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Succour for rape victims as Nigeria gets directory to tackle SGBV

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Worried by the increasing spate of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) in the country, Invictus Africa and the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) have developed a protocol document to stem the tide.

According to the group, the document is a culmination of the first phase of the OSIWA-funded Prevention, Accountability, Support (PAS) Project aimed at promoting the understanding of sexual and gender-based violence.

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Speaking during the unveiling of the document in Abuja, the First Lady of Ekiti State, Erelu Fayemi, urged the government to treat the structural and underlying causes of violence against women to stop the prevailing trend, warning Nigerians against fueling inimical practices that undermine the emotional abilities of women in the society.

According to her, the country needed a robust community engagement to ensure that every victim is recongnised as a survivor.

She said women could not afford to live in a society where sexual violence persists, saying Nigeria would not get to that stage.

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“We need to work hard on the implementation of our policy and frameworks. We need to provide resources for the treatment and care of GBV survivors. We need more collaboration between Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government,” she added.

Also speaking, the Executive Director of Invictus Africa, Bukky Shonibare, said the ‘Orange Pages’ was developed to complement past and ongoing efforts to curb SGBV and ensure support for survivors.

“The ‘Orange Pages’ contains the names and contacts of verified and validated individuals and organisations, including the sexual assault referral centres, all of whom respond to SGBV and provide support to survivors. These contacts can be reached by survivors for support, advice, and referrals,” she said.

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Shonibare explained that it was important that survivors know that they are not alone and that help is not only available but that it is also accessible.

“The uniqueness of the ‘Orange Pages’ is that it is not just in digital form but also, and most importantly, printed copies, which will be distributed and made available in places where people at risk of SGBV are, such as government institutions, local council areas, worship centres, private offices, police stations, hotels, apartments, community centres, schools and higher institutions, and other relevant places where people without internet can access the directory.

“Our goal is to ensure SGBV survivors have access to responders and service providers anywhere and anytime they require it,” she added.

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