases in the past, he said the police is actively involved now and has been well-trained to handle it and ensure perpetrators are brought to book. “Most of the cases referred to Panti in the last two years were prosecuted.”
Beyond that, he encouraged people to speak out for justice. “Gone are the days when people died in silence. People no longer shy from reporting cases of sexual assault and rape in the country as it used to be.”
Now, the Director of the Office of the Public Defender (OPD), Mrs. Bukola Salami, has assured Lagosians that the department is in the process of ensuring that the state considers as a criminal offence, anyone who tries to withdraw such cases involving family members and intend to treat as such.
Therefore, the second phase of the programme will comprise activities and tutorials tackling gender-based violence and the issues that surround it has been introduced to those selected schools. “The ongoing four weeks programme consist of weekly sessions from a curriculum specifically designed.”
With this, WARIF says this result in increased awareness, knowledge and behavioral change achieved by this intervention will help stem gender inequality