A University Don, Professor Chinyere Okunna has called for increased advocacy for the eradication of violence against women in Nigeria.
Professor Okunna made the call on Thursday while speaking at the occasion of the international day for the eradication of violence against women in Enugu organised by the Enugu state ministry of gender affairs and social development in conjunction with TAMAR sexual referral centre.
Okunna disclosed that cultural beliefs and religion have been major causes of gender-based violence stressing that violence against women is an obstacle to achieving gender equally and protection of women’s rights.
She said Nigerian women and girls are subjected to all forms degrading treatment, including sexual assault, rape, trafficking and female genital mutilation.
Earlier while declaring the event open, commissioner for gender affairs and social development, Peace Nnaji said the state government is ever determined to eliminate all forms of violence against women in the state.
She charged women and girls in the state to always report all cases of violence against them to the TAMAR-SARC for prompt action.
“Indeed, Enugu state government through the ministry of Gender Affairs and social development has proved its readiness to eliminate to the barest level all kinds of violence against women in the state.”
“The state government under His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi as a way of reducing; if not totally eradicating violence against women took over the running and management of TARMA SARC- a centre designated to provide comprehensive free medical, psycho-social and legal services to victims of sexual violence abuse and by extension other forms of violence against women. It is also worrisome that women are not accessing these services readily available at the TARMA SARC.”
Also in a welcome address, Centre Manager, TAMAR SARC, Evelyn Onah, said the centre has recorded numerous achievements since its takeover by Enugu state government through increased awareness, sensitization and advocacy visits.
She disclosed that, the centre has provided services to 188 gender-based violence survivors, in the area of psychological support, provision of transit shelter, food and clothing.
“Tarma SARC has recorded a lot of achievements since the state government took over the centre such as increased awareness through advocacy visits, sensitization, and jingle airing, we have provide services to 188 GBV survivors; and a total 832 from inception ; 814 females and 18 males, follow-up cases as part of psychosocial support provide at the centre, provision of transit shelter, food and clothing to survivors signifying that it is needed that it is needed that partnering agencies’, organizations, CSOs and CBOs should join in the fight to end violence against women in Enugu state”.
“Today, TAMAR SARC joined in the global campaign to mark the international day to end violence against women. The United Nations general assembly has designated 25th November as the international day for the elimination of violence against women. The premise is to raise awareness of the fact that women around the world are subject to physical violence (beating, punching, maiming and killing with or without weapon); sexual violence (rape, attempted rape, defilement, forced sodomy, sexual exploitation and harassment) by their family members”.
Some participants at the event, including ngozi njom and benedette agbo commended the organisers of the event which they said has empowered them more about their rights and the need to speak out against any form of violence agaisnt women in their emediate environment.
the theme of this year’s international day for the eradication of violence against women is “Hear Me Too”.