By Justina Auta
The Girls Act of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) on Wednesday, organised a football match and sensitised Waru community in the FCT on ending Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV).
The event was organised in collaboration with the Strong Enough Girls Empowerment Initiative as part of activities to commemorate the 16 Days of Activism against GBV.
Ms Linda Raji, Programme Officer of Strong Enough Girls Empowerment Initiative, said the event was to create more advocacy on human rights, ending GBV, and involvement of all stakeholders to eliminate the practice.
”This is us trying to catch them young and change their orientation and the different forms of GBV so that they can know and do better so that they can defend girls and girls also defend boys.
“At the end get boys and young men involved in ending violence against women and girls because the lasting effects it has on survivors is horrible as it leaves a lifetime of trauma, shame, guilt or stereotype,” she said.
Raji, stressed the need for girls to feel safe anywhere irrespective of their dressing or where they are, calling on men and young boys to protect and defend them, where the need arise.
She added that the youths will be sensitised on toxic masculinity, as part of the event by enlightening them on using their strength to protect and defend instead of hurt the other gender.
“So the role of sensitisation is very important because once you inform somebody they will now understand and do better. Then we will also be talking about consequences of rape, acts of rape and social harassment.
“They need to know about VAPP Act, NAPTIP and Sexual Offender’s Register.
“They need to know that there is a Sexual Offender’s Register that they wouldn’t want their name to get in their because once their name gets in their life becomes difficult for them’’, she said.
She added that the girls will also be provided with referral services incase of any form of violence.
Also, Ms Edith Babarinde, Coordinator, Adolescent Youths Programme, stressed the need for men to respect women, as well as protect them from any form of violence and abuse.
She, added that some men were also victims of violence, hence the need for all to join hands in ridding the society of the menace.
“Some men have no regard for women and do whatever they feel they can do without much regard because the girls don’t have voice because they are shy when they say they are raped or beaten.
“They feel shy about what other women will talk about that makes them go into their shell and don’t want to come out to say it.
“Men are also victims especially in school. There are cases of boys been raped through the anus, and they don’t come out to tell the world,’’ she said.
“ My Advice to men is to give their respect and they should regard them as part of them and also they should not molest women because she cannot come out to talk and should not take advantage of them.
Also, Miss Deborah Samuel, member of the Girls Act, said the football match was a platform for both boys and girls to interact and be sensitized on the ills of GBV and the appropriate authorities to seek help.
“ We are here to advocate and also speak out to reduce the violence in the society.
“And the way we can do that is through such events to advocate and inform the boys that you don’t need to harm girls and it is not right to do so.We should respect each other,’’ she said.
While flagging off the event, the traditional ruler of Waru community, HRH Marku Gamazhi, frowned at the increasing cases of GBV in the e community, calling on men to care and protect women, instead of violating them.
Gamazhi, represented by a cabinet member, Rev. Danlami John, said, “We need to educate our children, especially girls and boys to know that violence cannot bring development in the community.
“I feel sad when girls are raped. I feel happy on the need to educate the people and train them well. We need to train our children so that they will know the effect of violence.
“My advice to men and boys is to respect women because the women are women deserve all the love and care they can get from men,’’ he said.
Other highlights of the event were the friendly football match between girls from the Girls Act and Waru boys, which ended 2-1 in favour of the Waru boys and distribution of sanitary pad. (NAN)