The National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), FCT chapter, has advised the federal and state governments to set up referral centres for rape and gender violence cases across the country.
The chairman of the FCT branch, Comrade Deborah Yusuf, stated this while marking the end of the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence.
She said though victims of rape and gender violence access general treatment in the available hospitals, a referral centre would enable stakeholders to have a more coordinated response and intervention as well as verifiable statistics on the issues.
She said, “If there is a rape case in Gwarimpa, certainly the victim will access the facility there, but we want to have statistics because some of these victims don’t want to speak out for fear of the unknown because by the time they speak out, don’t forget they are going back to that same environment, so if we have a referral centre where people can be taken care of, even assistance can be given to them.
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“Because if you are raped, you don’t want to go back to that same environment, so globally now they have a centre that at least they will be kept there, put in school and government will take full responsibility.
“But in Nigeria, we are not yet there, so what we want now is to collaborate with the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives to have referral centre where they can be able to access care, psychotherapy, to have statistics and most importantly to follow up.”
Yusuf said women and girls are targets of violence in society.
“Women are always weak because we are not masculine and they look at us as being powerless but then we are telling the men that they shouldn’t resort to that because there are so many ways of resolving issues, especially family issues, not really punching the women because we are not punching bags.
“This happened because some of the men feel that they are insecure and they have inferiority complex so they resort to at least using their hand or whatever to kick the women.
“Even as nurses, we are targeted from our relations and equally from our professional colleagues that are working in the hospital, so we are saying no to it.
“We equally encourage women to speak out, they shouldn’t die in silence because the best thing is to speak out and not to die in silence because according to statistics, over eight million women in Nigeria experience one violence or the other especially those within the age range of 25 to 39.
“It can be verbal assault, it can also be physical assault, it can be socio-economic assault and they come from men, some are from boyfriends, some from even husbands and some at work,” she said.
She said women should be given a sense of belonging and not pushed to the background.
“Gone are the days when women are pushed to the background because women too should be there when decisions are being taken. We are tired of being in the ‘other room,’ we want to be in the board room, we want to be part of the decision-making,” she said.