The Advocates for Children and Vulnerable Persons Network (ACVPN) comes 27th of August 2022, will be partnering with the ‘Document Our History Podcast,’ (DOHS), to sensitise the Abule-Odu community at the Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos State on issues surrounding Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV).

In a press statement signed by the Chief Operating Officer, ACVPN, Mr. Ebenezer Omejalile said that the forthcoming event became imperative following escalating cases of SGBV reports in the Abule-Odu community.

The event is tagged: Speak Up Against Sexual and Gender-based Violence.

He said: “In 2020, ACVPN attended to 216 SGBV cases, with 70 per cent of these cases emanating from Alimosho LGA. The local government has a high number of sexual and physical abuse cases. It also has a high number of sodomy and child neglect cases. It was, however, discovered that most of these victims were unable to access help because of several reasons, including ignorance about their fundamental human rights. Also, there is the problem of supposed community gatekeepers, who become enablers of abuse, undermining the place of arrest, prosecution, and conviction.”

According to Omejalile, DOHS, which is domiciled within the Abule-Odu community, had revealed how a victim of SGBV lost her life in the community because a safe shelter was not provided for her.

“The escalating cases in the community further inform the decision of the DOHS to partner with ACVPN to employ a grassroots strategy in curbing SGBV by carrying out the sensitisation and reorientation campaign against SGBV in the community. The sensitisation programme is key to the sustainable human development, economic growth, peace, and security of Lagos State, and Nigeria as a whole,” said Omejalile.

He further stated that the need for mass enlightenment was to make the community understand what constitutes domestic and SGBV cases, stressing that there was a need for advocacy and legal action against perpetrators of SGBV.

To this end, ACVPN has designed a programme that will educate the next generation about what to do if they encountered abuse of any kind, teach citizens how to become advocates for ending SGBV themselves, create a safe space for victims to report and share their stories and offer basic health checks as well as HIV testing and counselling for residents by People Awareness on Health Foundation in Nigeria (PAHFIN), another organisation affiliated with ACVPN.”

Omejalile also stated that the event will witness placement of women and girls who need to be rescued and sheltered in government-approved facilities.

He added: “The event is billed to be attended by health educators, government officials with expertise on the subject matter, law enforcement agencies, and a coalition of nongovernmental organisations that constitutes ACVPN. The sensitisation programme envisions that many women, children, and other victims will be liberated from potential abuse in the Abule Odu community as we build a culture of, ‘See something, Say something, Do something.’ In effect, shattering stereotypes about victims shaming and stigmatisation, and instead, shaming the abuser.”

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