As the world continues to battle the lingering pandemic and its devastating effects on economies, the girl-child is not left out as she continues to face a form of violence or the other daily.

Statistics show that 1 in 3 women have been abused in their lifetime and in times of crises, these numbers rise, as seen during the COVID-19 pandemic and recent humanitarian crises and conflicts.

Nigeria is not left out as new cases arise of women and girls who have experienced one form of violence or the other continue to spring up.

In line with the  United Nations theme for this year’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women; Orange the World: End Violence Against Women Now!, the Genesis House programme of Freedom Foundation in partnership with Access Women Network have amplified the conversation on Mitigating Violence Against Girls in Secondary Schools.

Through its Orange Girls Conference 2021, the Foundation promoted conversations centred on Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) in schools, ways to prevent and protect girls from VAWG and the role of the law in providing justice for victims of VAWG.

At the conference held for secondary school girls at the Veranda Lounge, Freedom Way, Lekki, Criminal Justice Psychologist and Founder of MediaConcern Initiative, Dr. Princess Olufemi-Kayode called for reinforced ways to tackle VAWG in schools.

In her keynote speech, Dr. Olufemi-Kayode encouraged girls to always recognise the power of their voices in curbing this menace and explore available tools such as social media and the Internet to create more awareness on VAWG whilst staying conscious and protected from social media violence. She also shared online platforms where women and girls can seek help, counsel and therapy.

Other speakers at the event including Psychologist and the Programme Director at Genesis House, Mrs. Onwunmi Tope Banjoko and Gender Based Violence (GBV) survivor, Iyinoluwa Onduru further highlighted ways female students can identify and protect themselves from sexual predators in schools, homes and on online platforms as well as the ways to overcome trauma and speak up when abused.

As part of efforts to build the voices of girls against GBV, GBV survivor, Iyinoluwa Onduru shared her story of rape and her journey to healing and recovery.

Iyinoluwa emphasized on the possibility of complete healing and recovering and shared various tips to help victims of sexual assault and exploitation recover completely from the horrible experience.

Other highlights of the conference includes a creative competition with various prizes won by participating students and a panel session.

Genesis House is a residential rehabilitation centre for young females between the ages of 17-25 who have been victims of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation.

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