The Tamar Sexual Assault Referral Centre, Tamar SARC, yesterday stunned participants at a media forum in Enugu as it revealed the high level of rape and other forms of sexual assault in the State.
According to Daily Post, the Executive Director of the Women Aid Collective, WACOL, Dr. Mrs. Joy Ezeilo, who addressed the media on the activities of Tamar SARC, said the organization had identified 472 cases within the last two years.
Among other cases, she identified that of a man who had serially defilled his three daughters aged 5, 7 and 9.
Ezeilo gave a breakdown of the cases as follows: rape and defilement- 421, attempted rape- 14, sexual assault -22, others 15.
Out of the victims, she further stated that 42 persons under the age of 0-5 years were involved; 86 persons under 6-10 years were also victims, while 73 minors under the age of 11-13 years and 81 others under 14-17 years also fell victims.
Also out of this number, 52 of the victims were raped by their family members, even as she equally disclosed that 89 of them were gang-raped.
Enugu-East Local government topped the chat with 157 cases, followed by Enugu-South, which recorded 114 cases.
Speaking on the efforts being made by the centre in handling the cases, Ezeilo stated that 37 cases had been charged to court, out of which 5 had been discharged, one sentenced to 14 years imprisonment, 7 at prosecution stage, while 24 were awaiting trial.
She blamed the poor number of the cases in court on societal influence, stressing that “in most cases, the family members of the victims will always withdraw at the last minute.
“In some of the cases, there will be pressure on the mother of the victims to withdraw the case, especially when their father is the perpetrator”.
Providing further detail on one of the cases, she disclosed that “On the 11th of April 2016, three sisters ranging from the ages of 5, 7, and 9 years were brought to Tamar SARC by their mother along with a WACOL legal advisor to report recurring cases of sexual molestation by their father, Mr. O and the compound caretaker in Uwani.
“It all began last year when the attention of Mr. O was called to the fact that his daughters were being sexually abused by the caretaker. After denying that the old man was capable of such an act, the girls’ father began engaging in the same act. Mrs. O reported that Friday, April 8, after having sexual intercourse with her husband, she stepped out to buy things to cook only to return and be told that her husband had molested one of their daughters; she thus decided to report the abuse before it became too late.
“The girls all recounted how their own father on various occasions digitally penetrated their vaginas, while engaging in penal penetration with them, when their mother was not at home. The children further testified that their dad penetrates the eldest child with his penis while insisting that the other children face the wall and he penetrates the other two with his fingers.
“The girls’ mother also added that her husband has a record of years of abuse, though she was only recently made aware of the sexual nature of the mistreatment. She explained that Mr. O’s drug and alcohol use may contribute to his abnormal behavior and attraction to his own daughters. All three girls received extensive psychosocial and medical treatment by Tamar SARC highly trained psychologists and medical professionals.”
Mr. O. was apprehended and is currently at the Uwani police station.