WARIF treks 3km to campaign against sexual violence, women trafficking
Abia governor’s wife worries over spate of incidents despite existing laws
As part of activities to mark this year’s 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Women at Risk International Foundation (WARIF), in collaboration with the United States Consulate General Lagos, on Saturday embarked on a 3km walk along the Lekki-Ikoyi link bridge tagged: ‘No Tolerance March’ to create awareness against sexual violence and trafficking of women in Nigeria.
The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is an international campaign to end violence against women and girls, which runs annually from November 25 to December 10. Dr. Kemi Dasilva-Ibru, the Director, WARIF, said much still needs to be done to address the high prevalence of rape in the country. WARIF seeks to create awareness against sexual violence against women by implementing impactful initiatives under its pillars.
The welcome address was delivered by the United States Consul General to Lagos, Ms. Claire Pierangelo, who applauded WARIF for their efforts and encouraged everyone to keep creating awareness for rape and sexual violence.
The campaigners trekked past the Admiralty Way, Lekki, through the bridge to Ikoyi and back to Admiralty way to create awareness against rape. According to Dasilva-Ibru, though laws enacted on the issues had been well established, they, however, required implementation. “Bills have been passed but are not effective enough to educate our girls and boys and protect the vulnerable. We all need to know that we have roles to play and when we see acts of violence against women, we need to step in and speak out.
“We had boys from our educational initiative, the WARIF Boys Conversation Café, who joined in the march. They are our ambassadors and are always encouraged to be protectors and not perpetrators. It is a collective responsibility of government and the entire community,” she said, adding that quality medical infrastructure was needed in hospitals with a high level of law enforcement, where victimized women could make reports and feel safe. Among the celebrities who participated in the walk were Nollywood actress, Dakore Egbusan-Akande and music artiste cum photographer, T.Y Bello.
Meanwhile, wife of Abia State governor, Nkechi Ikpeazu, has expressed worry that 15 million adolescent girls have experienced forced sex worldwide at some point in their life despite that 154 countries have extant laws against sexual harassment and many women and girls from all walks of life still face sexual harassment every day.
Speaking on the 16 days of activism against Gender-Based Violence (GBV), she said only one per cent of these 15 million have reached out for professional help. She stated that due to rejection, blame and stigmatization, victims are less likely to report their sexual abuses.
According to the governor’s wife and founder of Vicar Hope Foundation, “violence against women and girls include rape, domestic violence, sexual harassment, female genital mutilation, dowry-related abuse, marriage by abduction, forced marriage, and child marriage.”While urging for more action to be taken beyond the chants to check the development, she said there was the need to revise our laws, domesticate where necessary and strengthen its enforcement.
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