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Don’t allow stigma to stop you from speaking against GBV, teacher urges parents

Parents have been advised not to allow fear of stigmatization to prevent them from raising their voice against Gender Based Violence, the vice principal Government Girls Secondary School (GGSS) Lukuwa Paulina Kwaha has said.

Kwaha made the plea at a one day sensitization workshop organized by Sultan foundation for peace and development sponsored by spotlight initiative Wednesday in Mubi.

She urged parents to also stand their grounds in the face of gender-based violence regardless of the consequences because it represents one of the odious breaches of the fundamental rights of the human person.

Reaffirming the commitment of her school to ensure creating champions of GBV Kwaha said gender-based violence is a global pandemic deeply rooted in gender inequality.

She however noted that Gender Equality and continuous empowerment is critical to preventing the menace in the society.

“It is estimated that worldwide, 35 percent of women have experienced either physical and/or sexual violence (not including sexual harassment) at some point in their lives.

“In some countries, the figure is as high as 70 percent. It is broadly recognized that male violence against women can increase when women are targeted for economic empowerment. There is also evidence that joint decision-making reduces Violence in our Community,” she said.

She urged parents and guardians to maintain a sturdy vigilance around their children as most of the cases of GBV are perpetrated over dearth of supervision of wards.

Also speaking, Amina Mohammed Ali, the program assistant of the foundation in Adamawa State noted that the aim of the project is to work with relevant stakeholders including traditional, religious and youth leaders to end the menace which has become rampant over the years.

“We are implementing the spotlight initiative project on ending all forms of violence against women and girls. This is the phase 2 of the project. We implemented the phase 1 last year and we did it on prevention. By that we are talking about the male engagement component where we targeted men who will be champions of women and they will stand against all forms of violence against women and girls.

“In phase 2, we are targeting girls in secondary schools and girls in tertiary institutions. We shall discuss, interact with them and engage with them on gender equitable norms.

“We shall also engage them in discussions about some of the cultural norms that are perpetrated against them leading to the occurrence of gender based violence. So basically this engagement will bring about shift in gender stereotyping with regards to women and young girls,” she said.

She noted that the 250 girls that will be covered will be selected from Yola north and Mubi North local governments of the state.

“We are targeting 250 girls in select secondary schools in Yola north and Mubi North because these are our project locations. Today we are interacting with students of Ladi Atiku Government Girls Secondary School we will be engaging about 50 of the girls we will then move to Government Girls Secondary School Yola and FGGC Yola and then we move to Mubi where we are targeting other schoolgirls during the First quarter,” she added.

She noted that at the end of the project, it is expected that there will be monumental shift in gender stereotyping and other social norms that bar the girl child from achieving her potentials which also exercerbate gender based violence.

“There will be a shift in gender stereotyping or some of the social norms restricting or limiting the girl child from achieving her potentials there by leading to the perpetration of SGBV against her,” she said.

She called on the general public especially parents not to hesitate in reporting any forms of gender based violence noting that the lethargic disposition of communities towards such cases make perpetrators to be emboldened to commit more of such atrocities in the future.

“We have a referral pathway, people should not hesitate to report any case of gender based violence because some of them don’t even know that these things are punishable. If we keep quite nothing will be achieved. The communities should stand up and ensure perpetrators are punished,” she said.

Speaking, Stella Izea head Girl of the school advised the students to always speak out whenever someone molest them regardless of his social position.

Also speaking a student of the school, Hauwa Mohammed said she is equipped with the nuances and rudiments of SBV adding that the knowledge gained will prevent her from being a victim of GBV.

The foundation also carried out similar sensitization at Government Secondary School (GSS) Mubi, where no fewer than 72 boys were engaged on gender and social norms that constitute GBV.

The boys thanked the foundation alongside its partners for the knowledge promising to champion advocacy against GBV due to its debilitating effect on the human person.

A student of the school Ibrahim Joseph who thanked the Sultan foundation said with the sensitization, he fully understood what GBV means and how to guard himself and others against being victim of the scourge.

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