Leaving No One Behind In the Fight Against Gender Based Violence

In the last 15 days activities aimed at raising awareness and triggering solutions to eliminate gender based violence (GBV) has been in the front burner of public discourse. The 2017 16 Days of Activism against GBV has been celebrated with vigour by all from around the world.

Our organization- The Centre for 21st Century is grateful to all our partners who sent in their write up on the various aspect of #GBV , it is expected that as people from around the world read the different write ups no one will be left behind.

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Leaving no one behind requires that we not only reach out to those online but also all those off line and on the ground. Ensuring that men women, boys girls and people leaving with disabilities anywhere and everywhere have their human rights to live a life devoid of violence is respected and protected.

Continuing the activism after the 16 days of activism is part of leaving no one behind. Actions to eliminate GBV should be continuous and consistent, we should never relent or relax.  Our actions against GBV from every corner of the globe provide the template for not leaving anyone behind until we end all forms of violence everywhere.

As the curtains draw on 2017 16 days of activism, remember it is the beginning of the renewal of our commitment to eliminate violence in our homes, communities and countries.

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Centre for 21st Century Issues, calls on all governments and leaders everywhere to step it up against GBV by passing laws against GBV  and effectively enforce the laws. Let us give succour to the affected and ensure an enabling environment for peaceful- coexistence of all.

Titilope Akosa

Executive Director

Centre for 21st Century Issues

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Who Will Speak For Women In Africa?

 

By

Uju Okeke

 

 

 

 

 

Ugoyo was born into the family of Elewes of Ogui kingdom in Africa

Her father Mr. Elewe refused to visit the clinic when he was informed that his wife gave birth to a sixth girl. He sent a message to Mrs Elewe not to bother returning home.

It took Mrs Elewe’s relatives several days to prevail upon Mr. Elewe to give her another chance. This was after Mrs Elewe stayed with a fetish doctor who bathed her in stream at midnight to wash off everything that connected her with bearing girl children

Mrs Elewe on returning to her matrimonial home resumed conjugal relations immediately as Mr Elewe was unwilling to delay in having a son. The gods smiled on her again as she took in barely one month after the birth of Ugoyo though she heard some women died from this.

Immediately she took in, she was taken back to the fetish doctor so that he will turn the sex of the foetus to male

Mrs Elewe, delivered a bouncing baby boy named Dataka. Mr Elewe and relatives were elated. The fetish doctor was honoured for successfully exorcising Mrs Elewe of the female child spirit

Dataka had the attention of all sundry for saving the family from the shame of loosing family name.

While growing up, many advantages passed Ugoyo by and went to her brother, with whom she was unequal.

Dataka was sent to school unlike Ugoyo who by the way was brighter. Well it did not matter as nobody wastes money educating a girl who will soon marry. They also said school had bad toilet, was too far, and she could be kidnapped on the road as the route was unsafe.

Ugoyo grew up lacking care but was dutiful and obedient, enduring the gruesome pain of circumcision, she was told she needed it for marriage.

One day old men came to their house. She was told to come greet her husband though she was yet to form breasts. The prayers said she will bear many sons.

The old man hit her and she ran to her parents who told her she was inferior to her husband and must have really offended him. They sent her back with relatives that begged for her. When beatings left scars on her, he was praised for loving her enough to correct her.

Seasons passed without pregnancy, more beatings happened and strange females frequented who she must serve.

Fetish priests prepared concoctions and prescribed healings including sleeping with her unconcerned about sexually transmitted infections and disease as procreative ability determined her womanhood.

He called her ‘man’ and threw her out, In-laws despised her, Women mocked her, Neighbors said she was bad luck, Society called her witch, her parents said she was a disgrace. She was told that Infertility diminished her humanness

Old man husband died and Ugoyo was forced to sleep with the corpse and drink water used in washing it to prove her innocence and non complicity in the natural event of death.

Rumors spread that government made laws but there was no change and nobody was prosecuted. She heard city dwellers mention Constitution and human rights but could they change culture?

