Group Raises Concern Over Rise In Violence Against Women, Defilement Of Children In Bayelsa

From Udoyo Oyosongo



An advocacy group, Do Foundation, has expressed concern over the rise in cases of abuse of children and violence against women in Bayelsa State, declaring that over seventy cases of child defilement and violence against women were recorded in 2019.

Do Foundation is a non-governmental organization made up of seasoned lawyers and other professionals whose core objects are centered, but not limited to the advancement of Justice, Security, Development and more particularly the protection of vulnerable persons in the society and render pro-bono service to vulnerable persons in the society.

According to the group, thirty cases of child defilement were recorded with heart breaking cases such as the involvement of teachers defiling school pupils and two arrested peadofile committing suicide to escape justice after arrest.

The President of Do Foundation, Barr. Dise Sheila Ogbise Erhisere, while speaking with newsmen in Yenagoa, said the recorded cases of arrest and acts of pedophiles in the society is quite worrisome adding that the future, safety and Development of our children is under serious threat. “The Do Foundation in collaboration with 80 per cent of other sister NGOs and the Medical Women Association in the State have increased the advocacy against defilement of children, recorded arrests and prompt, free medical examination of victims of rape and defilement”.

According to Barr Dise Sheila Ogbise Erhisere, “In 2019, it wasn’t easy dealing with cases involving pedophiles, especially as it was about the abuse on children. We had over 30 cases or complaints that got to us, through parents of the victims, the victims themselves during our speak-up campaigns and through individuals who wanted to remain anonymous. The cases were quite worrisome, painful and heart breaking too.”

“One of them was a man who used his hands/ fingers to open a child’s vagina. Another two incidents were cases of teachers who defiled their pupils. The greatest challenge in all of this incidents is the fact that even relatives of victims eventually withdraw from their complaint when the matter is at the top stage of investigation. We even had a case of a pastor who came to plead on behalf of a pedophile.”

“A painful incident was that of an uncle who insisted the matter be settled immediately as the pedophiles family had pleaded to be pardoned. That was the end of the case as the victim was returned back to her relatives. For a case of defilement to succeed, the victim is also a vital witness. This are just few I have just mentioned,” the counsel stated.

“Another case was that of a 67 year old man who defiled a seven-year old girl, and that of a 50-year old man from Cross River origin who claimed to be a police officer. Investigations revealed that he wasn’t. On number of arrest, I would say a lot of perpetrators were arrested; prosecution is still ongoing for some pedophiles, one even died before he could face his trial, one of them committed suicide in the bush after infecting a child with HIV.”

On the cases of violence against women, Barr. Dise Sheila Ogbise Erhisere, confirmed that “over 40 cases were recorded despite the challenges of victims’ refusal to appear in court against their spouses,” adding that, our greatest challenge is always having women taking up the bold step to appear in court or following up their matter to a logical conclusion especially after mediation fails. In cases where Mediation fails and there are glaring evidence of threat to life, what we suggest is out right dissolution or judicial separation.”

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