Gender Mobile decry school-related sexual violence on girls
As a civil society organisation advancing the rights of women and girls, Gender Mobile Initiative (GMI) has emphasised the need to make institutions of learning safe for everyone to thrive, particularly women and girls.
According to the Executive Director of the organisation, Omowumi Ogunrotimi, school-related sexual violence has assumed an epidemic proportion.
She noted that the vice was further enabled by the repressive culture of silence due to lack of comprehensive policies, dearth of institutional accountability and lack of survivor-centred reporting channels.
“While both male and female experience sexual violence, power relations and the dynamics of difference make women and girls disproportionately affected with associated negative outcomes for girls in terms of educational attainment, mental health and economic outcomes. For girls to stay in school and achieve their full potential, environments of learning must be violence-free,” she said.
While acknowledging the collaborative effort of organisations across board, Ogunrotimi reaffirmed her organisation’s commitment to support more institutions of learning across the country to strengthen their internal mechanisms to prevent and respond to sexual violence.
This, she said, includes the design of processes and structures that centre on leadership, priorities and experiences of women and girls in the enforcement of relevant policies.
She added that a critical component of this effort is the wide adoption of the Campuspal mobile app for confidential reporting and mainstreaming preventative education through the institutionalisation of a sexual assault prevention and consent education module.
She added that the group’s ‘Prevention Begins with Me’ campaign would be owned and driven by institutions of learning, stressing: “Environments of learning should be safe for all and the cost of education shouldn’t include the cost of sexual violence as girls and young women from low-income families continue to end their education abruptly due to perceived and actual experiences of sexual violence.”
Ogunrotimi maintained that the goal to make educational access safe, healthy and equitable was achievable.
“We urge every critical stakeholder including government to demonstrate the requisite political will which includes allocation of resources to the implementation of institutional frameworks,” she added.