Ugoyo was hungry and poor with no means of livelihood. She had no inheritance from her parents being female or old man husband, being childless. Smiles disappeared from her face; she was sick every day. She desired death and Death came. Her corpse was thrown into the evil forest.

Who killed Ugoyo?

There are many Mrs Elewes and Ugoyos in our world. Do you know any Mr Elewe, Oldman-Husband, In-laws, Neighbors, Society or even government dealing with Mrs Elewes and Ugoyos? What part are you playing Perpetrator or unconcerned onlooker? Will you join me so that we leave no one behind and end violence against women and girls today?

 

Education as a Tool for Women Empowerment

Olumide Idowu

 

 

 

 

Education is very essential for every one because it is the only education by which we can differentiate between human beings and animals. Education teaches us how we can live in a society that’s why education is important for everyone, for both men and women. In the past, women are denied education. They were not allowed to come out of the four walls of their houses. Domestic issues were their only education. But now we are living in 21st century where men and women are equal.  Men and women should be educated. They believe that women  have to take care of the children, stay home, clean up the house, and be the self-denying wife and mother. They think that the life of a woman is all about getting married, having children, and being bombarded with domestic affairs. But they do not understand that education is very important for women not only for them but for a whole family. Because women are the mothers of the future generation. If women are uneducated, the future generations will be uneducated.

Girls are far more likely than boys to perform hours of unpaid work in the home, including care-giving, cooking and cleaning. Their parents are less likely to enroll them in school. This continuing imbalance of power between the sexes in the public domain underscores the fact that education has not significantly addressed the strategic needs of women as a group – partly due to entrenched patriarchal systems and harmful gender stereotypes. Primary concern must now be how we can advance the right to education, in order to facilitate the rights and strategic needs of girls and women. How can educational institutions help eliminate harmful stereotypes regarding the traditional roles of women and men?

Men and women are like the two sides of a coin. Without one, the other cannot exist. Educating women not only will give an educated family but Education of women can also be helpful in eradicating many social evils such as dowry problem, unemployment problem, etc. Social peace can easily be established. A woman has to play three distinct parts in the course of her life in each of which certain duties are expected of her.

  • Duty of a woman is to be a good daughter,
  • Is to be a good wife,
  • Is to be a good mother.

Education teaches a mother what she should be. It also teaches her how she would do it to be a good daughter, a good wife and a good mother. Only With the help of education women can know their rights. Woman belongs to a weaker section of the society because she suffers from many handicaps due to rigid, outdated social customs and religious practices. But an educated woman cannot be exploited easily. She is aware of her rights and will go any length to defend them.

Thus education will enable women to make their children, husbands and parents truly happy. Consequently it is very important that women should be educated. On all these grounds female education is a vital necessity.

 

Olumide Idowu is an entrepreneur, environmentalist and activist who has successfully led grassroots campaigns in over 42 African countries with over 10  years  experience in the non-profit sector and specialized in practical issues associated with developmental issues. Olumide Idowu is the Co-Founder, Climate Wednesday (@ClimateWed). He can be contacted on Twitter via @OlumideIDOWU

Denying Education to a Girl Child is a form of Violence

Esther Ajayi- Lowo

 

 

 

 

Yes, denying education to a girl child is actually a form of violence against women and girls. I know you may wonder why, so let me break it all down. I define education as the ladder to freedom and liberty. It is any form of instruction for enlightenment of the mind that is provided in both formal and informal institutions. While education is important for every child regardless of gender, I focus on education for the girl-child because its denial easily predisposes the girl child to violence. Also, while I acknowledging that there are diverse forms of education that a girl child benefit from to be free from violence, this short write up is on how the denial of school education and sexuality education to a girl child is tantamount to violence in every sense. You are still wondering about the connection between denial of education to a girl and violence against a girl? Here is how:

First, let us talk about denying a girl child of school education. When you deny a girl child the opportunity of attending a formal school, you are violently seizing her future from her. Inadvertently, in Nigeria, most girls that never attended any school end up in the country’s statistics of child brides, street kids, hawkers on highways, children-raising kids, and victims of sexual and other violent acts. For instance, in Northern Nigeria where the percentage of gild child enrolment in school is the lowest is also where the statistics for child marriage and all its attendant consequences for diseases and mortality is highest. Several buckets of similar examples abound in other parts of Nigeria as well. So, remember that when you deny formal education to a girl child, you are violating her rights and her person, as well as opening up avenue for all other opportunistic violence against women that thrive on lack of education.

