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Sensitisation will curb gender-based violence

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By Abiodun Okunloye

LIFE empowers females to take on leadership roles and improve justice access.

Leadership Initiative For Youths Empowerment (LIFE), a non-governmental organisation focused on gender issues, emphasises the importance of educating and raising awareness among men and women to combat gender-based violence in Nigeria. This was revealed during a three-day capacity-building workshop organised in the Isolo/Oshodi Local Government Area of Lagos State to educate secondary school students and enhance their skills. The workshop focuses on the theme “Scaling up leadership of female survivors for effective gender-based violence (GBV)response and access to justice in Oshodi/Isolo and its environs.”

Chibugo Obinnwa, a gender and development consultant who is also one facilitator, discussed the possibility of ending gender-based violence in Nigeria during her presentation on advocacy, access to justice, and human rights. She emphasised the importance of addressing harmful cultural practices that negatively impact widows’ physical and mental health. Various abusive cultural practices towards women may involve imprisoning them with their deceased husbands, forcibly shaving their heads, depriving them of food, and forcing them to drink water mixed with corpse fluids. She emphasised the importance of putting an end to early child marriage and Female Genital Mutilation, labelling them as outdated customs that must be abolished. Despite current advocacy efforts, she stressed the need for a stronger and more concentrated push towards achieving this goal.

Awareness of gender roles will reduce violence against women.

She believes that eliminating or at least reducing violence against women and girls in Nigeria is achievable. This can be achieved through education and raising awareness within families about the importance of positive attitudes towards gender roles. It is important to provide education on interpersonal relationships and mutual respect for both genders. Understanding how to navigate relationships is crucial, and engaging with policymakers on this matter is essential. Continual education is essential, utilising various approaches like workshops and seminars to engage individuals consistently. It must encompass all individuals without separation. The goal is to ensure everyone is involved and informed.

Ogechi Jessica Stephens, the group’s programme Director, also facilitated the event and presented her expertise on “Overcoming Challenges and Resilience” in a paper. Their goal is to address gender-based violence by focusing on prevention, teaching adolescent boys and young males how to improve their treatment of their sisters, women, and mothers to create a more harmonious and caring environment in their churches, groups, communities, and homes. Many victims of sexual assault choose not to speak out and move on from the experience. This program was therefore brought to educate people about the possibility of seeking justice as a survivor.

Community support and empowerment to seek help will be provided.

Moving forward, the NGO will handle these cases to guarantee victims receive justice and hold the offenders accountable. This timely program provides essential support to the community, giving individuals the assurance they need to seek assistance from the organisation to bring their case to a successful conclusion. She emphasised that before the program’s implementation, perpetrators had the freedom to roam while those who were harmed were left emotionally scarred. The program aims to inform and enlighten students so they can, in turn, educate their families and communities.

Stephens noted that the students have successfully adopted a mindset of treating women with respect, ensuring no discrimination in any decisions, and refraining from name-calling and spreading rumours. She went on to mention that LIFE plays a crucial role in combatting gender-based violence (GBV) while also offering much-needed assistance to those who have experienced such violence. They are responsible for setting guidelines on addressing domestic violence, providing legal protection, and creating systems for reporting and handling cases. The steps and protocols for responding to reports of gender-based violence detail the process for reporting cases, which includes recognising indicators, reaching out to victims, and connecting them with legal and support resources.

Related Article: First Lady advocates for gender equality

Understanding advocacy and strategies requires peer pressure and a strong self-worth. Gender-based violence (GBV) is violence that targets individuals due to their gender, with women and girls being the most affected group, particularly those who are most vulnerable. A new route has been established for people to seek justice, guaranteeing that, regardless of their situation or history, has fair and equal opportunities for legal solutions and protections. Gloria Odimba, a legal practitioner, discussed the Lagos State DV Law and Guidelines for addressing cases of Gender-Based Violence (GBV), while David Ral-Onyejegbu focused on Peer Pressure and Self-Esteem during the presentations by other facilitators.

Related Link

LIFE: Website

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