A group, the Concerned Nigerians Against Rape and Defilement (CONARD), has identified fears of stigmatisation which often prompts rape victims to want to conceal crime against them or accept to settle out of court as a major impediment to curbing the dastardly act in the society.
Lamenting the frustrations usually encountered in convincing victims or their families to press charges against rape offenders, Convener of CONARD, Comrade Isreal Joe, noted that the ongoing war against rape and child abuses would have been easily won if victims are prepared to prosecute offenders.
Speaking during the anti rape and child abuse rally held in Warri, at the weekend, Comrade Joe, explained that the body decided to embark on the enlightenment campaign in conjunction with the Committee For Defense of Human Rights (CDHR), to encourage victims to speak up against the crime.
According to him, “It is disheartening for us always when parents of victims of defilement always come out to settle out of court. This settlement have always involve the suspect of rape offering monies to victims.
“This has to some great extent truncated our collective fight against rape and defilement.
“We have come out in this great number today on this campaign and awareness sensitization to discredit such dastard act and publicly condemn the menace called rape”, he stated
“Rape leaves a great psychological effect on victims that if proper psychological counselling is not carried out, they (victims) live in such pains and sometime only justice can heal the wounds”.
“We hereby urge the public to refrain from such acts as we are ready to arrest family members who demand money for settlement for conspiracy and also charge them to court”, Comrade Joe stated.
In his own remark, the Chairman, Delta state branch of Committee for Defense of Human Rights (CDHR), Comrade (Dr) Prince Kehinde Taiga, appealed to victims and their families to join hands with the bodies to make their quest for justice to rape and child abused victims realisable.
He noted that since no amount of money offered as settlement by suspects can erase the physical, psychological and emotional trauma suffered by victims, then justice remains the best option not only in assuaging the victims but also in putting an end to the dastardly act in the society.