Second, denying a gild child sexuality education is also a form of sexual and reproductive violence. The education that a gild child needs is not only the reading and writing skills but also comprehensive information about her body and how to protect it from violence and violation. Sexuality education has been misunderstood as that which teaches girls to have sex, but this is totally wrong. It is rather a form of education that exposes people (girls especially, since this is my focus here) about taking charge of their sexual and reproductive lives. As defined by the Sexuality Education and Information Council of the United States (SEICUS), sexuality education is “a lifelong process of acquiring information and forming attitudes, beliefs, and values. It encompasses sexual development, sexual and reproductive health, interpersonal relationships, affection, intimacy, body image, and gender roles.” It is a form of education that empowers one to make informed decisions about their sex, sexuality, and relationships.

Against the backdrop of this understanding of sexuality education, what happens when a gild child is denied this type of education at home, in school, in religious institutions, and in the society at large? A denial of sexuality education to a gild child is a denial of her control over her sexuality, a ticket to her becoming sexually subservient and vulnerable to sexual violence and abuse of all kinds. Without sexuality education, a girl only ‘learns’ about her body and sexuality via the misguided information from peers, porn, and the internet; she ‘learn about sex, sexuality, and reproduction through personal, physical, and emotional experience of sexual violence and reproductive disasters. We rage about the rising statistics of teenage pregnancies, STDs/HIV/AIDS among young people, risky sexual behaviors, violent relationships, rape culture, sexual violence, and all kinds of reproductive mortality including maternal and infant. Yet, we would not have girls acquire the education needed to make informed sexual and reproductive decisions. This is not only a form of hypocrisy but an act of deliberate violence against the body, mind, soul, and spirit of a girl child.

To reiterate, all forms of education is a form of empowerment and enlightenment and denying a gild child of such is a direct and indirect form of violence. The violent impacts of denying education to a girl also has rippled effects for her when she matures to womanhood, for her children, and for her generation. Educating a girl child, therefore is the starting point of eliminating all forms of violence against women. Let all stakeholders including parents, teachers, religious leaders, and policy makers who are interested in ending violence take the important step of providing all forms of education for the girl child.

Reference

Sexuality Education and Information Council of the United States (SEICUS). (n.d). Comprehensive sexuality education. Retrieved from http://www.siecus.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=Page.ViewPage&pageId=514

Esther Ajayi-Lowo is a feminist activist and scholar. She is a Ph.D. student and Teaching Assistant at Texas Woman’s University in Denton, Texas. Esther had worked for over a decade with government and nongovernmental organizations on women’s rights and development issues in Nigeria prior to leaving for grad school in the United States; she also remains committed to feminist activism by working as a think-thank and program initiator for several nonprofit organizations and communities in Nigeria.

Why Would Men Physically Abuse Women?

John Baaki

 

 

 

It would have been needless to quote any statistics to prove violence against women, but to give you a fair idea of the situation, I have decided to bring here few national and global statistics, even though they may be smaller than the bigger picture.

 

There are different kinds of violence suffered by women, but for the purpose of this article, I will dwell on domestic violence – violence meted to women by their spouses or spouses’ family.

 

According to UN Women, it is estimated that 35 percent of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual violence from intimate partner or by a non-partner at some point in their lives.

 

Nigeria’s 2017 voluntary report on progress of implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), submitted to the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) has it that 34.9 percent of ever partnered women and girls aged 15 years and older were subjected to physical, sexual or psychological violence by a current or former intimate partner in the last 12 months.

 

You may ask, don’t men suffer physical violence from women? While my answer is in affirmative, less men (15%) suffer physical violence from women than women (85%) do from men.

