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Groups call for end to paedophilia, SGBV with advocacy walk

By Tobi Awodipe
19 December 2020   |   4:04 am
The Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT) has decried the rising crime of pedophilia and sexual assault against children and minors.

Cross section of participants at the annual advocacy walk against Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) in commemoration of 16 days of activism to end violence against women and children organized by the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT), Hon. Okoya Thomas and the Institute of Counseling in Nigeria at Freedom Park, Lagos.

The Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT) has decried the rising crime of pedophilia and sexual assault against children and minors.

Mandated to provide holistic response to incidents of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) in the state, DSVRT partnered with Hon. Okoya Thomas and the Institute of Counseling in Nigeria and took to the streets of Lagos to commemorate the 16 Days of Activism to end violence against women and children.

The advocacy walk was also an avenue to create awareness about paedophilia, sexual abuse in all forms and to encourage non-offending individuals reach out to speak with a psychologist or counsellor in order to receive help.

Dr. Tolulope Oko-Igaire, the Executive Director of the Institute of Counseling in Nigeria (ICN), while speaking to The Guardian said, “Many of us know people around us that struggle with paedophilia but we keep quiet. If you have the urge to molest young children or feel yourself getting sexually attracted to them, please speak up and call our hotline, 08167243815, and we would get you help immediately with 100 percent confidentiality.

“Call our counselors and we would keep your identity private and give you needed support and help. I am pleading with parents to be more sensitive and alert with your children. When you see someone getting very close to your children in a manner that seems suspicious or uncomfortable, call DSVRT or the institute and report immediately so we can take action.”

For APC woman leader, Honorable Okoya Thomas, everyone must continue working together until all forms of SGBV are brought to an end. “I know the state government is doing everything possible in terms of legislature but with this walk, we want to reach out to men struggling with their sexual attraction to children and underage girls.

“There are 50, 60, 70 year old men that molest three year old girls and infants, this is extremely traumatising to me, what then do we say about the child that was molested? This is tantamount to murder; we have to put a stop to this immediately. We must reach out to the grassroots where this problem is so rampant. We want to tell these men that there is help, all the arms of government as well as private bodies are providing help that you can access if you need it.”

While DSVRT coordinator, Titilola Vivour-Adeniyi noted that they decided on an advocacy walk this year to spotlight pedophilia. “We want to be proactive and prevent pedophilia before the offenders start offending. It’s not normal to be sexually attracted to a child or minor, and if you feel this way, you need to speak to counselors right away and seek appropriate help.

“Spotlighting pedophilia is just one of our programmes. We want to identify, raise awareness and possibly prevent these crimes before they even happen which is in tandem with what we are doing with the Nigerian Correctional Services (NCS). We started that this year, offering psychosocial support and therapy to sex convicts in the prisons. Some of them would be released back into the society and we want to reduce recidivism and help them rehabilitate. This will reduce the chances of them re-offending when they are admitted back into the society,” she added.