AE-FUNAI WA ORGANIZES SEMINAR ON RAPE
- Urges Students to Break Free, Stand Strong and Find a Voice
In a bid to properly groom the students, especially the female folk, to be morally stable, and shun indecent dressing and all other acts that will lead to rape and sexual assault, Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike, Ebonyi State, Women Association (AE-FUNAI WA), an umbrella body for all female staff of the University, in conjunction with Students’ Affairs Unit, on October 8, 2019, organized a one day conference for the students titled: RAPE: Breaking Free, Standing Strong and Finding a Voice, at the Main Auditorium of the University.
The President of the Association, Dr. Mrs. Chinyere Nwajiuba, Ag. Director, Centre for Enhancement of Teaching and Learning, in her address, charged the students to break free, stand strong and find a voice, adding that ‘’RAPE is a form of sexual assault and misconduct forcefully carried out in a non-consensual manner to the victim’’. She urged the students to always stand firm and speak up whenever they are sexually abused by their lecturers or any male counterpart, while assuring them that the Vice-Chancellor, University Management and AE-FUNAI WA are available, accessible and willing to champion their cause.
Dr. Mrs. Nwajiuba, commended the visionary Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Chinedum Nwajiuba, for his passion in ensuring zero tolerance for rape and other forms of sexual violence in the university, adding that this is the only university where this is happening. She therefore called on the students to always dress properly and be mindful of friends and places they go, so as to avoid being victims. She however informed the students that there are units in the University where cases of rape and sexual harassment could be reported, which include Guidance and Counselling Unit, Health Centre, Office of Deputy Dean, Students’ Affairs (Female Matters).
While addressing the students, the guest speaker, Barr. Mrs. Joy Ogbonnaya, maintained that rape is an unlawful and a violent crime punishable by law. She advised them to shun temptations and distractions, be focused on their studies and always learn to say no, whenever the need arises. Barr. Ogbonnaya, encouraged the students to build self-worth in themselves, avoid low esteem, be strong and realize that it is not the end of the world, in case it happens.
Barr. (Mrs) Grace I.P. Chima, Chairperson, International Federation of Women lawyers (FIDA), spoke on the legal perspective of Rape and Sexual Harassment, advising the students to be careful and mindful of the way they dress, as indecent dressing is a major way of falling victim of rape. She reiterated that they have serious role to play before seeking for justice. ‘’Be mindful of the places you go to, the friends you keep’’ she said. She further encouraged them to be whistle blowers and break free from the trauma and stigmatization of rape, but rather pick up the pieces and forge ahead.
Barr. Mrs Chima reminded the audience that FIDA is their friend at all times, stressing that no matter what level they find themselves, nobody has the right to violate any woman and go scot free, and that the law is not a respecter of any person. She enjoined the students not to be timid or naïve, but be strong and find voice in FIDA.
Deputy Dean, Students’ Affairs, female matters, Chiaka Nnodi, in her vote of thanks, assured the students of her readiness to assist on any issues relating to sexual assault within and outside the university community. ‘’Do not panic, be strong and feel free with your studies” she said.
Highlight of the event was presentation of a mini drama sketch by a student of the university, demonstrating the agony of an imaginary victim of rape.