The Chairman of Nigerian in Diaspora Commission, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa has challenged journalists to raise awareness and advocacy about rape for the victims to get justice.
She made the appeal during a capacity building for journalists on reporting rape organised by the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC).
She said that although many victims of rape were usually hesitant to speak out, journalists had a duty to advocate and encourage victims of rape to speak out.
“Let somebody know that you can go to jail for 14 years for 21 years, if you rape an underage girl. There is a lot of work for you to do in reporting, in advocacy and in encouraging victims of rape to speak out. Till date, I get people who come to me and say ‘I don’t want to talk about it’.
“Because women are, they just don’t want to talk about it. And that is the truth. We need to encourage women to speak out more and seek justice, particularly about what is going on back there. It is really happening with the younger girls below 11 years. Even the parents can talk about it. So it is your role as reporters to report this and follow it up,” Dabiri-Erewa said.
Also the Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to the President, Femi Adesina, described the issue of rape as very sensitive and emotive. He said the victims of rape could be further destroyed if the cases were not reported with compassion.
Lecture papers were delivered by other members of the faculty, including Prof Abiodun Adeniyi, Head Mass Communications Department, Baze University, Abuja, legal practitioner, Dr. Kayode Ajulo, Manager News NTA, Mrs Rabi Abdullah, Editor in Chief Premium Times, Musikilu Mojeed and investigative journalists, Dr. Theophilus Abah and Idowu Bakare.
The DG NCAC and convener of the programme, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, said rape and other forms of violence against women and in some exception, men is an infringement on victims’ rights to privacy, self-preservation and dignity.