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CENGOS tasks media on gender-based violence, sexual reproductive health rights

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ABA- In a bid to curb the menace of gender-based violence, GBV, and abuse of sexual and reproductive health rights, SRHRs, in the society; an NGO, Coalition of Eastern Non- Governmental Organisations, CENGOS, has tasked media practitioners to focus attention on effective reporting of the twin issues.

Speaking at a training workshop for journalists in Aba, Abia State Coordinator of the Coalition, Ahurue Ubani Ukoma, who said the event was organised to make gender-based violence more visible through the media, explained that GBV and SRHRs are not given attention because most of them take place within the home where family pressures and attitudes ensure they remain unreported.

The workshop which was organised in collaboration with Civil Resource Development and Documentation Centre, CIRDDOC,    and Amplify Change, is aimed at providing greater analysis and understanding of psychologies of GBV in a way that improves readers’ understanding of both the actions of the survivor and the perpetrator and helping reporters and news managers tackle the challenge of reporting GBV and SRHR in a manner that doesn’t perpetuate gender stereotypes, but informs and elicits public debate.

Other aims of the workshop include; assisting journalists to understand GBV and SRHRs and why GBV occurs and its consequences on women, families and society as well as increasing awareness of the youth and women on SRHR through opening greater space for discussion of often silenced issues of sexuality and reproduction.

Guest lecturer at the workshop, Rev. Iyke Anaga, said the media should intensify campaigns to curb GBV and SRHRs as well as avoid using stereotypes in reporting cases.

He urged the media to respect people’s privacies, shun sensationalism and profiling victims rather than perpetrators.

“As media practitioners, we must take care of confidentialities so that people we report these cases to will be encouraged to take it up. The essence is that if we keep to the rule of confidentialities, people will be encouraged to report such cases from their vicinity. We should also mind our use of language

“Once we start reporting in such a way that the perpetrators are brought to book and the victims and survivors of GBV like rape are put through the process of healing, we will easily nip this problem in the bud.

“We must begin to educate our people through our reports about some of those cultural, traditional and religious beliefs that are anti-modern society of this 21 first Century. People’s mind must be restructured to realise that respect on humanity should be a must do thing. We must transform our society with balanced reports of GBV with appropriate languages that will not indirectly make the victim a laughing stock or a subject of blame. No other people can make our parents and guardians to realise their roles in curbing GBV than you. We must break the culture of silence and conspiracy in reporting GBV and SRHRs.

“Teaching must be age-appropriate so that we don’t derail. Help us to fix this and break this conspiracy of silence on GBV here. It happens within us, in our homes, business places, schools and even churches. Intensify campaign against this and let’s put an end to this evil by exposing those involved in it and protecting the victims as well. The media has excellent prospects to promote good health, but GBV and SRHRs are always reported in  passing.”

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