NHRC Activism Against Rape, Gender Based Violence In Lagos

There is no doubt that rape and gender based violence is one of the most pervasive violations of human rights in the world, one of the least prosecuted crimes, and one of the greatest threats to lasting peace and development. The incidence of rape and domestic violence in Nigeria is fast assuming a pandemic status comparable if not more serious than Covid 19. This made National Human Right Commission, Lagos State chapter to organize a week long activism against rape and other gender based violence in the Capital city of  the state, led by her Coordinator, Lucas Koyejo.
Though the media have been inundated with news and stories of rape and indecent assault against mostly women and children and pathetically in some cases babies. In many cases the victims were also murdered in the process.In her speech, Koyejo thanks ladies and men for honouring the invitation to participate in this first day of this crucial week of activism.She said this is a situation that we cannot allow to continue and as rightly pointed out by the NHRC Executive Secretary recently, it has become a serious social malady which is taking an epidemic proportion and it must be urgently curtailed.The Coordinator said: “all agree that in view of recent developments, there is need to do much more to respond to the cries for justice of women, men, children and people with disabilities who have suffered gender based violence”. 
Koyejo said we have to do much more to end these horrible abuses and the impunity that allows these human rights violations to continue.I think we can all agree that the time for complacency is long gone, it is time for action to tackle this evil deeds. “The culture of silence on violence against women and rape need to be broken and now is the time for stronger action”.
“Rape and other SGBV has tremendous costs to individuals and communities. It has a negative lasting impact on the physical, social and psychological wellbeing of victims with direct impact on communities, nations and societies. If left unaddressed, these human rights violations pose serious consequences for current and future generations”.”The effects of violence can remain with women and children for a lifetime, and can pass from one generation to another. Studies show that children who have witnessed, or been subjected to sexual violence are more likely to become victims or abusers themselves.
Lagos Coordinator of NHRC said  “an ffective response to this violence, different sectors in society must work together. There is need to strengthen laws that deals with rape and SGBV to conform to the serious gravity of the offence through stiffer penalties and most importantly enforcement of the laws against gender-based violence will go a long way in checking the current dangerous trend.” She affirm that No rapist or abuser should be allowed to go free. A rape survivor must have rapid access to a health clinic that can administer emergency medical care, including treatment to prevent HIV and unintended pregnancies and counselling.
She site an example of a woman who is beaten by her husband that she must have someplace to go with her children to enjoy safety, sanity and shelter. A victim of violence must have confidence that when she files a police report, she will receive justice and the perpetrator will be punished. Also Adolescent boys in school and at home must be taught that coercion, violence and discrimination against girls are unacceptable.  “Ending rape and SGBV is one of NHRC’s key priorities and a critical part of the Commission’s mandate to protect and promote human rights”. In cooperation with our partners, we will continue to engage civil society and the various arms of government in ending violence against women and girls, working with survivors to empower them and making sure their experiences are taken into consideration in the development of responses.Nigeria is facing a grave protection failure: the failure to address the enormous harm caused by sexual and gender-based violence.Lucas Koyejo request for a change in attitudes that blame survivors, not the perpetrators and above all, there is need to ensure that survivors are listened to, taken seriously and their needs are put first.The law is clear: rape and other forms of sexual violence are serious crimes and human right violation, yet we continue to face failures of behaviour and accountability.”National Human Rights Commission is very well aware of the devastating impacts that sexual and gender-based violence have on women and men, girls and boys. We work with the survivors of these horrific acts, including with:Women and girls who have been victim of rape and gender based violence”.
Love and behold the Fathers and mothers whose children have been raped; young women fleeing domestic violence we see the enormous and lasting harm that sexual and gender-based violence causes: both physical and psychological. 
“Too often it is committed with the intent to de-humanize and degrade.There is need for urgent response, we all know that SGBV are violations that we do not see or hear: sexual violence is a crime obscured by taboo. Because of victim-blaming and stigma, too many walk with a secret shame.!” It is grossly underreported, covered up and too often the perpetrators go free. These violations are horrific. They should shock us – but instead of turning away in horror or discomfort we must act and survivors should be treated with respect and dignity. Above all she thank the tireless work of civil society advocates and Lagos State Government especially the office of the First Lady of Lagos State, Dr. (Mrs.) Sanwo-Olu and the Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT) and other relevant agencies for their effort to break the cycle of violence and to protect the rights of women and girls.Lastly, collectively we have a responsibility to do better: current efforts are clearly falling short.WToday, NHRC pledge to do better for survivors and work towards prevention of this heinous crimes. Rape, Sexual and gender-based violence is simply not something we can accept. It is time for an action to end rape and gender based violence.


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