By Chris Onuoha
With intense awareness and publicity on the
consequences of domestic violence and sexual abuse,perhaps the crime can be curtailed to a barest minimum.
The male gender is singled as the potential culprits in this crime, but when men take the lead in a ‘stop it’ crusade, then the end is obviously near.
Recall that Lagos State number one citizen, Gov Akinwunmi Ambode recently kicked off a campaign organised by Domestic and Sexual Violent Respond Team DSVRT to sensitize the public against the menace. The DSVRT in a step up campaign held at Muson Centre recently, assembled men from different sectors of the society to discuss and lead the role in tackling sexual and gender violence in homes.
The panelists comprising a Public Law specialist, Dr. Olajide Bello, Magistrate T. Elias, a physiotherapist and life coach, Lanre Olusola, media executive, Deji Irawo, Pastor Fredrick Thomas of Redeemed Christian Church of God and Islamic cleric, Imam Lukman argued extensively the effects of domestic violence on children and society at large.
They however, affirmed that if the foundation (home) where values are molded is wrong, the society pays the costly price at large. They also stated that there’s need to change the male dominance ideology that creates emotional dysfunction and gender segregation in the society.
Magistrate T. Elias pointed out that we need to take a conscious effort to trash the culture that addresses women as second class citizens. He was of the view that homes need to create conducive environment where parents and wards should be in harmony, express themselves freely without harsh chastise or unpleasant rebukes, so that any family member involved in any violation or sexual abuse should report such cases.
Imam Lukman added that homes should be a supportive platform where safety of wards must be paramount, urging parents to encourage parent/child relationship hence, they (parents) are supposedly the next of kin. He also suggested that churches, mosques and community leaders should play a great role in proper teaching of right values that will perhaps, reorientate the perpetrators from evil doing.
Lanre Olusola, challenged men to be willing to take the law all the way, noticing that it takes just one individual to change a situation. He posited that society is built upon the foundation of a family unit and society should realise that traditional ways of doing things in this 21 century no longer work.
Both Deji Irawo and Pastor Fredrick Thomas emphasized on the role of media and church in creating adequate publicity and awareness of the repercussion of sexual offenses. Irawo was of the view that trained individuals should be the ones counseling victims while concerned parents should also stand up against any degrading and obscene programmes being aired on TV while calling for a change of narrative for entertainments.
Meanwhile, another issue that dominated discussion to an extent was marriage and divorce seen as another catalyst orchestrating sexual abuse and extreme violence among couples.
Speaking, Lanre Olusola who sees nothing wrong with singleness said; “Let’s take for example that you are a father and you have a daughter that is married. What would you rather have for her do? That she is killed in a violent marriage or rather have her alive and come back home alive to live the rest of her life? I think every father would rather have his daughter living a functional life.
Even though there may be a separation in marriage, when life is challenged or someone is subject to death, whether emotionally, psychologically, physically, it is ground enough to go for separation until a time when a person that is abusing or violating your rights goes for a professional help. In a situation the culprit did not change and the violation may lead to death, it is advised to separate.
I will not advocate that anyone should die in an abusive home. You are not anything less, if you are not married or separated. Separation is advisable when life is threatened. Marriage does not make you. Marriage is for two functional people that create a functional home that will bring up and nurture functional children. If love, harmony and peace are missing in a relationship, then there is no basis for marriage.
Often time, many people misunderstood such statements as one that encourages singleness or separation among couples, the truth remains such cannot stop perverts from been perverts. Such don’t need my kind of statement to perpetrate pervasions. In a nutshell, they don’t need law, grace or statements like this to pervade. People will always break the law.”