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Nollywood Stars Take Gender Based Violence Protest to Lagos State House of Assembly

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Seye Joseph

The match for the protest began from the very point of Allen Roundabout in Ikeja where protesters that include major Nollywood artists and comedians that include Alibaba, Saheed Balogun, Kate Henshaw, Dayo Amusa, Ayo Badmus, Princess and others took a walk to the Lagos State House of Assembly in protest against Gender Based Violence and Young Persons in Nigeria.

According to a United Nations report, it is said that the act is prevalence in Nigeria with six children out of ten children in Nigeria suffering some forms of violence while fifteen per cent suffer physical abuse; 25 per cent suffer sexual abuse; one in 10 boys suffers sexual abuse.

The protest was convened by Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, President Women Arise for Change Initiative.

She said that violence against women and girls is one of the most prevalent human rights violations in the world as It knows no social, economic or national boundaries.

The Executive Director Women Arise for Change Initiative, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin with the Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, Honourable Mudashiru Obasa
The Executive Director Women Arise for Change Initiative, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin with the Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, Honourable Mudashiru Obasa

Odumakin further explained that Gender-based violence undermines the health, dignity, security and autonomy of the victims, yet it remains shrouded in a culture of silence. Victims of violence can suffer sexual and reproductive health consequences, including forced and unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions, traumatic fistula, sexually transmitted infections including HIV, and even death.

She urged that GBV should be prevented to make the society a better place to live, “If a neighbor is a victim today, it means that we are not safe, ourselves. Loving is both an art and requires a mature heart”, she said.

Receiving the protesters at the Lagos State House of Assembly, the Speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly, Honourable Mudashiru Obasa, said that child abuse, sexual and domestic violence are among the most destructive experiences afflicting women and children.

“The wide prevalence of such violence takes an enormous toll on the lives of individual victims as well as the larger society, through innumerable behavioural, health, psychological, and economic consequences. Women and girls experience sexual violence in their homes, communities, schools, workplaces, streets, markets, police stations and hospitals.”

The national survey on torture in Nigeria carried out by a non-governmental organization, Women’s Aid Collective, indicated that rape and sexual abuse are forms of torture mostly experienced by women.

“A coordinated, cross-disciplinary synthesis of what we know, how we know it, and the necessary next steps is sorely needed to enable us to effectively address these issues. In Lagos, in an attempt to battle the issue of police discretion and inactivity, a two-day sensitization workshop on Domestic Violence law was held as it applied in the state. The Lagos State House of Assembly in this respect passed a law on domestic violence in 2007.”

Obasa said prevention and elimination of violence against women and children required a holistic approach just as he pointed out that it would require increased advocacy and partnerships between the international community, governments, multilateral organizations, private sector companies, and grassroots advocates as well as require empowering women and girls to speak up for themselves and educating men and boys to speak up and speak out for their mothers, wives, partners, sisters, and daughters.

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