By Ozioruva Aliu

BENIN CITY – WORRIED by the high rate of unreported cases of gender-based violence (GBV), a group, Gbolekekro Women Empowerment and Development Organisation (GWEDO), has organized a two-day training for community leaders in the riverine communities of Edo state.

   Among the several actions taken by the group to drive this home were awareness campaign which included interactive sessions and road march and they attracted participants from Gelegele.

   Speaking, the Coordinator of the Group, Mrs Cynthia Buluebiere Bright, noted that the prevalence rate of GBV in the state could be attributed to the poor level of awareness of appropriate protective laws in these communities.

   She explained that the essence of the training was for stakeholders to brainstorm on ways of nipping gender-based violence in the bud and to bringing perpetrators to book adding that the training would enlighten the people to speak out against GBV, show respect in work places and at homes in order not to infringe on other propel fundamental human rights.

   She said “Available statistics showed that one in every three women experiences different forms of violence every minute worldwide, while out of five women, one is violated all through her life. This calls for urgent attention from all stakeholders.

   She said “Access to data on GBV in local communities is very low. This needed to be improved upon.”

   She called on all stakeholders, especially the media, to work hand-in-hand to increase awareness on gender-based-violence.

   Also speaking, the Facilitator of the programme and Founder of Caring Hearts Initiative (CHI), Mrs. Grace Obakina, outlined early signs and potential threats women should observe and take action when GBV occurs.

   Obakina, who named early vital signs of GBV to include lack of love by the perpetrator who becomes easily irritated, urged women to walk out of abusive marriage or relationships in order to live longer.

    Some of the participants agreed that the existing laws were indeed an eye-opener for them and suggested that perpetrators of GBV be handed to the police or punished by the communities.

   They urged community leaders to constantly enlighten residents and report cases of GBV to appropriate authorities so as to ensure punitive measures are implemented, to serve as a deterrent to others.


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