Metro & Crime

Women groups seek end to rape

Civil Society Organisations, community and religious groups yesterday called for more holistic actions to check the surge in rape and gender-based violence.
At a two-day capacity building training organised by Women Advocates Research and Documentation Center (WARDC) with support from UN WOMEN, women groups expressed concern over the increased cases of gender-based violence and rape during the COVID-19 lockdown.
The Chairperson of the Lagos State chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Funmi Sessi, called on university community to be more involved in the campaign against rape and gender-based violence.
Also, former Chairperson of Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Hajia Shekinat Lawal, said the rate of rape and gender-based violence across the country was unacceptable.
Lawal said the training by WARDC on how to equip the participants with communication skills to engage the religious and community leaders would empower them to engage those at the grassroots.
Declaring the workshop open, the Executive Director of WARDC, Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, said there was the need to engage religious leaders.
She said: “WARDC, with support from UN WOMEN, is implementing the joint EU-UN Spotlight Initiative Project in Lagos State which seeks to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls.
“We will be learning how to communicate effectively with religious leaders in order to end violence against women and girls and other harmful practices.
“Religious leaders play very important roles in our communities. They are highly respected people and are very influential in shaping attitudes and practices.
“Given their sphere of influence, religious leaders need to be co-opted as agents of social change in their communities, speaking against female genital mutilation, early marriages, widowhood practices, the denial of girls’ rights to education and all forms of violence against women and girls.
“We acknowledge that there are religious leaders whose approaches and practices reinforce gender injustice, hence the need to understand how best to educate and communicate with them for effective partnerships.”

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