From Pwanagba Agabus, Jos
In its efforts to reduce drastically cases of gender-based violence, Women for Women International-Nigeria (WFWI-N), has called on relevant stakeholders to create more awareness to curb Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in rural communities.
Country Director of the Organisation, Mrs Bukola Onyishi, made the call at the grand finale of the 2020 16-day of activism against gender based violence, held in Jos the Plateau State Capital.
According to her, the culture of silence has posed a serious challenge to the fight against gender-based violence in the society, hence the need for more awareness to curtail the menace.
The Country Director, who decried the spate of rape and other forms of domestic violence in rural communities, called on victims to speak up.
“There is prevalence of rape and other domestic violence in our society, particularly rural communities.
“The culture of silence must be broken. People must speak up, women need to speak against such evils.
“When victims speak up, we will have data, then we can comfortably find lasting solution.
“The lifetime effect of rape on women is unimaginable and we cannot sit back and fold our arms and allow it to continue in our society.
“Organisations like ours has trained and sensitised these women you are seeing here today; we call them ‘change agents’, to speak against all forms of gender-based violence.
“But we need more awareness creation, we need to engage more at the grassroot,”she said.
Onyishi called on critical stakeholders and the government to devote time and resources to ensure that gender-based violence is eliminated in the society.
On her part, Mrs Zainab Gbobaniyi, the Advocacy Coordinator of the Organisation, said the change agents were specifically trained to identify issues of violence against women and advocate for change in their various communities.
Gbobaniyi, who decried that cultural norms and practices had been a huge challenge, however, said that some levels of progress had been recorded.
“Women can now get inheritance in some communities. And this is because of the awareness we created together with our change agents.
“Cases of rape, battering and other forms of domestic violence are gradually going down because of the work of our change agents,”she said.
Mrs Mary Yaro, one of the change agents from Angware community of Jos East local government area of the state, who spoke on behalf of others, thanked WFWI-N, for the initiative.
According to her, the trainings provided by the WfWI-N, has brought tremendous progress in terms of addressing violence against women.
“As I speak, we have had discussion with the men, and they have agreed to share their inheritance with the women.
“Before now, there is no day that a woman is not beating in our community, but now it has reduced and we are hoping to end it completely soon,”she said.
The event had in attendance women, trained by WFWI-N, as change agents from some communities in the State.