A Report on the Bays Planet Foundation Pioneering Project, YCIC, in Ilorin, Kwara State.

Virtue is lost, and morality is dead. We say this because back in 2020, the United Nations Women’s research revealed that 11,200 women were raped, and this includes children who were raped to death. Let’s bear in mind that this is just the number of reported cases. We live in a country where many are afraid of stigmas, so they don’t report cases of sexual abuse.

Every day, someone somewhere in Nigeria is either being sexually or socially assaulted or raped, and there is no age discrimination in these acts. Just a few days ago, a four-year-old girl, Khadija Adamu, died three days after being raped in Kano. A court in Yaba Lagos arraigned two brothers aged 10 and 15 for raping a four-year-old girl.

We agree that the government can do better in ensuring a safe country for all, but the threat of sexual perversion in our immediate environment and home is of genuine concern to us. This is why we at Bays Planet Foundation launched the You Care I Care (YCIC) project. It’s a capacity-building and stakeholder workshop involving parents/guardians, teachers, security officials, lawyers, and other stakeholders Nongovernmental Organisations (NGOs) and Community-based Organisations (CBOs) to

(1) Sensitise parents, guardians, and communities about identifying patterns of sexual abuse or violence in their children and

(2) Develop tangible ways to address these issues collectively

Our conversations at the 15th October 2022 event, which also served as the official launch of the You Care I Care project, was held in Queen Elizabeth School  Hall, Ilorin, Kwara state Nigeria, and featured two facilitators. They were Mrs. Azeezah Idris O., the Director of Premium Utilities Educational Services, and Barrister Anthonia Oshiniwe, a Human Rights lawyer with years of experience in ensuring justice for victims of gender-based violence. We also had guests from schools, including Government Day Secondary School (GDSS) Kulende Ilorin, and Government Day Junior Secondary School, Oke Suna, Ilorin. Amongst the NGO stakeholders present were Kwara SDGs, Brain Builders Youth Development Initiative (BBYDI), Centre for Community Empowerment and Poverty Eradication (CCEPE), and the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA). The room also had teachers, guardians, parents, community leaders, and security officials, amongst many other stakeholders. 

Our conversations featured spectacular remarks from our facilitators, who mentioned how parents, guardians, family relations, neighbours, teachers at the madrassah, and lesson teachers rape both male and female kids. They also cite that many parents and guardians get so busy with their work or religious duties that they neglect their children’s care and attention. This in itself is why many children lack knowledge of gender-based violence and sexual assault and fall victim to it. The absence of parent-children relationships makes it more challenging for kids to open up to their parents even in danger. 

Barrister Anthonia also shared a time that she went to sensitise some secondary school students about Gender-Based and Sexual Violence. When it was time to ask questions, the girls wanted to talk, but they couldn’t because their teachers were there. When she suggested that the students write their opinions or questions on paper, the report of assault and violence that filled it was enormous. The lesson here is that students under age 18 are being sexually assaulted or violated, and we must find ways to address these issues by monitoring, educating, and protecting our wards.

The breakout session was the most impactful of the event. The 28 participants of the event were grouped into five to identify the causes, signs, and effects of sexual violence and present solutions to solve these issues.

In summary, the causes for social, sexual, or gender-based violence identified at the event include:

We also discussed the signs that show an individual has been abused, and these include:

With all these signs of gender-based abuse and violence, what are the effects on the victims? The following is what we gathered from the guests and facilitators at the event:

Now that we’ve discovered the causes of abuse and violence, the signs reflected by abuse victims, and the effects of abuse on these victims, what about the solutions, which is what the stakeholder meeting is all about? Here are some solutions proposed to address abuse and limit (if not prevent) the crime:

We also mentioned the significance of reporting these cases in the panel and recap session. Barrister Gloria Okoduwa of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) said any case of rape or assault could be reported to them, and FIDA would take it up pro bono. They understand that the police often want to collect bribes before prosecuting someone or following up on a rape case, which is why their doors are always open.

Mrs Azeezah, who leads counselling sessions for men and women, when asked if the woman’s clothing is a justification for rape, said clothing isn’t a justification for rape. She mentioned that there are women in kirmah who has been assaulted, and even girls in the comfort of safe spaces like mosque, churches, schools, and their homes have been assaulted.

Barrister Anthonia is also a Human Rights lawyer who has spent years working to put law offenders in jail. She’s accessible and is willing to follow up on any violent case till justice is served to the victim.

You can contact us at Bays Planet Foundation to report a case or seek help through talktobaysplanetfoundation@gmail.com or 09046615197.

You can also contact Barrister Gloria to report a case or seek counselling via 08033603532 and Barrister Anthonia via 08030967291.

Mrs Azeezah Idris can be reachable for counselling for both males and females via 08188537907.

We are actively working to gain justice for victims of assault or violence. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you’ve been violated in any way in the past. We are sorry you had to experience that, and we’d love it if you join in the advocacy against this violent and ruinous occurrence.

Here are pictures from the event:

Bays Planet Foundation.

www.baysplanet.org

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