 

It is still debatable why men physically abuse women. Some people think men by nature are aggressive and domineering beings and so are always threatened by any action or inaction from women that tries to diminish their domineering personality. Also, emboldened by some Biblical and Quoranic injunctions which see the man as the head of household, some men have made themselves gods before their wives. The Book of Ephesians 5:22-24 says “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.” Similarly, the Book of 1 Timothy 2:11-15 and 1Corinthians 11:3 recognize man as the head of his family. According to the Holy Quran (4:34) – “Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them.”

 

Could these be the passages in the Holy Bible and Quoran which some men use to justify their physical abuse on women forgetting other passages in the same Bible and Quoran such as Ephesians 5:33 and 1 Peter 3:7 which admonish the man to love, respect and honor the wife just like himself and Quoran 4:34 which says men should not physically abuse their wives even though with a condition that if they obey them?

In Africa and in other parts of the world, men are recognized as heads of their households and this privilege extends to more recognition of men for leadership roles in public spaces.

 

It seems to me that, the religious and traditional leadership privileges given to man has bolstered his ego over women. He has forgotten that he is given a huge responsibility to ensure justice, peace, unity and development. As far as I am concerned, battery of a partner is the highest level of irresponsibility, an indicator of a power-drunk leadership. Majority of men abuse this rare leadership opportunity given to them as they openly abuse their wives in the presence of the children who grow up to think this is normal and continue with the trend. I am very lucky to have had a responsible father who I did not witness pick any quarrel with my mother, talk less of a fight. But not all children  are lucky as I am as physical abuse of mothers leads to disintegration of some families which affects education and general bringing up of children.

 

Violence against women has increased in frequency over the years and it is found to be one of the factors militating against full realization of the potentials of women which would have contributed to the development of society. In a bid to end violence against women, the United Nations established the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) which was adopted in 1979. The Convention calls on countries to implement laws and programs that will eliminate violence against women. Similarly, target 5.2 of the SDGs aims to end all forms of violence against women. In line with the CEDAW and the SDGs, the Nigerian government in 2015 enacted the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act.

 

Unfortunately, all the available global and national instruments have not succeeded in reducing violence against women, but it is not impossible for violence against women to be eliminated.

 

Government has the biggest role to play to ensure that women are not physically abused by prosecuting people who are found culpable so as to deter others who may have intention of physically abusing women not to do so. Agencies of government like the Police that is the first point of call when issues of physical abuse occur are very critical in preventing violence against women if the reported cases of abuse are properly handled and prosecuted. But over the years it is observed that most reported cases of abuses are seen by the Police as a mere family matter, or in rape cases, the complainants are blamed for dressing seductively or for visiting a man to have been raped. This kind of attitude has led to many cases of abuse to go unreported while the victims suffer the psychological trauma in silence. Police are critical in the implementation of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act, but they can effectively contribute to the implementation of this law only if they are welcoming, open, listen, protect the victim and arraigns the perpetrators for prosecution.

 

The society also needs to change the way it looks at a woman as a lesser being, so much so that an abuse to a woman by a man is considered normal while abuse of a man by a woman is considered a sacrilege. Many women are at a risk of becoming homeless once the husband dies as some families don’t see her suitable to inherit the husband’s property.

 

There is also a big role for the traditional and religious leaders many of whom receive reports of abuses and look at them with patriarchal eyes and do not condem as they see nothing wrong with that. It is time they begin to see that there is everything wrong with physically abusing  anybody irrespective of his/her sex, and therefore condem or report unrepentant persons to the law enforcement agencies.

 

The Constitution of Nigeria has given the fundamental right to all her citizens including women and girls to be free from degrading and inhumane treatment. Physical abuse of women is a degrading and inhumane treatment and so is against the Constitution of Nigeria and a legal matter that requures justice.

 

Whatever reasons that may be advanced, they can never be sufficient and justifiable to physically abuse women.

 

Two questions always come to my mind when issues of abuse on women come up: All men are born of women, and why would men curse the breast that they suckled?, why would men not hit their male friends that wrong them, but hit their closest female partner that does so?

