Stories by Stanley Onyekwere
An Abuja Non Governmental Organisation (NGO), Sure Smiles Women and Children Advocacy Initiative, has said the group will continue to step up advocacy for the elimination of violence against women in the society.
The group also called on government at all levels to initial policies aimed at eliminating violence against women.
Speaking to journalists in Abuja as part of activities to mark this year’s International Day for the elimination of violence against women, sixteen days of activism against gender violence, President of the Initiative, Mrs. Chioma Uzo-Udegbunam, said the group is poised to rally round governments, communities, survivors, activists and the public through high-visibility advocacy.
Uzo-Udegbunam, described the rate of violence against women in Nigeria as worrisome, stressing that all hands must be on deck to tackle the menace of violence against women, revealing that the group will take the advocacy to schools and rural communities across the country.
Commenting on this year theme: “Hear Me Too”, Uzo-Udegbunam observed that for too long, impunity, silence and stigma have allowed violence against women to escalate to unimaginable proportions, stressing that one in three women worldwide experience gender-based violence.
According to her, “violence against women have reached a crescendo that cannot be silenced any more. We understand that while the names and contexts of violence against women may differ across the six geo-political zones.
“Women and girls everywhere are experiencing extensive abuse and their stories need to be brought to the front burner. The time to change the narrative is now. This crusade will be taken to schools and rural communities.”
She also observed that violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations in modern days and poses a threat to millions of girls and women.
She added that this violence takes many forms, including physical, sexual, or psychological violence, as well as economic abuse and exploitation.
Recall that from November 25 to December 10, every year has been set aside as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the 16 Days of activism against gender-based violence campaign is a time to galvanize action to end violence against women and girls around the world.
It was gathered that the international campaign originated from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute coordinated by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership in 1991.
And this year’s colour orange symbolizes a brighter future, free of violence, as well as serves as a means of demonstrating solidarity in eliminating all forms of violence against women.