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Nigerians need education on sexual assault, rape-warning signs says NASFAT missioner

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Imam Onike Abdul-Azeez

Sequel to incessant rape and sexual assault in the country, the Chief Missioner, Nasril-Lahi-L-Fatih Society, Alhaji Abdul-Azeez Onike has said it is imperative for every Muslim to be educated on the issue, warning signs and what a faithful needs to know on sexual harassment and gender based violence.

Speaking at an event organised by the Office of the British Deputy High Commission in Lagos, the Chief Missioner said that protection of honour and dignity are key objectives of Islam and Shariah.

He reiterated the position of Islam on sexual harassment. Saying, one of the Islamic legal maxims is that harm must be eliminated. He recalled the saying of the Holy Prophet (SAW) that ‘Do not inflict harm and do not allow harm to be inflicted upon you.’

Onike further stated that Islam is not a patriarchal religion but that of equity, giving each one what he or she is entitled to and that the noblest are the most pious regardless of gender, according to Quran 49 verse 13.

He suggested that models used in Liberia and India to fight the scourge of sexual harassment should be adopted in Nigeria.

“Which are the co-option of religious and faith leaders in the advocacy, as employed in Liberia and the use of virtual reality (VR) technology to create a film which is shown at Train Stations as used in India, having found out that just 20 percent of internet users are women in their country,” (D.R, Dunning, 2018).

“Although recent events have shown that religious leaders could be part of the problem, Islam as a religion lays down rule on mingling between opposite sex. The Prophet said, “No man is alone with a woman (one who is not his wife or close relative) the Shaytaan will be the third one present.”

Hence, religious and faith leaders have a significant role to play and must also ensure they are above board.

Onike said religious leaders are vital for this campaign against Gender Based Violence, for they are voices for peace and reason, they help in shaping social norms and behaviours, exert moral influence over home life, are factors in shifting wider cultural practices among others.

According to him, he said NASFAT has been collaborating with other organisations like UNICEF in ending violence. especially violence against children and women and they are ready to join hands with any other agency, group or organisation to tame the malaise.

Onike said parts of what have been found out by researchers to be pre-rape warning are unwanted attention, touching, persistence and verbal threats.
“Coined by Patricia Rozee and Mary Koss in a 2001 study, “pre-rape” refers to categories of behaviour that have been scientifically linked to male perpetrators.”

He commended the courage of a victim, one of the panelists, who was bold to speak out ignoring the cultural inhibitions.

He also seized the opportunity to remember the originator of the cliche “#ME TOO”, Tanara Burke who was said to have been confided in by a 13-year old girl victim of sexual harassment. Tanara later realised that she should have told the poor child “Me too”. In 2006, Burke founded the me too movement and began using the phrase “Me Too” to raise awareness of the pervasiveness of sexual abuse and assault in society”.


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