 

Say NO to violence against women.

Lagos State Office of Civic Engagement On Gender Based Violence

 By
Hon. Taiwo Ayedun
The office of Civic Engagement which operates under the Deputy Governor’s Office is saddled with responsibility of enhancing interface between the Lagos State Government and Lagosians.  Among its duties is to enable the government have better insight into peoples’ challenges, needs and peculiar problems; and on the other way, to let the people know how they can deploy government’s apparatus to help them solve their problems and engaging in mutual partnership and cooperation on public matters.

One of the ways in which government is tackling women related issues is by addressing gender-based violence in the State.   Gender based violence is on the increase and below are the strategies with which Office of Civic Engagement has been working to reduce the menace:

Strategies
1.      Counselling: The OCE provides counselling supports for women who come out to report any anticipated case of gender violence ranging from rape attempt, to domestic violence, forced labour, forced prostitution and many more; while the office provide referrals on already blown cases or mild cases to Domestic and sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT),  Office of Public Defender and Citizens Mediation Centre (both under the Ministry of Justice) accordingly.

2.      Advocacy Supports: The OCE in some cases engages Civil Society organisations focusing on Human Rights issues to carry out advocacy against violence against women. The OCE has register of civil society organisations across the state and  encourage the organisations to provide voluntary supports to the victims  and advocate for positive changes in  behaviour to end violence.
3.      Financial Supports: The OCE provides soft funding to women who are going through various difficulties, some of the problems traceable to one form of abuse or the other in the past but which has continually affected their psychic and physical well-being. This financial supports help them in the rehabilitation process or starting life again.
4.      Mediation
The office also mediates at addressing issues capable of snowballing into violence against women, sometimes community related or family matters. We should bear in mind that when issues concerning men but with reflex impacts on women are addressed, gender violence has also been addressed. A good example is if a major crisis breaks out among commercial transport operators in a park, women become victims of attack and rape, so we act to prevent such scenario in order to save women from being violated and molested.
5.      Public Enlightenment
The office also carries out seminars and symposiums from time to time in partnership with other ministries and departments and do invite women to benefit from matters that concerns their rights and well-being. This is another way to nip in the bud matters capable of affecting the women in our community.
Conclusion
The Office of civic Engagement is committed to working in synergy with all stakeholders to end all forms of Violence in Lagos state.

Hon Taiwo Ayedun is the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor of Lagos State
on Civic Engagement

Sexual Violence And Trends In Lagos State Higher Institutions

 

By

 

Damilola Adeoye

 

The increasing trend of sexual assault of female students in higher institutions of learning in Lagos State as replete in media reportages is disheartening. More worrisome is the apathetic attitude school authorities display on such problem considering the botched way cases of sexual violence are handled. In a lot of incidents, no stringent actions are taken against perpetrators of rape of female students who are usually the male members of the academic staff and students. Reason for this is not farfetched, Nigeria as a society is enmeshed in a patriarchal system. In simple term, a man can denigrate a woman without a collective challenge by his fellow men.

According to a recent baseline media monitoring conducted under the project title: Mainstreaming Gender Reporting on Affirmative Action of Women and Girls Rights Issues by Journalists for Christ (JFC) Nigeria, it was observed that there is a preference for men to be quoted as sources over women in issues that concern women. This only poses a critical thought that if the presence of women as sources in media reports is low especially in issues that relate to them, does this not indicate an infringement on their basic right to defend themselves? This observation distinctly reveals the triviality accorded women in Nigeria media.

Due to reprisal attacks ranging from threat of failing a female victim by lecturers to physical violence; even death by other culprits, most cases go unreported. The shame of being stigmatized and lack of information to access justice are also factors. Though an academic terrain, where victims and culprits are supposed to know the consequences and laws guiding sexual violence, the traditional practices of keeping mum in a male-dominated environment still seeps its way through the walls of these higher institutions of learning. Most students in tertiary institutions in Lagos State are not even aware of the legal repercussions of committing sexual violence crimes, they do not know that these crimes can lead to life imprisonment, hence, offenders can always go free and brag about their actions consequently stoking negatively the fire of this sinister act. The schools are also culpable in these crimes because most of them do not have detailed rules to resolve sexual violence crimes and their attendant issues.

