No fewer than 25 rape cases were recorded in Enugu State from January to March 2021, the Centre Manager, Tamar Sexual Assault Referral Centre (Tamar SARC), Evelyn Onah, said.

Mrs Onah disclosed this on Saturday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Enugu.

She said that 31 cases of attempted sexual assault and five Gender Based Violence (GBV) were also recorded within the same period.

She said that some of the cases involved minors as well as adults within the ages of five, 24 and 22.

The centre manager disclosed that an 88-year old woman was recently raped by a 22-year old man at Nsukka.

“The boy was later apprehended and is currently in police custody,” she said.

She said that a yet to be identified man in April raped a 47-year-old woman who was returning from a church programme.

“Just last week, we received a report that a 22-year-old girl was gang-raped while another 14-year-old girl was also raped on her way to the stream.

“The suspects were all arrested and will be charged to court,” she said.

Mrs Onah attributed the surge in incidences of rape in the state to rise in social vices and economic hardship in the country.

According to her, the incidences of rape has increased because many residents are idle while some are doing it as part of their lifestyle.

She, therefore, urged the youth to engage themselves on more productive and positive activities that would take their mind off crime.

“Stop intimidating the weak with your power but use such powers to protect them so that the society can gain something from you,” she said.

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Mrs Onah said the greatest challenge to the prosecution of rape cases in the state was that most families, sometimes, abandon such cases in the court because of “shame” and “to protect their name”.

“Some will even collect as low as N10,000 to settle out of court because of poverty in the land,” she said.

Mrs Onah urged survivors of rape to always speak out than to remain in silence.

Tamar SARC was set up by the Enugu State Government to support GBV survivors, with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through Pathfinder International.

The centre offers free medical, counselling and other support services to the victims and survivors of GBV in the state and beyond.

(NAN)

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