NGO enlightens students on rape, sexual abuse

A non-governmental organisation, The Soul Bliss Foundation, on Tuesday, enlightened some students in Lagos State on rape and sexual abuse in a programme tagged “War Against Rape and Sexual Abuse.”

The Founder of the NGO, Ms Joan Linda, said that the programme was a sequel to the “My Virginity, My Pride” seminar.

Linda, an educator, said that the programme was an annual programme aimed at enlightening girls on sex, rape and other forms of sexual abuse, as most girls get pregnant out of wedlock.

She said she was a victim of rape and that the trauma, depression, and shame had remained with her.

She said she started the NGO to be a voice for affected persons and that the initiative had yielded positive results, having helped to reduce the suicidal tendencies of some rape victims she encountered.

She said that a lot of sexual harassment happens in schools and many schools tend to cover it up.

A guest speaker, Mr. Kenneth Chukwuemeka, said that one out of four females experienced some form of violence in Nigeria.

Chukwuemeka also said that one in 10 boys also experienced some form of sexual violence/molestation from a senior person or adult in their lifetime.

According to him, the topic of discussion is sensitive and needs to be treated as such.

He gave an account of how a maid who lived in his compound harassed him when he was nine years old and the maid was 17 years old.

He said, “I couldn’t tell anyone, as she threatened to kill me if I told anyone.”

Suggesting some ways to prevent sexual abuse, he encouraged parents to teach their children sex education.

He also enjoined students to report bad messages received from anyone to higher authorities.

He also implored students to ask questions that were not clear to them, learn from other people’s experiences, and share their sexual harassment experiences.

Another guest speaker, Mrs Esther Anuma, said, “Students, your body is your friend. Cherish it”.

Anuma, who reminded parents that they were caregivers, gave an account of how her father was there for her during her trial times when she was raped and got pregnant at age 16.

She said life was a most difficult examination of which, if not properly planned for, such a person would fail.

She advised students to behave rightly, as what they do today will come back to them in the future.

She urged women to always dress decently.

“I urge females to dress decently, as their dressing attracts men. Men are moved by what they see and ladies are moved by touch.

“Stand out in what you are doing,” she admonished.

She advised the students to be positive-minded and have good ideas, as word of mouth could frame one’s future.

“Say good things about yourself and it will come to reality,” she said.

The highlight of the seminar was the presentation of awards to students who participated in an essay writing competition organised by the NGO.