Female students on school campuses had been accused of indecent dressing making them susceptible to sexual assault, thus, the resultant rape cases. However, no excuse in any form should be accepted as a reason to sexually violate a woman. Sexual violence is a violation of women’s rights; it portends health problems such as those causing victims to contract the deadly HIV. Reports have revealed that increase in HIV developed from sexual violence cases, and the emotional pain caused by this health issue is also a form of violence.

Conversely, female students who are considered vulnerable to sexual crimes are not the only victims; male lecturers have accused the women of sexually seducing them in order to gain good grades. When they do not comply, the female students usually resort to blackmail. Some male lectures have even complained of threats of rape by female students who seek academic favours and this situation makes them feel insecure on school campuses. Similarly, female lecturers have also been accused of sexually harassing young male students.

In order to curb cases of sexual violence on campuses of tertiary institutions in Lagos State, The Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT) recently began various sensitization and enlightenment campaign across the city.  This is in addition to  the massive actions been taken by other women and gender based organizations to address Gender based violence in Lagos state .

The need to especially focus on curbing sexual violence  and indeed Gender based violence in higher institutions of learning in Nigeria  cannot be overemphasized.  It is therefore imperative for civil society organizations and all stakeholders  to extend their advocacy to tertiary institutions to  enable a peaceful environment for students to be  educated in order to fulfill their potentials in  life.

 

Damilola Adeoye holds a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree in Botany from Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye,Ogun State.  She  works with Centre for 21st Century Issues and coordinates the organizations projects on women’s rights and environment including Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

 

 

Gender Based Violence Among Nigerian Immigrants in Southwest Houston

 

By Dr. Alaba Oludare

 

The Greater Houston area has been identified by the U.S. Department of States to have the highest number of Nigerian immigrants. About 150,000 Nigerians live in Houston as of 2014. Although most of these families are very progressive and highly educated, the problem of gender based violence plagues the community.  Research on gender based violence among African communities has been very scarce, hence little is known about the challenges faced by women particularly in these communities. Although men are also likely victims and do suffer gender based violence, research has shown that male victims of gender violence are often  those in an intimate partner relationship with an American citizen especially for green card reasons where the gender roles are played differently based on cultural differences of the partners.  The discourse here is  focused on gender based violence among  Nigerians in diaspora.

Some of the reasons advanced for gender based violence in these families include stress, economic hardships, social and cultural expectations, third party interventions and mental/ psychological or spiritual problems.  Often, migrants are faced with the challenge of balancing the traditional gender roles with the realities of lifestyles in the western world. Generally, females acquire an enhanced sense of independence; the males are faced with a diminished perception of power and control. In the family’s quest to attain the American dream and possibly take care of people at home, both partners go out to work long hours. Sometimes, the female works longer than the male; and sometimes the males are either unemployed or under employed yet the female is still required to come back after prolonged hours of work to cook, clean up and perform other duties while responsibility for bills and upkeep are shared. Many Nigerian women especially those in the Nursing field have died due to pressure, ill-health or physical violence (including being stabbed, shot, strangled, scaled with hot liquids etc.) because of the conflicts arising from these roles.

Unfortunately, gender based violence is largely unreported for many reasons and particularly, because of cultural beliefs that, “you don’t go to court or police and come back home as friends” and patriarchal hierarchy where the male is accorded a superior position in the marriage relationship. Patriarchal hierarchy is not uniquely Nigerian so that some critics have argued that it is not a license for abuse in a relationship.  Reportedly, most women‘s approach at resolving the dilemma is first to report to family members and or close friends. The next step is usually to report to religious leaders.  Unfortunately, these strategies are often unsuccessful and the woman is viewed as a prostitute, disrespectful or proud. She is stigmatized and in some churches seen as a backslider or no longer fit to minister, she is perpetually stigmatized and shamed.

