Kathlyn Eyitemi’ story would shock most people who knew her as a growing teenager and a young adult growing up in Port Harcourt. Although she had been known for her vibrancy in championing causes as a teenager in her press club days in secondary school and as a member of Reformers Academy in the university, a group for social crusaders where she also played active roles, still many would cringe if they got to peep into her private tragedies as she is telling them now.
One of such stories is how her mother died from domestic violence. That piece of news has haunted Eyitemi over the years. But rather than go under the bus and waste her mind on depression, she has put her pain to work by launching an online campaign to speak out against domestic violence.
This campaign is spearheaded by Sisters Interact Network, a non-profit organisation founded by Eyitemi four years ago to tackle burning social problems that affect women and help rape victims as well as abused women. The campaign is considered timely in many quarters owing to the recent spate of spousal killings affecting mostly women.
Sisters Interact is pushing the message beyond the confines of social media by carrying out street-to-street campaigns, hanging banners on streets to spread more awareness on the issue.
Eyitemi believes that information is key to helping abused women because as she puts it, “most abused women feel trapped like there is no way out for them and we aim to change that mindset so we tell them that they have the power of choice. They can choose to leave abusive relationships or die in it.”
She also thinks that the church will also have to review the role it plays in perpetuating domestic violence. “It’s not okay for a pastor to counsel a congregant and ask her to stay put and pray for her abusive husband until he eventually kills her. In Sisters Interact we do not support divorce, but we always tell the abused wife to get herself and her children to a safe distance away from that abusive environment so she can be alive to pray for him.” Already there is a lineup of seminars slated to hold in Port Harcourt and Lagos. The first DMV seminar is billed to take place in Port Harcourt next month.