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Sexual and gender based violence- Group says collaboration among stakeholders will end the menace

Bukola Afeni

 

A group of Non-Governmental organizations has called for improved collaboration among stakeholders towards ending the scourge of violence against women and girls in Nigeria.

The group made the disclosure at a two-day workshop which is part of the Spotlight initiative founded by the Europe Union and implemented technically by five Union agencies.

They emphasized the need for more awareness and enlightenment in the education sector and society at large on the menace of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in Nigeria.

Speaking at the workshop in Abuja, the Executive Director of Dinidari Africa, Ndi Kato, noted that there has been an increase in SBGV cases across the country since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Despite the high incidences of SGBV in Nigeria and the associated impacts on survivors, they have low reportage and help-seeking behavior. Only 32% of women who have been victims of violence sought help, and it’s mainly from their own families. This is a result of prevailing cultural norms that discourage reportage of SGBV, poor awareness of the framework for reportage of crime, and shortcomings in the justice framework.”

In the same vein, she added that informal means of seeking help which is through family and community heads usually dampens the SGBV response outlook in Nigeria.

While appreciating the support of the Commonwealth Foundation and the NHRC, she called for improved collaboration among key government and non-governmental organizations towards ending the scourge of violence against women and girls in Nigeria.

Spotlight Project Manager for UNESCO, Dr. Stephen said during COVID-19 there were a lot of issues of rape, and children who were being violated by their relatives.

While noting that the culture of silence and stigma has prevented some people from speaking out when they are violated.

“People should be able to speak out when their rights have been violated. What would be the future of a girl that is being constantly violated? We want girls to be able to speak out through constant education when they know their rights. Students should be enlightened on how to be bold and develop a good sense of confidence in themselves at all times. They should be able to say out their mind, even if someone like their teacher sends them on awkward exercise.”

He added that there are several activities that needed to be implemented to review the global guidance in terms of rules and regulations to guide issues relating to school-related violence.  “ We are engaging  with  White Ribbon Alliance  under the Spotlight initiative to implement activities so as to domesticate the global guild lines  by UNESCO and  the union women.”

“We want to produce rules and regulations that will guide schools in terms of what they are supposed to know in relation to gender-based violence in schools. We want to develop guidelines that will give orientation to school administrators, school teachers, and even students so that they will be acquainted with the rules and regulations that will guide them in their various schools.

The Consultant for White Ribbon Alliance, Ojonwa Mianchi, said every member of the society needs to ensure that there is an end to sexual and gender-based violence in the country.

She explained that school-related gender-based violence is an act or threat to either physical or psychological violence done to children based on their gender.

The consultant added that in some cases gender-based violence occurs and the people are not aware of the necessary step or actions to take.

Speaking further, she noted that schools should be properly sensitized on what to do when they are raped or molested.

“We are collaborating with the government to take practical steps in ending sexual and gender-based violence. There should be a Sexual proper referral system to suggest where a child can go when they are being assaulted or raped. There should be a committee that can support survivors or guardians.”

 

 

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