More than 18 paedophiles, rapists and other s*x offenders have been convicted in Akwa Ibom state between October 4, 2018 till date.
The state commissioner for agriculture and women affairs, Dr Gloria Edet who disclosed this on Monday while briefing the press on the commencement of 16 days of activism for the elimination of violence against women, said more than 180 complaints bordering on defilement and rapes had been received within the period.
Edet said her ministry had partnered the United Nation Populations Fund to establish Gender Based Violence Response Unit to deal with the problem as it was observed that many such incidents had happened unreported for reasons such as stigmatization of the survivors, threats, culture of silence, shame and intimidation.
According to her, the 16 days of Activism against Gender Based Violence which kicks runs from December 2 till December 10, every year being the World Human Rights Day is celebrated throughout the world to commemorate the call for global actions to increase awareness, galvanize advocacy efforts and share knowledge and innovations.
She said the theme for the year 2019; “Orange the World: Generational Equality Stands against Rape” was because high rate of rape cases reported all over the world affects all categories and ages of women and children.
“According to the United Nations statistics on women, 35% of women worldwide have experiences physical and or sexual violence in their life time, while 11% of African women have experienced physical and sexual violence by an intimate partner.
“Ministry deals with culprits of rape, defilement accordingly. They are not spared irrespective of status. It is worthy of note that the ministry had between September 2018 to November 2019 undertaken various activities with a view to mitigating violence against women and children in the state,
Such activities according to her include; empowerment of Vesico Vegina Fistula, VVF, and Recto-Vagina Festula, RVF survivors, convening of stakeholders consultative meetings on gender based violence, prevention and response, raining of first responders on gender based violence , response and data management, organising of capacity building workshop for social welfare officers as counselors on sexual gender based violence (SGBV).
“We are for both men and women, the same way we deal with women that are raped by men is the same way we deal with men that are rape by women. We have settled over 200 family issues, we call both parties and advices them, some later reunite with their families while in some cases we advice the man to be paying the woman monthly to take care of the children or pay to the ministry and we call the woman to come for it”. She said.
As part of the activities to commemorate the 16 days of activism, Edet said the ministry would carry out a capacity building programme for key stakeholders, community influencers, faith based organisers and other groups on the ills of gender based violence and the need for the passage of the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Law in Akwa Ibom State.