Lawyer advocates free medical services for rape, gender-based violence, sexual assaults victims

A senior state prosecution counsel in Cross River State Ministry of Justice, Blessing Egwu Obin, has advocated free medical services for victims of rape, gender-based violence and sexual assaults.

She spoke during a Spotlight Initiative event in Calabar over the weekend that survivors, and in the case of minors, their parents and guardians often abandon them due to the inability to pursue the cases or afford medical fees.

She said that there has been increase in cases of GBV, rape and assaults in the state, emphasising that it is now alarming.

She, however, bemoaned the fact that most of such cases often go unreported due to the fear of losing a face or being attacked by perpetrators.

The senior counsel advised that people should be sensitised to be reporting these cases to the authorities to enable the state follow up, punish where necessary and reduce the prevalence in the state.

“Cases of sexual abuses and gender-based Violence are increasing but sadly, many are not reported. People and survivors should summon courage to document these cases and report them to he police without delay.

“Cross River cannot condone sexual violence. People should also be well sensitised about what helps to get when their plights are reported. Ignorance and lack of education are the bane of victims. These crimes are against the state.

“We found out that many victims are unable to fund prosecution and medical expenses. We would like to say that survivors should be treated free of charge.”

Obin said they have secured more than 10 convictions this year, yet, maintaining that they are winning the war.

Also speaking, director of social welfare in the state ministry of humanity, Elizabeth Uquak said in 2020, there were 1026 cases of GBV and rape while 395 were reported between January and May 2021.

She said that continuous sensitisation is ongoing to stem such abuses in schools, families and communities.