By Justina Auta
Invictus Africa, an NGO, on Wednesday, rolls out the “Survivor’s Guide” to assist survivors of rape and other forms of sexual violence and gender-based violence (SGBV) to access justice and information.
Ms Bukky Shonibare, Executive Director, Invictus Afric, said in Abuja that the practical guide would be a reference for both survivors and active bystanders with actionable information on SGBV.
According to her, the guide would also serve as tools for SGBV survivors to work through the trauma years after.
Shonibare said that the increasing cases of SGBV called for the inauguration of the guide by the NGO.
She said that the guide would assist survivors of SGBV to know their rights, how and where to get help, know the lies, know what to do and not to do when violated.
“The fourth part talks about what to do and not to do when you are sexually abused. Some when they are sexually abuse, they immediately rush to go and wash off. But that washing takes away evidence.
“So how do people know that they are not supposed to wash immediately?; so the part on know what to do and not do to people when they are sexually abuse.
“ And, the final part talks about where and how to get help, where can you go to get help.
“ And, with that we align that with our Orange Pages, which contains over 200 contacts of organisations in Nigeria, who are responding and providing services to survivors of SGBV.
”That is why we have deemed it necessary to launch the survivor’s guide,’’ she said.
According to her, the guide will be made accessible in various local languages or other means of communication to people both in the city and rural areas to assist them when needed.
“We want to make this survivor’s guide reachable to the different segments of the society such as persons living with disabilities, persons who are hard on hearing, persons who cannot see.
“How do we get this information across to them and even in local languages.
”So those are types we want to take moving forward in order to make sure that everyone in this society, who has either been abused or potentially to be abused, has access to this document,” she said.
Also, Osai Ojigho, Country Director, Amnesty International Nigeria, called on the government at all levels to fully implement the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Acts, to reduce the prevalence of SGBV.
Ojigho also called for psycho-social supports to survivors to reduce the trauma caused by the abuse.
The country director also called for increase access to free medical examination, use of appropriate language and actions while investigating such cases.
“The other thing is the resources that needs to be located in other to strengthen the justice system. VAPP provides all these and more.
“Sadly, many states that have even signed are yet to put allocation in their state budgets for implementing this Acts.
“That is why we are calling on government to put their money, where their mouth is.
“You have announced this and if possible for survivors, when they get to hospitals they should be taken care of free of charge, when they get to courts their cases should be fast-track.
“ That is why the idea of setting up special court, which matter deals with purely SGBV will help fast-track many of this complaints when they come to the judicial system,” she said.
On her part, Ms Aderonke Bello, Executive Director, FAME Foundation, said the survivor’s guide would sensitise the public on appropriate actions, when violated and how to seek medical aid and justice to ensure punishment for perpetrators.
“A lot of people do not know what to do, we are all talking about ending violence, but what about the survivors? This is why this book is timely and it will go along way, which can be used in grassroots community, city centre,’’ she said.(NAN)(www.nannews.ng)