The Institute of Management and Technology (IMT), Enugu, has established a Student Support Unit (SSU) to curb sexual violence and abuse.
The Chairman, SSU, Mrs Patience Ugwuegede, made this known in Enugu on Friday at an event to sensitise students on the dangers of sexual violence.
The programme is supported by Community Art Project Fund.
Ugwuegede said that the students are expected to report any act of sexual violence, including abuse and harassment by lecturers.
According to her, the identity of the student reporting the lecturer will be protected.
She said that the IMT management would ensure that any case reported to the unit would be handled judiciously and also assist the victim get back to his or her studies.
She said that the sensitisation would enlighten participants more about sexual violence and abuse which is on the increase in the society.
“The motive for organising this event is to sensitise the students on the dangers of sexual abuse and violence.
“Also to know what to do when one is a victim, that will help to change the people’s perception on speaking out,” she said.
A keynote speaker, Mrs Iruka Nwokedi, said that sexual violence, especially rape, remains complicated in Nigeria, considering the fact that a victim needs witnesses to prove the case.
Nwokedi, however, pointed out that the issue had changed in Enugu state with the signing of the Violence Against Person’s Prohibition Act.
She said that the Act had made prosecuting a rape case easier and equally expanded what is constituted as rape.
“When you are raped, there is a trauma you are going through, and if you do not speak out, you will live with that trauma all your life.
“I always say to them, try and speak out. My problem is with the parents because they will tell you that we have settled, we do not want stigmatisation and I want my daughter to get married.
“I keep asking, many girls are not raped but these girls are not married? So, rape is not what is stopping your daughters from getting married.
“It is good for the victims of sexual violence to reach out to therapist, in order to get over the experience,” she said.
Also, the Representative, African Wild Movement for Girl-child, Mr Okechukwu Alakwe, blamed the African culture and perception for the ever-increasing gender-based violence in the continent.
Alakwe urged traditional rulers, community and religious leaders to intensify awareness to stop the menace affecting mainly the women.
One of the participating students, Miss Somto Onoh, urged victims of sexual violence to summon the courage to report to law enforcement agencies.
Onoh said that sexual violence cases would continue unabated if the victims remain quiet. (NAN)