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WARIF holds awareness walk in five cities against gender-based violence

By Waliat Musa and Idara Akaniyene
07 December 2021   |   4:05 am
The Women at Risk International Foundation (WARIF), a non-profit organisation leading the charge against gender-based violence in Nigeria, at the weekend held its third annual advocacy march against Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in Nigeria.

Founder of WARIF, Dr Kemi DaSilva (left); First Lady of Lagos State, Dr Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu; and First Lady of Ogun State, Mrs. Bamidele Abiodun at the walk… on Saturday

The Women at Risk International Foundation (WARIF), a non-profit organisation leading the charge against gender-based violence in Nigeria, at the weekend held its third annual advocacy march against Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in Nigeria.

The march was to commemorate the United Nations 16 Days of Activism for GBV as well as to mark their 5th year anniversary.

It was held on Saturday across five continents in five cities, namely Lagos, London, New York, Sydney and Bangkok, with participants and supporters coming out in large numbers.

In Lagos, the 10km march, held at the Lekki/Ikoyi link bridge was flagged off by the First Lady of Lagos State, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, who commended WARIF and encouraged survivors to come forward so that perpetrators could be punished.

United States Consular General to Lagos, Madam Claire Pierangelo, who delivered the opening address, stated that GBV was not a problem for women  alone but a global problem.

She mentioned that every single one of us had a role to play in eradicating gender based violence.

Speaking on the importance of the march, founder of WARIF, Dr. Kemi DaSilva, said: “Survivors are ostracised and scared to speak out because of the culture of shame, every survivor deserves the right to have her voice heard, to be given safe platforms to do so and to receive support and assistance from her family, friends and her community to help her on the journey to recovery.”

She also stated that proceeds from the march would benefit survivors of rape and sexual violence who are offered free forensic medical examinations and treatment; as well as counselling services and welfare assistance with shelter, legal aid and vocational skills acquisition at the WARIF Rape Crisis Centre.

Also in attendance were the First Lady of Ogun State, Mrs. Bamidele Abiodun, Deputy British High Commissioner, Mr Ben Llewelyn-Jones as well as celebrities including Falz, Rita Dominic, Chioma Akpotha, Lala Akindoju, Zainab Balogun, Lamide Akintobi, Princess Comedian and Adetoun, who raised their voices against rape and sexual violence in the communities.

Nollywood actress, Omotunde Adebowale-David, popularly known as Adaku in Jenifa’s Diary stated that due to rejection, blame and stigmatisation, victims are less likely to report their sexual abuses.

She urged the government to implement laws against sexual harassment and violence.

Also, Damilola Adekoya, aka Princess, said anyone who supports or tries to cover up sexual violence act is also guilty of the charge.

The march was sponsored by the WARIF in-house counsel and partner, Templars Law firm, U.S. Consulate, Amnesty International, Global Citizen, Reddington Hospital, Nigerian Breweries, MedPlus, May & Baker, Beat FM, Angel Hospitality, Quest and XII Glover.

GBV is the most pervasive form of human rights violation affecting men and women and all nations across the world.

The “No Tolerance” March is a recognised annual event held globally as a movement to say NO Tolerance to violence against women and girls in all communities.