A Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), the Center for Children’s Health Education, Orientation and Protection (CEE-HOPE) has inaugurated aself-defense skills program for 100 teenage girls in Lagos and Ogun States.
The inauguration meeting which held at CEE-HOPE’s office at Ogba in Lagos, had25 girl beneficiaries from three communities in Lagos and Ogun States (Makoko, Monkey Village and Agbado Oja).
In her opening remarks, Betty Abah’s CEE-HOPE’s Executive Director, said the karate training offers many benefits for young children as it will improve their physical fitness, superior mind-body coordination and self-discipline. It was especially a response to the rape epidemic against the epidemic of rape in the country, she added.
‘In Britain today, official statistics have it that one out of every six women has been sexually abused (involving both physical and emotional). In contrast, according to UNICEF, one out of every three girls in Nigeria has been sexually abused (physical), and these are even results from the ones who open up amidst a vicious stranglehold of culturally-induced stigma, victim-shaming and sullen silence. And for us at CEE-HOPE, with what we see, working with girl survivors of sexual abuse sometimes and intervening in several cases each year, we even assume that the numbers could be higher, sadly,’ she stressed.
Abah whose remarks were read by Okeson Onu, CEE-HOPE’s Program Manager, added:”It must be clearly stated that this initiative is not to make girls violent or ‘dangerous’ but for self defence and physical fitness which is beneficial on all fronts, even into their womanhood.”
Dr. Princess Olufemi Kayode, Executive Director of Media Concern for Women and Children (MddiaCon) who spoke on ‘Wiring Girls to Prevent Rape’ said girls are usually the biggest targets of sex predators because of their natural vulnerability. This, she said is made worse because of the age long culture of silence: ‘Rape has been prevalent because people don’t talk about it and it enables the perpetrator to continue molesting his victims.” Obanla, Safety Consultant with ISafe,addressing the girls
She also urged the girls to always speak up till help comes their way: “Don’t hide abuse, continue talking about it till you get someone who will believe you and help you.”
Karate Instructor and founder of the Vicamen Karate Academy, Pharm Shihan Victor Akhimien while giving a talk on “Self Defense Skills for Girls in an Age of Viral Sexual Violence” did some karate practical session with the girls to give them insights on what to expect in the main training.
He explained the various categories of Karate and the basic skills the girls need to understand for them to be able to defend themselves against any form of abuse or violence.