Spouses in a violent relationship should not be intimidated to seek help or even get out of danger as an alternative to being maimed or killed. All stake holders must be educated and informed about the consequences of violence on the individual, the family and society. Religious and community leaders should be trained on how to handle domestic violent cases without stigmatizing anyone. Everyone especially men should be educated on the legal consequences of domestic violence and physical assaults regarded as felony under the law. An aggressor could end in prison for any period of time from 1 to 10 years or more with fines in addition to disenfranchisement, loss of earning potentials, citizenship, student loans and other benefits. Children are the most impacted in violent homes. First, these children are learning by experience that it is alright to abuse and/or be abused, inadvertently producing a next generation of abusers.  Research has shown that first generation immigrants have lower criminal records than their children. Why is this so? Second, violence in a home is unhealthy to all both physically and spiritually.

Violent behavior is a product of anger, an inability to rule one’s emotions. It is a character flaw, and often an episode of insanity. It is self-destructive. All religions and civilization condemn manifestations of anger whether implosive or explosive. Love is a choice that God made in our favor, giving us such grace that we do not deserve. If you love your spouse, you will not beat or destroy him/her. No man in his right mind destroys what he loves rather he cherishes and seek to keep that which he loves forever in perfect condition.

 

Dr. Alaba Oludare is an Attorney and a Professor residing in the United States. She obtained her first law degree (LL.B, B.L.) from Lagos State University and Nigerian Law School. She has tertiary institution teaching experience including teaching Administration of Justice courses at Texas Southern University, teaching and coordinating the criminal justice program at Rust College, Holly Springs, MS as well as serving as the Pre Law Adviser. Alaba also has legal practice experience including Legal Advising to the Federal Road Safety Commission, and Corporate Attorney with LLM degree in Tax Law from University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa; She is presently teaching criminal justice courses at Mississippi Valley State University and actively involved in health disparity research training as one of 25 scholars from different universities across the United States.

16 Blogs For 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based violence Campaign

The Centre for 21st Century Issues (C21st) in partnership with Lagos State Gender Advocacy Team (LASGAT)   will be celebrating 2017 16 days of activism against gender based violence  from 25th of November to 10th of December 2017.

Campaign tagged 16 Blogs For 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence will run for the 16 days. The campaign will feature 16 blogs written by activists, scholars and social development practitioners from Africa and diaspora.

The blogs will explore different aspects of gender based violence  in all spheres of societal life as it affects girls, women, boys and men.  This will be in tandem with the 2017 themes,  “Together We Can End GBV in Education” and “Leave No One Behind” 

A discussion tread with hastag #16Blogs16DaysActivism  will  be initiated on social media platforms to crowd source solutions and useful information on ending all forms of violence.

On ground, in Nigeria, training sessions on Gender Based Violence will hold in Low fees Private Schools across Lagos state to build awareness among pupils, teachers , parents and all relevant stakeholders in the education sector.

The objective of this campaign is to raise critical  awareness about the negative impacts of  gender based violence and raise voice to end all forms of violence in our society.

Though women and girls have been acknowledged as the major victims of  gender based violence but  recently it appeared that the  paradigm is shifting towards men as victims.  The  report of  two Nigerian men allegedly stabbed by their wives about two weeks ago  and the subtle justification coming from some women as reported by the social media is is lending credence to this shift. This no doubt  is disturbing and calls for increased awareness an deeper inquiry into the reasons behind the shift and indeed all forms of   violence. Violence in any form and from any person should not be condoned or justified.

As we start the discussion today  25th of November 2017, a day set aside by united Nations to eliminate all forms of Violence against Women and girls let us reject all forms of violence and ensure peace in our homes and communities.

