‘Schools must have sexual abuse policy’ – Mrs. Josephine Chukwuma

The Executive Director, Project Alert on Violence Against Women, Mrs. Josephine Chukwuma, has called on schools to create sexual abuse policy to protect pupils and members of staff.

The policy, she added, would help school authorities to respond appropriately to reports of sexual violence.

The activist stated this at a mentorship programme for pupils of Our Ladies of Apostles, Yaba, Lagos.

According to her, schools must endeavour to give positive response to reports on sexual abuse.

She said, “Schools are where respectful relationships can be most effectively promoted. Schools should have sexual abuse policy in place to address teacher/pupil abuse. Schools must respond in a positive manner to sexual violence reports, as negative response will discourage future reports. Responding positively will also send a powerful message to the school community about its commitment to sexual violence prevention.”

Chukwuma, an alumna of the OLA, spoke in company with other members of the alumni association as part of their annual reunion.

Noting that higher vulnerability of females to sexual violence were by familiar male figures such as friends, relatives, neighbours, associates, even fathers, Chukwuma added that only about 15 per cent of rape cases were perpetuated by strangers.

She advised the girls to address sexual abuse by disclosing such occurrences to trusted person(s) and relevant authorities.

The founder of Edumark, Mrs. Yinka Ogunde, who engaged the pupils in an interactive session, urged them not to underestimate the power of hard work.

Ogunde, who cited her career path right from 1974 when she was admitted to the school, explained that being successful as a female in a male-dominated career required intelligence and hard work.

Recalling her entry into OLA as one of the youngest pupils in her set in 1974, Ogunde said she believed that as the baby of the class, she could get away with being relaxed with her education.

She reminded them that the values they imbibed in OLA would be beneficial to them in the future.

SOURCE – Punch

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