..as Stakeholders proffer solutions
By Roland Bayode
The Restoration of the Dignity of Womanhood (ROTDOW), a Non-Governmental Organisation, NGO in Ondo State has advocated the right and protection of women and girl-child against all forms of excessive, unlawful, and barbaric discrimination and violent acts against female folks in society.
This call was made at a Stakeholders meeting of women groups on SAC-VAWG (Solidarity, Accountability, and Commitment to ending violence Against Women and Girls), led by ROTDOW.
The event which was awarded by the Women Advocate Research and Documentation Centre(WARDC), and funded by Ford Foundation, was held at Handef Hall
Ilesha road, Akure with many top female giants in the State in attendance.
Speaking at the event, the Commissioner for Women Affairs in Ondo State, Dr. Mrs. Bunmi Osadahun, described violence against children and women as an urgent issue that needed to be well treated with the very best approach.
She disclosed that there are many cases where ladies/women seek jobs and the bosses will take advantage of them and subject them to sexual raids before giving or not giving them the jobs. How do we explain this? She begs the question.
She also emphasized the need for women to train and address the issues of young girls who dress naked, saying, although that shouldn’t be a justification for such barbaric acts.
“You need to come to the ministry of women affairs to see lots of women who were thrown away and stigmatized on these issues. Some don’t even know their fathers, many children are crying for help so we can’t keep silent.
“We have some of our girls who have now decided to dress naked, even on their wedding days, must we go naked to look beautiful? Perhaps, we should ask who is the mother celebrating a naked child?
“If a society is to be developed, go home and see the women behind it. You need to see some women, what they do and how they act. Some you will see with very long nails, and others you will see having other forms of ill-manners. Is this African culture?
“Health challenges are another problem, if a single lady is having sexual relations with many men, how can she be healthy? What do we say about the issue of prostitution in our society, girls into yahoo, what for?
The Commissioner further appreciated the convener of the event and NGOs saying that after God, after the government, they are next to the people.
The Special Adviser to Ondo State Governor on Gender Mrs. Olamide Falana disclosed that the stakeholder’s forum for women groups is a very essential one that will serve as a tool to right wrong and proffer solutions to the issue of violence against female folks.
“It is important to make them prepared towards ensuring that they are educated about this discourse. As such, we can all take actions individually and collectively to end the blotch in our society.”
Addressing the issue of women who engage in prostitution, she emphasized that It is important for people to also know why they engage in such acts.
“Some of them complain that they have no means of livelihood, some have been sold into sex slavery when they were very young, and some have been introduced to sexual immoralities from a tender age.
“That is why we need to keep talking and taking actions to prevent the increase. We can also ensure that we find the way to rehabilitate those who are fully gone into the act by empowering them so they can look away from the acts and embrace decent livelihood.” She noted.
The Chairperson of the National Association of Women Journalists in the State, Doris Olumoko disclosed that this issue is now prevalent in society, therefore there is a need for a clarion call for redress.
She said there are cases of minor, domestic violence against women, divorce, and several terrible stories about the female gender and they can all feel the pain as women.
“We have identified this problem, we know the culprits, and State governments have signed the VAPP law. How we begin to help ourselves is the conversation we all need to start as we are doing here today. We have had occurrences of women being out of their marriage because of domestic violence and because they don’t have places to go, they still go back to the same house and fall into the same trap. We have seen some that have died in the process and even children who leave their society and roam because of stigma.”
She added that one of the solutions to end this menace is for stakeholders to come together, put resources together and build a safe temporary home for women who are victims of domestic violence to keep their heads and find a headway.
Chairperson of the International Federation of Women lawyer Nigeria, Ondo State Chapter, Catherine Ogunjebi proposed that the issue is known already hence the need to concentrate more on data, incidences, and also ways of ending violence against women and girls.
“I’m looking forward to another opportunity where we can have strategic synergizing meeting towards putting together some of these ways of ending violence against women and girls and then will swing into actions.
“We also need to ‘unsex’ the discussion, it should not just be for the woman and the girls alone, we should bring men to discuss and then help us forge a practical way around this. She said.
The Executive Coordinator of (ROTDOW), Olabisi Omolona disclosed that her aim in doing this program was to bring this issue up, calling women and necessary stakeholders in the society on how to curb the apparent crisis rocking the fate and future of girl-child and women in the society.
“We hear cases of violence against girl children in our society and thus us becoming so rampant that women are even afraid to send their girl child to get something across the street.
“This issue has even gone to the level of son and mother. Some men will have to cross all their daughters before they all get married. Other cases are rituals, and even the bandits, we have our ladies who are victims of all these. What we are doing today is to have a synergy with womanhood and no one can do it alone.” She added.
The facilitator also commended Governor, Arakunrin Akeredolu and most especially the First Lady of Ondo State, Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, for her passionate support for gender-based issues.
She also appreciated all the guests for the support of honoring her invitation and largely charged the people of Ondo State to always develop the habit of speaking up when necessary to tame the predators deforming humanity among humans.
The Executive Director of Gender Equality and the Girl child Development Foundation in Ondo State, Pst. Mrs. Yinka Odedele. The Ondo State Deputy Coordinator for 100 Women Lobby Group, Mrs. Bola Fasuyi. The Ondo State NCWS President, Dr. Mrs. Jumoke Aborode, is well represented by Abidoye Irene. President of Federation of Muslim Women Association In Nigeria, Ondo State Chapter Alhaja Medinat Omikunle. Peculiar Okunola, Folukemi Benice, and some other stakeholders graced the occasion.