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Gender-Based Violence; Women Group Calls For More Awareness


Gender-Based Violence; Women Group Calls For More Awareness

Felix Ikpotor

In a bid to end cases of gender-based violence against women in Nigeria, a non-governmental organisation Kebetkache Women Development and Resource Centre has called on the media to create more awareness in reducing issues surrounding violence against women.

Director of Kebetkache Women Development and Resource Centre, Dr Emem Okon, made the call during a one-day training session for journalists in Port Harcourt on capacity building for journalists on gender-based violence and inclusion.
She noted that increased awareness would make the authorities and those in the localities take action against gender-based violence and inclusion.

“The essence of the training is to mobilise the media to report on issues of gender-based violence, to improve and increase understanding of what constitutes gender-based violence. She also stated that reports on sexual violence and rape have encouraged a lot of survivors to come out and overcome the stigma to say that they were raped or harassed.
We are expecting that at the end of this training, there will be increased reporting of gender-based violence and that media will reach out to more people who are directly involved in gender-based violence and let them know what to do when they are affected or see somebody suffering such,” Okon stated.

She urged the media to do more to reach out to the grassroots and community.
“I don’t think more is being done at the local and community levels to address issues of gender-based violence. At the national and state levels, there are legislations, but how do we work to enforce and implement this existing legislations, particularly at the local level and how is it being translated at that level. The local government is the closest to the people so if the people at the state capitals are enlightened and have knowledge of this existing legislations, the people at the community do not even have access to the media, they don’t have access to legal services so how are they coping?

Dr Okon also called for a change of attitude towards women by the local and community leaders.
“My interest would be that the local government still has a long way to go to endorse the legislation and begin to implement and enforce it.

Also, the community leaders have their roles in addressing this issue because the leading cause of gender stereotypes are the social norms, traditions, and customs, so there is a need for a change in mindset, a change in practices and that means that Advocacy should be targeted more at the people that can influence the system at the local level,” she stated.

Also speaking, the facilitator of the trainning, Chief Constance Meju said the government should consider women while enacting policies so as to engender social inclusiveness noting most government policies don’t have place for women.
“We must tell the government that women need to be built into policies. Most policies, as they are, do not have spaces for women.

“The issues around them, such as their health, finance, and family value issues, amongst others, need to be addressed.
“What government need to do is that any policy that is to be made, mainstream women into that policy because it’s affects them and women are 49 percent of the Nigeria population and 33 percent of the voting population. Women have been faithful to Nigeria, so Nigeria should pay back”, Meju stated.

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