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#Saynotorape: Nigerian Legislature, Judiciary Must Ensure Strict Policies, Punishment For Rape Offenders – JULI FOUNDATION CEO

By Francis Iwuchukwu, Lagos 

The Chief Executive Officer of Juli Foundation, Joy Ogiator has called stressed the importance of speaking up in cases of sexual harassment. 

Speaking at one of her community outreach, Ogiator who equally pointed out the need to respect the opposite sex, argued that, “In the heat of series of reported sexual cases and indictments; parents, teachers, social commentators and even political figures have taken a deep dive into addressing issues of sexual harassment and rape cases and how the dignity of every human can be protected.”

The Juli Foundation boss described sexual harassment as any unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favour, verbal or physical conduct or gesture of a sexual nature, or any other behaviour of a sexual nature that might reasonably be expected or be perceived to cause offence or humiliation to another, when such conduct interferes with work, is made a condition of employment or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment. 

According to Ogiator, “We need to instill self confidence and raise the standard of human lives in rural community because they mostly are the worst hit in cases of sexual harassment.

“They seek for better sources of livelihoods and in their search are exposed to people who want to take advantage of them, hence the need to equip them mentally on the need to resist and also speak out."

While noting that rape cases have been reported in some local community schools in Nasarawa State, Ogiator insisted that, “moving forward, we need to consciously strive to give these children a bright future and also ensure they do not have any need to have their education taken away from them because of fear or sexual harassment. 

“Juli Education Foundation's visits to Bakin  Ado Government Secondary  School Ado, and Government  secondary school koroduma one man village both in Nasarawa served as a take off ground for the foundation's campaign on #saynotorape, a campaign that has got everyone talking and seeking justice for rape victims all over the country.

“The foundation which is aimed at giving equal eduxational opportunities to children in rural poor communities believes that issues such as rape and sexual harassment needs to be nipped in the bud if children are to focus in school and pursue a bright future. 

"The stigma of getting pregnant and the lifelong suicidal thoughts constantly torments rape victims, and it could derail their plans of having quality education, and that is one thing out foundation is out to address among these children who are prone to andll manner of inducements from uncles, friends, and their employers."

She equally suggested the need for the Nigerian legislative arm of government, alongside the judiciary to work hard towards ensuring strict policies and punishment for offenders.

Ogiator equally called on parents, religious gatherings and online users to continue to preach the message of human dignity and also to discourage any form of sexual harassment,  body shaming and rape. For her most of these things happens because there's no one to remind the offenders about the wrong they are doing.

The CEO added that, “Men especially should stop pushing their friends to take advantage of ladies who do not heed to their advances. 

“And we all need to stop this tradition of making job offers and good opportunities dependent on the provision of selfish gratification."

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