“If my mummy beat my daddy who should i report to?” This is one of the interesting questions asked by pupils of low fee private school in Ojo local government area of Nigeria at a training organized by centre for 21st Century In celebration of 2017 16 days of Activism against Gender Based Violence (GBV.) The theme of the training is eliminating Gender based violence in low fee private schools in Lagos state .
The objective of the training was to raise awareness about Gender based violence in school setting and how to curb them. The training brought together pupils , parents, proprietors, teachers and community leaders/members as participants in an interesting discussion.
Participants were enlightened about different forms of violence which include: Physical violence, emotional violence, sexual violence and technology violence. The need to protect the girl child from all forms of violence in school and at home was emphasized. Noting that statistics shows that they are most vulnerable to violence. Pupils were encouraged to stop bullying each other and report any case of violence in their schools and communities.
The training triggered some amazing questions which could only be asked from a genuine innocent mind of children who are attentive and ready to be agents of change in ensuring violence in all it forms are eliminated not only in their schools but also in their homes. some of the questions include
- If a parent beat a child at home should they report to their teachers?
- If a girl first beats a boy what should he do?
- If someone is being maltreated in their community, who should they report to?
- If mummy beat daddy and daddy did not do anything who should the child report to?
These questions tend to reveal the scenarios of possible pattern of violence which often occur in schools and at homes. Thus the children sought to know how they can take the right actions.
Teachers at the training emphasized the need to punish children when they misbehave and added that punishment meted out to correct erring pupils should not be regarded as gender based violence except if it is such that could cause grievous bodily harm to the child .
Some of the pupils demanded to know the appropriate person or authority to report to if violence occur in the home. Some asked whether it is appropriate to report to their their grandparents or religious leaders since as children they cannot go to the police.
They were advised to report to appropriate authorities in their school but for home they should report to those who has showed tendency to listen to them.
They were also informed of the Lagos State Domestic Violence Law that says a person can report on behalf of someone else. In addition, teachers were admonished to take adequate and appropriate action towards a disobedient pupil. They could mentor the child to change or talk to the parents
It is important that schools create enabling environment for learning and school authorities should encourage children to develop a sense of independence and be able to speak out and protect themselves against any form of violence.