The Women Aid Collective (WACOL) on Saturday expressed concern over the rising cases of rape in Enugu state, despite efforts to fight the crime.
Dr Joy Ezeilo, the Executive Director of the Non-Governmental Ogranisation (NGO) spoke in Enugu at a briefing of the Tamar Sexual Assault Referral Centre, (SARC) an affiliate of WACOL.
Ezeilo who was represented by WACOL Communication Officer, Mrs Egodi Igwe said that rape cases in the state rose from 320 in Sept., 2015 to 408 in Jan., 2016.
She said 32 cases were before the court, out of which one conviction was recorded, seven at prosecution stage while others are awaiting trials.
She said that the victims were mostly minors and elderly – age 70 and above-.
“The victims are either raped by one person or gang raped.
“Some of the victims are HIV positive while some are pregnant; this is because of delay in reporting the cases to the center or the police.
“Cases of rape were recorded in all the 17 local government areas while the highest figure occurred in the state capital, Enugu East, Enugu North and Enugu South,’’ she said.
She identified a major challenge to rape as stigmatisation preventing the family of victims from reporting cases of sexual abuse to the appropriate quarters.
Ezeilo said that the organisation would embark on intensive media and community sensitization campaign against sexual violence in the state.
“So far, we have been running jingles in the radio and have embarked on sensitisation in Churches, Mosques and communities but we still need to do more.
“Our major challenge is the fund to reach out to all nooks and crannies of the state,’’ she said.
Ezeilo commended the Enugu State Government for its assistance and urged it to enhance its support to help the centre ensure sustainability of the project in the state.
NAN reports that Tamar SARC was created in 2014 to provide high quality and confidential, medical, counseling and other support services to victims and survivors of sexual violence. (NAN)