By Olasunkanmi Akoni
WORRIED by the increasing rate of gender based violence, the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team, DSVRT, on August 24, 2017, organized a walk in the Epe area of the State to raise awareness and sensitize residents of the area about domestic violence, rape, child abuse and all forms of sexual violence.
The walk led by the coordinator, Titilola Vivour-Adeniyi, attracted over 300 participants from all walks of life, such as artisans, teachers, religious bodies, community health workers, members of the Nigerian Bar Association among others.
DSVRT had begun a six-month intensified campaign against all forms of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) in the state with a target to reach out to two million residents to lead the crusade against the menace.
Vivour-Adeniyi at an earlier training session for Media Professionals on Best Practices for Investigating and Reporting Sexual and Gender Based Violence cases, said the development was in a bid to ensure that no community is left behind in the fight against all forms of SGBV.
According to her, the DSVRT would be embarking on intensive sensitisation campaigns at communities like Fagba, Ajuwon, Surulere, Ikeja, Kosofe, Ikorodu, Iwaya, Epe, Badagry, Onike, Ijanikin, Ojo, Idimu, Lagos Island, Alimosho and Agege.
She also said that inner communities in Badore, Sangotedo, Oke Yaya, Owutu would also not be left out of the intensive campaign to reach out to at least two million Lagosians.
“The campaign will be conducted through door-to-door canvassing, engagement of children in schools, town hall meetings, market rallies, engagement at religious gatherings, and visitation to salons.
There would also be an extensive media outreach through Billboards, radio and television jingles in English, pidgin and other indigenous languages,” Vivour-Adeniyi said.
Monarchs were not left out of the awareness campaign as three traditional rulers of Epe actively participated. The walk kicking off at Oba Shefiu Olatunji Adewale’s Palace, (the Olu of Epe) where the ruler addressed other participants, expressing his support for the team’s cause.
The walk went through Lagos Road to Marina road, to the Round-about and up to Ayetoro Market where Oba Adewale later returned to his Palace.
Oba Kamoru Ishola Animashaun (The Oloja of Epe) subsequently, joined the walk, leading from the market to Cele bus stop and all the way to his palace.
At his palace, Oba Animashaun expressed commitment to fighting sexual and gender based violence in Epe alongside the State Government. While noting that he had also declared zero tolerance on any form of gender abuse in his domain, the Royal Highness, promised to institute community policing in Epe for enforcement and prosecution of offenders.
He stressed the need for ending sexual and gender based violence in Epe which he described as “alarming.”
The team, however, seized the opportunity of the walk to sensitize indigenes about the message of DSVRT and the Lagos State Government’s zero tolerance policy for sexual and gender based violence.
Fliers, leaflets and materials were distributed to people intimating them of their rights and the provisions of the law on violence and where to get help in the event of an incident.
It is instructive to note that the state government had approved the use of the 112 toll free emergency lines to report cases of rape, defilement, domestic violence, child abuse, neglect maltreatment and other sexual assaults in the state.