Nigeria: Experts Advocate Mental Health Therapy for GBV Victims

11 December 2019

Dr. Zubairu Attah, a Consultant and Specialist on gender issues, on Tuesday in Lagos, stressed the need for mental health therapy for victims of sexual abuse and other Gender-Based Violence (GBV).

Attah made the call while presenting a paper on "Power, Hierarchy and Gender-Perspectives" at a four-day training on GBV in Lagos with the theme "Sensitive Reporting and Investigative Journalism."

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the training was organised by UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), under its Spotlight Initiative programe aimed at eliminating all forms of Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG).

According to him, access to mental health screening and the therapeutic sessions will aide victims with the survival skills and remedy on how to live with and survive abuse.

He said "Mental Health therapy is a key post-traumatic process because victims of GBV are, most times, perplexed and asked why it happened to them.

"So, they need someone to talk to them because if they keep it to themselves, it will pose serious mental health issues, the consequence or impact of this will be felt in the society."

He explained that the impact of sexual abuse could result in road rage, vengeance, suicidal tendencies, depression, and even murder.

Dr. Sharon Adetutu Omotoso, the Coordinator, Women's Research and Documentation Centre (WORD DOC) said some forms of violence tend to make victims behave in certain ways that might be detrimental to them and the society.

Omotosho, who is also a lecturer at the Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan, stressed the need for victims of any form of assault to undergo medical screening and counselling to enable them to cope with the trauma.

She, therefore, called on the media to engage in sensitive reporting and proper investigation in all cases of GBV.


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