Gender-based Violence Must Be Treated like COVID-19, Says Lagos First Lady

Ibijoke Sanwo Olu

By Segun James

The wife of Lagos State Governor, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, has reiterated that gender-based and sexual violence against women and the girl-child must be treated with the same level of seriousness as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mrs. Sanwo-Olu stressed that the country needed to demonstrate the commitment in order to end the menace.

The state first lady, who stated this while receiving participants at a special all-male awareness walk organised by the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT) in collaboration with Partnership For Justice and Mirabel Centre Against Rape in Lagos, commended men of good conscience who have decided to rise up to be counted, saying it is important for men to join the fight against sexual and gender-based violence.

According to her, “It is laudable to see men come out to send strong message against rape and to end sexual and gender-based violence in Lagos State. I am very happy that we are able to do this, and I hope this will not be the last time we are going to see men coming out like this.

“I pray by the grace of God that when we are going to repeat this event, we will have over 20 million men standing behind us. You know how they caused a movement in America where everybody came out, that is the type of movement we want to see here in Nigeria against rape.”

She said it was utterly disturbing that there had been a spike in the incidents of rape especially during the lockdown necessitated by COVID-19 pandemic, saying available data from credible institutions confirmed humiliating information about the menace.

“It is sad that while we fight Coronavirus pandemic, we still have to deal with issues of a seen enemy and that is the perpetrators of rape and other forms of violence against women and children.

“According to the 2014 National Survey on Violence against Children in Nigeria, one in every four women have experienced sexual violence in childhood, with over 70 per cent of them reporting more than one incident. Of the 24.8 per cent of women aged 18 to 24, who have experienced sexual abuse before the age of 18, a dismal five per cent sought help, and just 3.5 per cent received any assistance,” Sanwo-Olu stated