The government of Oyo State has established a toll-free hotline for students and other victims of gender-based violence in the state to report such incidents.
Mrs Olafunmilayo Akinpelu, the Gender Desk Officer of the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Inclusion, encouraged students at Bodija High School in Ibadan on Thursday not to cover anyone who abused them in any way.
The United Nations Population Fund, Centre for Population and Reproductive Health, Oyo State Ministry of Women Affairs, and Ministry of Health organized the visit to the school as part of a 16-day advocacy campaign to prevent gender-based violence and Female Genital Mutilation.
Akinpelu offered the school a toll-free number, 080 04004 040, and asked the children to report to the government through it. Whistleblowers’ identities, she stressed, will be kept hidden.
She said, “Don’t continue to suffer in silence. Cases of gender-based violence including rape, child molestation, defilement and Female Genital Mutilation are very common and you have to speak out to end it.
“Don’t allow anybody to touch your private parts. Students do it, some teachers do it and some daddies also violate their daughters. Do not cover these evil people. Speak out against it, they may threaten you but don’t be cowed. You can report to your teachers who you know are friendly, you can call the toll-free line which is on the banners we brought.”
“Girls violate girls, this is not right, boys do the same, it is against the law and God himself frowns on it. Do not allow anybody to destroy your future. Don’t have sexual partners now, you are too young for that.
“But there are things you can do to wriggle out of the grip of sexual predators. We pray you don’t fall into their hands and do not do what will make you fall into their hands. But in case you are grabbed by a man and you have the opportunity to kick his testicles hard, go ahead and do that by the time he is writhing in pains, you will run away.”
Mrs Oluwatoyin Adaramodu, the school’s principal, also counseled the students against going into men’s rooms when running errands for them.
She claimed that the school had been teaching the students about their rights and how to act in order to avoid becoming victims of sexual predators.