The Executive Secretary of the Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency, Mrs. Titilola Vivour-Adeniyi, has said that the culture of impunity under the societal influence of patriarchy is hugely responsible for the spate of sexual violence in the country, and proposed equitable measures to address its scourge.
Speaking in a chat with our correspondent on Tuesday, Vivour-Adeniyi noted that sexual violence would greatly reduce if the culture of impunity was undermined and perpetrators were duly reported to authorities and consequently held accountable.
She said, ‘‘We find that the culture of impunity encourages the festering of sexual violence and so when we report cases formally, that’s one of the ways we can break the culture of impunity and hold perpetrators accountable.’’
According to her, every member of the society is a ‘‘mandated reporter’’ tasked with the social responsibility of speaking up against any act that threatens social order, and survivors of sexual violence need to be believed, and not be blamed or shamed in a way that could soft-pedal abusive acts, pamper or shield the perpetrator.
‘‘Survivors of sexual violence experience all different forms of post-traumatic stress disorders, and so it’s important that we encourage survivors to approach professionals like psychologists, to access help after the unfortunate incident and receive psychosocial support.
‘‘As members of the society, we have the duty to encourage survivors to speak up and report cases; we have a duty to protect the identity of survivors of sexual violence; we have a duty to ensure that we don’t victimise survivors; we don’t name and shame survivors, rather we protect them, ensure confidentiality is guaranteed, and instead of putting the spotlight on the survivor, it shifts to the abuser,’’ Vivour-Adeniyi remarked.
She also enjoined governments at all levels to take a multidisciplinary approach to address sexual violence whilst devoting appropriate funding to people and institutions that respond to sexual violence, stressing that the matter was far from being just a women’s issue, but that of a public health concern with security and economic ramifications.
In preventing sexual violence, the scholar urged the government and stakeholders to strengthen the education system, as well as ‘‘the law enforcement, the social welfare aspect, access to justice, provision of legal assistance, provision of empowerment when necessary, and rescuing.’’