By Stanley Onyekwere
The National Council of Women’ Societies (NCWS) has called for fundamental change in attitudes towards violence against women in both rural and urban areas.
The Council noted that the law is yet to serve as a deterrent, hence reports of violence being perpetrated against women and girls in our urban and rural communities continue to thrive.
Making this point, National President of NCWS, Dr. Gloria Laraba Shoda, noted it was time for a seismic shift of attitudes by society to ensure that those who engage in any form of violence against women and girls are made to face the full wrath of the law.
Shoda, who spoke to the media in Abuja, as part of its activities to mark the International Day of the Elimination of Violence against Women, called for the relevant agencies to align with the global thinking on this issue.
She noted with great sadness several cases of rape and defilement of children, and minors as young as 10 years falling pregnant at the hands of unscrupulous persons.
According to her, “We need to take our message on this issue into the communities, faith-based sector, public and private gatherings.
“Gender-based violence must stop; attacks on our girls must also stop. We would like to see a situation whereby deeper public awareness is raised about this, so that stigmatisation also becomes a thing of the past and victims are able to come forward to report and the law can be enforced.”
The NCWS’s boss said she agreed with the official UN position that “violence against women and girls is a human rights violation and it goes unreported due to impunity, shame and gender inequality.
“The UN’s assertion on this issue is correct, we can see what happens here in Nigeria. The case of the young girl in Benue State, Elizabeth Ochanya, who sadly lost her life due to sexual violence and the ten year old girl who gave birth a few months ago , and most recently the murder of a female political leader in Kogi State are just the tip of the iceberg.
“Thus, in the spirit of this year’s observation of the Day, we must unite as one, both women and men and condemn this flagrant abuse of human rights. Girls and women should feel safe and confident within their homes, school, workplace and the community in general.”
She added that in line with this year’s theme to ‘ Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands Against Rape!,” NCWS expects to be at the forefront of planned activities to mobilize as part the 16 Days of activism against gender-based violence as a call for the concrete action to put an end to these brutal acts that impact one in three women worldwide.
“We are wholeheartedly embracing the colour orange which symbolises hope and a better brighter future without violence against our girls and women.
“As the mother body of all women’s organisations and groups, NCWS will lend its nationwide voice to the global campaign to end all forms of violence against girls and women.”