Sexual abuse is one of those social vices prevalent in Nigeria. Educating members of the society on this issue seems to be one of the solutions to this issue. In this interview with Abosede Hassan, she tells us her experience as an advocate against sexual abuse and violence.
Can we meet you?
My name is Abosede Hassan, a level five Law Student of Obafemi Awolowo University and currently the Director of Global Youth Mental Health Forum, Nigeria.
Can you tell us what you do at Global Youth Network?
It is a forum of all Nigerian Youth from different states where we educate ourselves on the need to stay mentally healthy and live a good life.
Can you tell us about your latest project?
Campaign on Child Sex Education. It is a campaign to Educate little children between the age of 2 – 12 on sex education.
Can you tell us more about the campaign and what you sought to achieve?
There have been lots of cases on Sexual abuse in the past few months which resulted to lots of ranting on social media. There I got to realise that every child, whether boy or girl has been sexually abused while growing up.
It is for this reason that I and few colleagues decided to educate the Pupils of Ibukunola Memorial Nursery and Primary School on Sex Education which include knowing their body organs, what is meant by Sexual Abuse and When/How to say ‘No’.
All these is for the kids to be aware of what sex is and how to handle every situation as it comes.
What drives you and your team to organize these campaigns?
I am opportune to intern at the Lagos State, Ministry of Justice where I work with the Special Assistant to the Attorney General/Commissioner of Lagos, Mrs Bola Elizabeth Akinsete. It is a great experience and one that has taught me ‘Guts, Persistence and Integrity’.
I am also opportune to attend judicial hearings at Justice Soladoye’s Sexual Offences Court which is one I have cried more than I can count. The number of Sexual Offences cases and Victims that come up daily is one that is very alarming. This is why I with the help of my team decided to organise a Campaign on Child Sex Education as it is one of the most effective ways of reducing Sexual Violence in our society.
What challenges did you and your team face in your campaigns?
All thanks to God, there was no challenge whatsoever but I want to thank my teammates Adekunle Deborah, Ojelola John, Adigun Maxwell, Adaramola Victoria, Okonkwo Jemima and Ezema Victor for their zeal and interest towards the campaign.
What advice would you render to the members of the public as it concerns sexual abuse?
This will be particularly for parents. I will say there is an essential need to daily teach their children of Sex. Not just the fallacies, but the truth on everything as it regards sex.
Don’t you think that seems odd in light of the Nigerian conservative societal values?
No, I don’t. The society has taught us to be silent and this has not reduced the cases of sexual abuse. Rather, it has increased the cases of sexual abuse and the more reason is because of lack of sex orientation.
What should a victim of sexual abuse do? For those that have fallen victim long ago, what should they do? For those that just fell victim, what should do they do? Is it too late to complain?
Victims of Sexual Abuse should report to the nearest Police station and should seek rehabilitation to avoid mental breakdown. It is never too late to make a complaint and seek rehabilitation.
Are there agencies that a sexual abuse victim can contact?
Women at Risk International Foundation (WARIF), Lagos State Domestic Violence response team (DSVRT), Mentally Aware Nigeria Initiative (MANI) etc.
What do you have to say to round off this interview?
It is not just the kids that needs orientation on sex, adults also need re orientation on sex because the cases on Defilement are caused by adults who sexually penetrate a young child. However, these adults with proper re orientation and metal balance are likely to avoid sexually defiling little children. Also, there is a need to add Sex Education from Nursery to Secondary school in Nigeria’s Education Curriculum.
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