…as women, traditional rulers, lawmakers lend their voices against such acts
By Peter Okutu
ABAKALIKI- A research carried out by a Non-governmental Organisation, NGO, Participatory Development Alternatives, PDA, revealed that incidences of rape against women among other vices, were high, especially in rural areas across the state as such acts were usually not reported.
The Chief Executive of the NGO, Mrs. Victoria Ebere Eze made this known during the official launch of the Advocacy on the plight of women in Ebonyi State, with the Theme: Challenging harmful traditional practices and violence against women and girls through theatre, at Osborn La-Palm Royal Resort, Abakaliki.
The event which brought participants from the three senatorial zones of the state was organised in conjunction with Ebonyi State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, Ebonyi State Council of Arts and Culture, Participatory Development Alternatives and Actionaid International. In attendance were traditional rulers, women, lawmakers, policymakers, the media and religious groups. They lent their voices against the harmful traditional practices against women including denial of their rights after the demise of their husbands.
In a chat with South-East Voice, Mrs. Eze explained that the theatre was used as a medium of advocacy to pass essential messages on the harmful traditional practices against women and the need for the society to begin to view women from the right perspective for the socio-political and economic development of the nation.
“Today’s event is centred on the plight of women which include traditional harmful practices and violence and rape against women using theatre. We are using it as an advocacy to pass messages on harmful traditional practices against women; we brought policymakers ranging from the State House of Assembly, the media, traditional rulers and women leaders to lend their voices on the subject of discourse.
“We tried to get commitment from them to ensure that violence against women is stopped in Ebonyi State; the trending violence against women we have seen in communities and from the testimonies of women is rape; one of the reports we were able to gain access to is that rape is high in Ebonyi State; another one is a situation where a woman who lost her husband does not have access to her husband’s property; the other one borders on men leaving their responsibilities to their women.
“There is another negative action against women that is gradually gaining significance and that is a situation whereby when women go to look for menial jobs otherwise called labour, the men will ask to sleep with them; it is becoming rampant.”
Flagging off the official launch of the Advocacy on the plight of women in Ebonyi State, the Interim Country Director of Actionaid, Funmilayo Oyefusi expressed joy and satisfaction that the programme would go a long way to alleviating the sufferings of women and restore their pride of place in society.
She called on lawmakers and everyone in position of authority to support the campaign against violence and different forms of molestations against women and girls, adding that all hands must be on deck for the repositioning of women in the scheme of things in Ebonyi and the country at large.
Also, the Head, Partnership and Local Rights Programme of Actionaid, Suwaiba Yakubu-Jibrin stressed that it was time for all harmful practices against women and girls to be eliminated from the society.
Highlights of the event included drama presentation by Ebonyi State Council of Arts which showcased the traditional harmful practices against women and the way forward.