The President, Nigeria Girl Guides Association of Nigeria (NGGA) Mrs Emnanuella Fashola has reiterated the need for more support, in the fight against gender-based violence, in a bid to create a better society for all.
Mrs Fashola was speaking in an interview at the kick-off of the 16 Days of Activism at the weekend in Lagos
The 16 Days of Activism is a United Nations campaign against gender-based violence, which violates human rights.
The Campaign takes place annually from Nov. 25 to Dec. 10.
This year’s theme for the WAGGGS is: Orange the World; End Violence Against Women Now.
According to the former first lady of Lagos State, the rising cases of gender-based violence in society today, it shows that not much is being done to check the ugly trend.
“Today, we are gathered here for our National Executive meeting to project the future of our association and to kickstart this 16 Days Activism.
“What we are saying too is we must as a people, come together to create a society that will be free from all kinds of violence against humanity, be it our women, young girls and even our male children.
“Our society cannot be safe if we decide to look the other way, pretending that these vices don’t exist. It is our collective fight and together we must strive to make it work if indeed we crave for accelerated development as a country,” see stated.
According to her, one of the means to make this work is by ensuring equal treatment to young children, male and female in the homes, equally.
Mrs Fashola noted that it was the duty of every parent to live up to their responsibility by ensuring equal role to their male as well as female children.
“None should be seen to be treated specially. No preferential treatment as this is where the problem could begin. We must make the boys especially, do chores and run other errands like the girls.
“If they are exempted from doing certain chores, that may make them start seeing themselves differently and hence start having this feeling of being superior. Because whatever they learn from home is what they are going to push into society.
“So, we must do all that is needed to teach them the essence of respect for each other, the need for them to show love, and empathy as they grow up,” she stayed.
Fashola also identified education, both formal and informal as key factor to fight gender-based violence.
She noted that education played a critical role in the advancement of any society, adding that development may not be possible if the citizens failed to benefit from it.
According to her, being educated is not limited to just being able to read and write but being able to learn and develop skills that would create a platform for empowerment and self-actualization. When they are busy and fulfilled, they are happy and society is better for it.
“I for one, I believe so much in vocational training and skills development. If we could also get these children meaningfully engaged and get their minds tuned off from vices, they will not engage in anything that will make them disrespect themselves and others.
“I also feel drug abuse also has a role to play in this whole gender-based violence issue. The drug thing is on the rise in our society because these youngsters especially, tend to embrace all kinds of foreign cultures. We must find time to counsel them. Let us try to be patient with them to, listen to them, and hear them out as much as we can.
“We must be there always for them, bond and show love to them and try to find out who their friends are and where they go to. Let us ensure that they know who they are as Africans and that not every foreign culture they see out there is acceptable here,” she said.
She also emphasized the need for indebt research on developmental issues in the country, adding that spreading false news or negative narratives about the country and its citizens must be checked.
“There should always be the need for fact checks in all we say or do about ourselves and the country we must not give room for outsiders to define who we are. That is unacceptable.
“In my years of working and supporting my husband, I have come to realise that, we as a people, do shy away from the truth. We do not dig deep,” she stated.
Earlier in her address, the association’s Chief Commissioner, Deaconess Rhoda Thomas noted that oftentimes, violence is accepted as normal behaviour and the global culture of discrimination against women allows violence to occur with impunity.
She, therefore, noted that the 16 days of activism were crucial because they shone a spotlight on the issue of violence against women, as people around the world unite to raise awareness about gender-based violence against women for good.
“Together, therefore, we must call our governments to strengthen the data system, rewrite rape laws and ban corporal punishments and others,
“We also need to challenge the attitude that perpetuates, rationalize and normalizes that violence and ‘Deny Women Right to Safety
“Men are overwhelmingly the perpetrators of gender-based violence and to see violence truly eliminated, their attitude needs to change.
“Shifting behaviours is hard and slow but gender equality means all of us and working with all genders is the only way to see true change. Together our message will be amplified and our voices heard,” she stated,
Monsignor Gabriel Amolegbe of the Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos urged women to live themselves genuinely noting that with such, it would be difficult for them to cause harm or pain to one another.
He noted that oftentimes, they were the reason why some men would want to initiate acts of violence on other women.
Earlier in her lecture, Oluwabukola Fagbemi of Vision Spring Initiatives said that there was a need to understand that it took everyone to make a change. She added that any successful effort to end violence against women must involve everyone.
She added that the government, leaders and the perpetrators must be fully involved.
Fagbemi added that a sexuality comprehensive education was vital to teach young people about bodily anatomy, and their relationship with each other and to help them understand that freely given consent was mandatory at all times.