Gender Based Violence: GENDI – WARDC take campaign to grassroot, warns against culture of silence
Gender Based Violence has been identified as a major factor that has led to the destruction of many homes in Nigeria.
The Executive Director of Gender Development Initiative, (Gendi) Prof. Olubunmi Ashimolowo made the revelation at a rally held in some communities in Sagamu and Ado-Odo/Ota local government areas of Ogun State.
Prof Ashimolowo, represented by the Program Officer of the Project, Mrs. Ademuyiwa Oluwakemi said there are various misconceptions around Gender Based violence as some people see it as part of marriage terms and conditions.
She said gender-based violence has destroyed the lives of many women as a result of the culture of silence and the fact that marriages are seen as contract that is lifelong.
She said when homes are free from violence, the family grows and hence the community experiences development.
The rally which was part of the annual 16 days activism to end Gender Based Violence is an international campaign to challenge violence against women and girls and it’s celebrated from 25 November, the International Day of Elimination of Violence Against Women, to 10 December, Human Rights Day.
At this year program, it was carried out by Gender Development Initiative, and took place on the 5th of December, 2022 which was the 11th day of activism held at Ado Odo Ota, Konifewo community.
Salient Times report that Gender Development Initiative’s vision is to empower disadvantaged women, youths and children.
This year activity by GENDi took place at Konifewo Village, and it was carried out with the support of FORD foundation and Women Advocates Research and Documentation Center (WARDC).
The overall goal of the Project is to end Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) in Ogun State.
The project, implemented by Gender Development Initiative is in two local government areas of the State, Ado Odo Ota and Sagamu local government.
The aim of the activity was to position Traditional Women Leaders in efforts aimed at ending GBV, via sensitization, market outreach and community rally.
As part of the project community members were addressed while commemorating the 16 days of activism aimed at ending Gender Based Violence against women and girls in the community.
Holding the rally which took off from the Baale’s House, the group were met by the representative of the Baale, Chief Mr. Ola Amore.
The Iyalode of Konifewo Village, Chief Mrs. Titilayo Alagbe joined by other members of the community and the Community Response Team (CRT) members, the Community Response Team who were trained community representative on Solidarity, Accountability, Commitment on Ending Violence Against Women and Girls (SAC-VAWG) via the project.
The CRT members have been taking up cases of Gender Based Violence in the community, providing necessary support for the survivors of GBV.
The Iyalode of Konifewo, Chief Mrs. Titilayo Alagbe during her presentation, gave kudos to the various achievements of the VAWGs Project, which started about 7 months ago in the community.
She spoke on factors contributing to Gender Based Violence which includes poverty, war and conflicts and harmful acts.
The Iyalode highlights the importance of financial independence of females, adding that it is an important factor for women in ending Gender Based Violence.
She engaged the community members on issues and experiences on incidences of Gender Based Violence within the community.
Chief Alagbe appreciated Ford Foundation, WARDC and GenDi for the initiative, while also canvassed the involvement of all community members in efforts to end Gender Based Violence.
Chief Mrs. Titilayo Alagbe thereafter led the rally, where she then spoke on the stigma around Gender Based violence, especially for the survivors.
Women were encouraged to speak out whenever they are experiencing any form of violence so that lives can be saved.
Some of the community members that were engaged during the rally narrated how easy it is to make excuse for an abuser, stressing that it is a wrong thing to do as most abusers do not cease with GBV actions and that this can lead to deaths, physical and psychological issues for the victims.
The rally went round the community and eventually visited the school community. Some of the pupils in the community school were interacted with and educated on Gender Based Violence, and how young children could be subjects of Gender Based Violence such as molestation and rape.
The Assistant Program Officer, Ifeoluwa Omoraka said Gender Based Violence has eaten deep into the fabrics of the community and that most women prefer not to speak out as a result of their financial status, with the fear of fending for the home and their children all alone.
Ifeoluwa emphasized on the need for the women to be financially equipped during this era.
She also spoke on the effective approach to reducing violence that does not involve the court actions which could be in form of investments in housing, health care for survivors, job programs and violence interruption programs.
She emphasized the various programs that need to be carried to further sensitize and engage the community members on taking steps in ending Gender Based Violence via prevention and reporting.
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