The Abiodun Essiet Initiative for Girls (AEIG), in collaboration with The Girls Pride Foundation, has called on stakeholders in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to take cases of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) seriously, to help address teen abuse.
The group made the appeal at a town hall meeting with women, traditional rulers and some key stakeholders in the Kuje Area Council in Abuja.
They described the cases of SGBV in the country as alarming and worrying.
Ms Abiodun Essiet, Executive Director of AEIG, said the town hall meeting was aimed at educating rural communities in FCT about gender-based violence and the need to speak up when faced with such issues.
According to her, SGBV has become a current pandemic in society, proper awareness is paramount to help address the challenges.
Essiet said the goal of the awareness was to help eliminate teen gender-based violence in FCT schools through education.
“The organization feels there is a need to speak up; This project will be carried out in the six Area Councils of the FCT, to talk to people, especially girls, with a short video.
“We will continue to have the conversation with the community and with their traditional rulers, so that when there are cases, they know the proper authorities to report to.
“In addition, we will sensitize them to help them understand the narrative of the various forms of sexual and gender-based violence, ranging from rape, spousal abuse and domestic violence.
For her part, the CEO of The Girls Pride Foundation, Ms. Akinwole Ishaya, said that cases of SGBV needed to be quickly reported to the proper authorities so that victims could obtain justice.
Ishaya said the organization focuses on the disadvantaged who have little or no access to education and empowerment, and also advocates for greater economic opportunities for women.
According to her, the organization also aims to address the structural and systemic barriers that prevent women from taking advantage of an opportunity of equal economic outcome.
He said the meeting, which focused on the scorecard for community response to sexual and gender issues, revealed areas where the community needs improvement and help.
NAPTIP Director General, Dr. Fatima Waziri-Azi, in her presentation said that SGBV refers to any act perpetrated against a person’s will and is based on gender norms and unequal power relations.
Waziri-Azi said that NAPTIP has trained and dispatched 12 protection officers to the six area councils in FCT, adding that Kuje council currently has two NAPTIP officers who have been inundated with many cases since taking up duty. in June.
According to her, most of the cases required the execution of the arrest of the suspects and were referred to the NAPTIP headquarters to facilitate the cases.
It said violence includes threats of violence and coercion, sexual and gender-based violence inflicting on women and girls, men and boys, and serious violation of various human rights, adding that sexual and gender-based violence can be perpetrated by anyone.
“Causes of violence include mental health problems, poverty and unemployment, education, young parents, relationship-keeping behavior, historical factors, cultural factors, and self-defense.
“The preventions are: find out about the root causes of violence, interrupt sexist and discriminatory language, be critical and question, interrupt abuse, stop sexual harassment.
“Stop blaming the victims, stop rape culture, awareness and sensitization, campaigns, workshops, meetings and if you see something, say so,” he said.
The head of the gender and social protection section of the Kuje area council, Mr. Emmanuel Magaji, thanked the group for the initiative and for raising awareness among community members about sexual and gender-based violence.
Magaji added that the knowledge gained from the town hall meeting would be shared with other traditional rulers within the community, to effectively mitigate the threat.
However, the head of the office maintained that the program had given the area council more knowledge on how to handle and report SGBV cases.
Edited /Muhammad Suleiman Tola
Source Credit: NAN