Amnesty International has released its latest research on access to justice for survivors of sexual violence as Nigeria faces the crisis like the rest of the world.
The report made available to Lex Community NG states that;
“Sexual violence is a worldwide crisis and Nigeria is not exempt from it. Over the years, there have been reports made public by individuals, civil society organisations and the media of widespread sexual violence. Following the lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, there was an upsurge in reports of rape across Nigeria. These reports of rape triggered huge outcry and condemnation across the country. Survivors and their families, concerned citizens, civil society organisations, religious groups and other stakeholders continue to demand justice for survivors. This report documents barriers that women and girls survivors of rape face in accessing justice.
Survivors interviewed for the report disclosed that they often face barriers such as stigmatisation, rape myths,
gender stereotypes, lack of survivor-friendly reporting mechanisms, extortion and unprofessional conduct
by some law enforcement agents. Furthermore, logistical costs, lack of survivor protection and support,
lengthy legal process and other militating factors often impede survivors’ quest to pursue justice.
Survivors that were interviewed for this report shared grave stories of the physical, emotional and
psychological impact of rape undermining the enjoyment of their human rights. Survivors reported severe
and long-term consequences of rape on their health and wellbeing.
Some survivors suffered serious health complications such as Vesicovaginal Fistula, trauma, depression, low self-esteem, sexually transmitted infections, etc. For some survivors, rape results in unwanted pregnancy. Some girls interviewed by Amnesty International said rape-related pregnancy meant a temporary stop to their education. For others, an end to their education.
Amnesty International is calling on the Nigerian authorities to ensure that cases of rape are thoroughly,
promptly and impartially investigated, perpetrators are prosecuted and if convicted, sentenced with
appropriate penalties. Measures must also be in place to address the root causes of sexual violence, the
stigma surrounding it, victim-blaming, gender stereotypes and rape myths. The authorities must ensure
that survivors of rape are provided with effective and holistic reparations that are proportional to the
gravity of the harm suffered.”