With rising cases in sexual abuse, gender-based violence and harmful practices meted on women and girls, a group focused on women’s rights have called for an engagement of men and the boy child in the fight to restore sanity to sexual rights. They also seek collaboration among the government, Civil society organisations, institutions and communities to end sexual and gender-based violence in the state.
The group, Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC), made this call recently during a Capacity-building and consultative meeting in Lagos with grassroots women associations and leaders to better engage men and boys on Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG), Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV), harmful practices, women and girls access to sexual and health rights, in partnership with the European Union and United Nations Spotlight Initiative.
Speaking during the meeting founding director, WARDC, Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, implored government to show zero tolerance to gender-based violence, stressing that the roles of traditional and community leaders in Lagos State in the campaign against rape and other gender based violence in the state as community sanctions will discourage and rapists, thereby addressing sexual violence at the community level.
“We believe that having people at the community level spearheading the campaign against Sexual, Gender Based Violence and Harmful Practices is to ensure accountability. When rape cases are reported, the people at the community level will make sure they follow it up and take social action if security agencies failed to act when necessary.
“Traditional rulers, religious and community leaders should take the lead in the campaign against rape. We need to also engage the men and boys especially those in the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) to stand against rape.”
Afolabi-Akiyode added that their aim is to build structures through women to their various communities. “Our calculation is that if we train 30 women, they will get it to 30 others and at the end of the day, we will get 900 women who have been sensitised on the dangers of not training the boy child as they would do to the girl child. We are also going to have training for traditional rulers who are the custodians of communities.”
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