Education, Essential in Fight against Gender-based Violence, Says Mrs. Fashola

Wife of a former Governor of Lagos State, Mrs. Abimbola Fashola, has identified both formal and informal education as key factors in the fight against gender-based violence.

Mrs. Fashola, who is the President, Nigeria Girl Guides Association of Nigeria (NGGA), reiterated the need for more support in the fight against gender-based violence, to create a better society for all.

She said this in Lagos, at the commencement of the ’16 Days of Activism’, a United Nations campaign against gender-based violence. The campaign holds annually from November 25 to December 10.

This year’s theme for the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) is ‘Orange the World: End Violence against Women Now’.
She noted that education plays a critical role in the advancement of any society, adding that development may not be possible if citizens fail to benefit from it.
She stressed that 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.

“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 culture. We must find time to counsel them. Let us try to be patient with them to listen to them, 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.
Mrs. Fashola regretted that the rising cases of gender-based violence in the society today  shows that not much is being done to check the ugly trend.
“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,” she stated.

According to her, one of the ways to make this work is by  ensuring equal treatment to young children, male and female in the homes.
She said it is the duty of parents to live up to their responsibilities by ensuring equal role to their male and 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 the 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, empathy as they grow up,” she stated.
The president also emphasised the need for in-depth 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.”

The association’s Chief Commissioner, Deaconess Rhoda Thomas stated that often times, violence is accepted as a normal behaviour and the global culture of discrimination against women allow violence to occur with impunity.
She said the event was crucial because it highlights 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 perpetuate, rationalize and normalize 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 need to change,” she said.
Monsignor Gabriel Amolegbe of the Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos urged women to love themselves genuinely noting that with such, it would be difficult for them to cause harm or pains on one another.

He noted that often times, they are the reason some men would want to initiate acts of violence on other women.

In her lecture, Oluwabukola Fagbemi of Vision Spring Initiatives stressed the need for people to understand that it takes everyone to make a change. She added that any successful effort to end violence against women must involve every one.

She added that the government, leaders and the perpetrators must be fully involved.

Fagbemi stated that a. comprehensive sexuality education is vital to teach young people about body anatomy, their relationship with each other and to help them understand that consent is mandatory at all times.

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