Remember to follow us on twitter @c21stnigeria

Ms Titilope Ngozi Akosa

Executive Director

C21st

 

 

AFRICAN UNION COMMISSION (AUC) CIVIL SOCIETY CONSULTATIVE MEETING ON THE NEW GENDER STRATEGY 2017-2021

RECOMMENDATIONS

We, representatives of Civil Society Organization (CSOs) promoting gender equality and accountability for women’s rights in Africa, participants to the “African Union Commission (AUC) Consultative Meeting on the New Gender Strategy 2017-2021, from 27-28 October 2017, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia organized by Gender is My Agenda Campaign (GIMAC) Network in partnership with Women Gender and Development Directorate (WGDD) of the African Union Commission and Action Aid International;

 

WELCOME the development of the AU gender strategy for the period 2017 -2021which is in line with AU Assembly/AU/Decl.5 (XXV), Twenty-Fifth Ordinary Session, 2015, Johannesburg, South Africa, on aligning policies with Agenda 2063 and the African Union Commission’ approval to design a new strategy for gender equality and women’s empowerment in 2016;

 

ACKNOWLEDGE the invitation of diverse Civil Society Organizations. Media, Research Institutions and other Women’s Rights Organizations who are key in realizing the implementation of this strategy at all levels to contribute, participate and shape the new AU gender strategy including assessing the capacity requirements for its implementation, monitoring tools, harmonization with other frameworks and plans for its operationalization;

 

RECOGNISING that this process is timely in view of leveraging the gains made by the AUC on advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment on the continent through policy frameworks that include the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa (SDGEA), Maputo Protocol and other ground breaking and gender responsive initiatives, the SDI tool for monitoring;

 

SUPPORT the ongoing AUC reform and call for strong integration and institutionalization of gender throughout all structures, policies and processes. In light of this, WE REQUEST for the mobilization of resources and a fund that will address women’s empowerment and accelerate the realization of gender commitments;

 

COMMIT ourselves to support AU Women, Gender and Development Directorate towards the realization of the AU gender strategy as partners in the development through to implementation.

 

We call the AU Gender Directorate mandated with the development of this strategy to focus on the following key priorities:

 

  1. Women Peace and Security– recognizing existing continental, regional, national and local level efforts on UNSCR1325 and follow up instruments;
  2. Securing Rights and Wellbeing of Women; eliminating all forms of GBV, harmful traditional practices and norms (child marriages, female genital mutilation, teenage pregnancies), access to comprehensive Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights, and addressing HIV& AIDS;
  3. Women’s Agriculture, Environment and Climate Justice – Holistic approach and models across the value chains to transform women’s status, labor saving technologies and innovations;
  4. Women’s Leadership, Governance and Decision-making – at all levels taking into account transformative and intergenerational leadership in both public and private sectors;
  5. Quality Education, Training, and capacity building– founded on African Pan African values and principles and advancing Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics ( STEM);
  6. Women’s Economic Empowerment and justice – especially advancement in macro-economics, infrastructure, energy, technology and financial services, reducing,  and redistributing unpaid care work, gender pay gap and inequalities, access and control of productive resources.

 

We urge the AU Gender Strategy to incorporate the following substantive cross-cutting approaches and values as drivers of change towards achieving gender equality in Africa:

 

  1. Accountability to women’s human rights, justice, the rule of law and commitments as defined in the Solemn Declaration SDGEA, Maputo Protocol, Agenda 2063 and Agenda 2030;
  2. Mobilization and leadership of women and girls, thus adopting an inter-generational approach on the content of the issues;
  3. Adequate resource allocation, investment in women and girls and implementation of special temporary measures and innovative technologies;
  4. Strengthening the gender institutions and mechanisms at the African Union, regional, national and local levels:
  5. Fostering safe, secure and open space for civic engagement and women’s participation;
  6. Closing the gender data gaps through implementation of the Solemn Declaration Index and AU Gender Scorecard for monitoring and evaluating progress on gender equality;
  7. Addressing structural and systematic barriers that continuously perpetuate gender inequality and low status of women and girls in Africa.
  8. A holistic approach which includes addressing the intersections between patriarchy, unequal access to power and resources, and socially constructed norms, and failed economic models.,

 

APPRECIATE   the continued recognition by AUC that gender and youth are central to development and WE ASK for support for strengthening of the AU Gender Directorate’s in implementing its mandate and coordination mechanisms and continued support to civil society.

 

Dated at Addis Ababa this 28th Day of October 2017