Gender based violence and related issues came to the fore yesterday at the town hall meeting facilitated by Women’s Rights And Health Project (WRAHP), a non-governmental organisation in Gowon Estate, Ipaja, Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos State.
Alimosho Local Government is the largest in Lagos State and is said to top the list of GBV cases in recent time.
Speaking at the Community town hall meeting to follow up on implementation of priorities identified in initial meetings at the Mosan-Okunola Local Council Development Authority, the Case Management Officer of WRAHP, Miss Ibukunoluwa Emiola told participants, mostly parents to be close to their children in order to protect them and build trust.
The project sponsored by the European Union, the British Council, Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption and implemented by WRAHP drew participants from the area including women leaders, community leaders and parents.
Speaking at the event, Emiola said, “Parents always have the first chance with their children and must build trust because you really cannot trust anybody again and that is where we are presently.”
Continuing, she said, “The home is the first training ground for children and if you fail at home, that is the end, the teachers in school will still push the children back to you.”
She advised parents further not to take their time with the children for granted. “Let them be able to trust you enough to tell you their experiences, don’t shun them and that is when they can confide in you.”
She however was not happy with parents who chicken out of rape cases involving their children. “Sometime some parents prefer to settle out of court and take money offered by the offenders.
“When you take such money, you are betraying your abused child. You don’t even know that case is not you own, it is the state against the offender. We should seek to get to the end of such cases and get justice. This is when the abuser cannot continue to abuse other children,” she said.
One of the participants, Alatilehin Sade in her comment advised parents to engage in sex education to train their children who should have the training first from them.
“I believe parents should introduce sex education to their girls in particular so that they will know when to avoid men,” she said.
Continuing, Alatilehin advised parents to monitor their children. “Monitor your children closely. In the case of the two-year-old that was raped, it was because the mother was far away. Such a thing cannot happen if the mother was close.
She however advised adult females to shun indecent dressing because some men cannot control themselves.
Another participant, Mrs. Elizabeth Olubanke Bassey said the lecture at the town hall meeting was timely and very educative.
Bassey, who is a Coordinator for the women wing of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), said, “Many things are happening in the communities and are being swept under the carpets. I believe if all of us here key into the training, we were given today and follow up on the lessons learnt, there will be a lot of improvement.”
She added that, “Since Alimosho Local Government Area has been rated as the highest in Gender Based Violence, we want to see how we can reduce it, we want to work as a team now after this lecture so that we can move to the market places with the campaign.
“When someone offends in this wise, the person should be punished and that will deter others. We have been asked to see something, say something and do something, so something must be done to help us track down perpetrators of this evil because if someone is not dealt with, someone else would repeat the evil.”
I don’t think someone who can rape a two year old is in his right senses, such must be punished. This discussion should not end in a town hall like this, we must move into the communities because someone must stop something,” she said.