In Commemoration of the sixteen Days Activism Campaign Against Gender-Based Violence, the public has been urged to break up the culture of silence and report any form of sexual and Gender-Based Violence.
President Medical Women Association of Nigeria, Rivers State, Dr Vethy Agala, stated this during a stakeholders’ discussion on Gender-Based Violence Reporting, Referral and Response meeting, with the theme: “Generation Equality”.
According to her, most cases of violence against persons that are not reported cause depression in victims and consequently deny them the opportunities of reaching their potentials, adding that plans are underway to build and harmonize a state-based data for gender-based violence.
“We are saying speak out, people should break the culture of silence. In our Programme, we are not focusing only on women even though we know women are disproportionately affected, we have realized that men are so important in the scheme of things, because men are the decision-makers.
“We want to train the boys, we want them to know that they can treat women better, we want them to know what the girls know, so at the end of the day, we have two people that have the same information and are able to act on that.
“Gender-Based Violence is any form of violation of the right of women, it can be physical, mental, emotional and psychological. We are against any form of gender-based violence, it is happening and we saying it has to stop, we are saying speak up whether be it is a boy or girl abuse.
“We have people bottling up violence and they are coming down with depression that is causing lots of mental health issues, people are doing drugs, so we want people to speak and say no to gender-based violence as it kills”
Also, Commissioner of Police Rivers State Police Command, Cp Mustapha Dandaura, who was represented by Mess Officer, SP Edith Ebede, said the command is working in synergy with other agencies and organisations to put measures in place that will curtail every form of violence against persons.
“There are measures that are being taken, we have realized that most people who are abused shy away from coming to report to security agencies because they feel when they report it will bring stigma to the victims. What we the security agencies are trying to do is to sensitize the public on the need to speak up and report such cases.
“When those cases are not reported, the security agencies won’t be able to do anything especially the Police. Report so the perpetrators can be brought to book. We want to put a stop to gender violence against women, girls and boys”
On her part, Vice-Chairperson International Federation of Women Lawyers FIDA, Nnenna Igbokwe, stressed that FIDA is always ready to fight against Gender-Based Violence, as sexual violence is no longer limited to women, girls, but also boys.