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16 days activism: British Council, Magni-Cedar partner to end Gender-Based Violence

By Gbenga Akinfenwa
10 December 2022   |   3:58 am
In commemoration of the 16 Days of Global Activism against Gender-Based Violence (GBV), the Magni-Cedar Production House, in partnership with the British Council and Live Abundantly...

[FILES] Gender-Based violence

In commemoration of the 16 Days of Global Activism against Gender-Based Violence (GBV), the Magni-Cedar Production House, in partnership with the British Council and Live Abundantly, staged a multi-dimensional one person theater production based on true life events on gender violence.

Titled MENACE, the play, which was created, written and performed by Benny Akinyemi-Finisher, was premised on narrating real life GBV events, which affect both sexes.

This, he displayed with dexterity and finesse, not leaving the root causes of the menace, which often time cause life-long trauma, shame and stigmatization.

The well-researched performance informs and connects the audience with the reality of GBV in a compassionate and empathetic way.
Akinyemi-Finisher cleverly portrays the unique perspective of men as victims of violence in the play.

“The production was based on true-life event of things that happened to people, which needs to be told. Most importantly, often time we go for the rotten fruits, we try to get rid of the fruit of domestic violence – what has happened, the perpetrator and others, but we need to go to the root because through the root we fix the fruits that comes from those trees and if the old ones are the dry fish that we cannot bend, we still have the younger ones that we can speak to and tell them the truth about that. Sometimes, you feel this way and people out there. This shouldn’t be an annual conversation, it is an every day conversation; speak for yourself as a man, speak up for other men,” he said.

On his part, the British Council Country Manager, Lucy Clarkson, represented by the British Council Director Examinations, Nigeria, Marniee Nottingham, said the play really demonstrated the importance of art as a tool to tell “our stories based on true events on what goes on in the world, whether in Nigeria, UK or globally.”

The British Deputy High Commissioner, Ben Llewellyn-Jones, represented by the Country Director, Department of International Trade, Chim Chalemera, who agreed that the male angle to GBV was not really getting attention, stated that “we don’t talk much on violence that men face in a relationship.”

Chalemera added: “The play was a step in the right direction and a step to make the society a better place and make it possible for men to be able to speak up and to speak out and not feeling ashamed to say this is what they are going through.

“I am not sure it’s an African thing; I think it’s a men thing. Men are just not speaking up enough. This notion of men doesn’t cry is not helping at all. There’s need for advocacy and awareness and let us be our brother’s keepers. We need to inform ourselves about GBV. Any type of violence is not acceptable.

“I don’t think it’s government’s responsibility; it’s my responsibility and yours. It’s something that each and every one of us must address. The moment you say this is government’s own, then you are basically saying it has nothing to do with me.

But if you take it as your responsibility, then we will eventually address it.”

The Founder of Live Abundantly, Dr. Ama Onyerinma, said violence of any sort should never be tolerated, adding that the menace should be given a voice for others to learn and find a solution necessary to abate it.

She said: “I do understand very clearly the rate of emphasis on violence against women, but it is high time we recognised that men are also being violated, perhaps not same degree that we know of women, but it does exist and for that reason it should be given attention.

“Unfortunately for men, their cultural, societal and biases have even made it much more inhibited for them to speak about it. Women can share their experiences with the women folks, but for men there’s really nowhere to go. But irrespective, it’s time we talk about it, in order to find a mitigating factor for it.

“Unfortunately, we live in a society where men are in control and dictate a lot of things but I think for that reason the more men speak about it the more likely it is going to get quick attention. But the reality is that gender parity is necessary; women taking the seat on the table is important and representation of everyone is necessary to deal with this menace and there’s need for education and social services.”