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Domestic Violence Campaign in Lagos State

As the week of action against domestic violence runs through out Lagos State from the 13th  – 17th of October, 2014, Grassroot People and Gender Development Center (GPGDC), a member of Lagos State Gender Advocacy Team (LASGAT) has ensured that citizens residing within Ojo Local Government Areas are not left out with the campaign message that says DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IS A CRIME, STOP IT. The campaign was carried out at the popular Iyano Oba market and in public and private schools within and around Ojo LGA. Some private institutions and religious groups were not left out in this campaign.

The Executive Director of Grassroot People and Gender Development Center said that domestic violence is common at home and between people who live or had lived together. She added that women, girls and children are usually the victims of domestic violence. Women should speak out and use the law to protect themselves instead of dying in silence. No one deserves to be hurt including persons with disability. The LGEA counsellor, of Ojo Local Government, Mrs. Ojo who led the campaign team to various primary schools said that domestic violence occurs always even in the school. She embraced the campaign and advised the pupils to stop fighting within and outside the school. She also encouraged those who has been sexually molested and harassed to report to the school counsellor. She calls on more organisations to take the campaign to the riverine schools in Lagos State. Mrs. Akanji Mobolaji, proprietor of Toluwani Montessori School, Egan Igando appreciated the Executive Director of GPGDC for taking the campaign message to the grassroots and to her pupils. She expressed her joy over the campaign and said “I am so happy to see things happening in Nigeria since after the CSW in Beijing.” For Mr. Chidi, a trader at the market, women are beaten due to their nagging behaviour and when she refuses to stay where her husband wants her to say. There is a deep cultural belief in Nigeria that it is socially accepted to hit a woman to discipline her and the religious believe that women must obey every thing her husband says either it is for her own interest or not.

However,  Mrs. Emesowum condemn the act of men beating their wife in the name of discipline or any other reason. Domestic violence is not limited to physical abuse but includes sexual and emotional abuse, rape, incest, harassment, denial of education and starvation. Many of the women at Iyano Oba market were excited to learn about the Lagos State Domestic Violence Law which can offer them protection. The simplified version from the Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation law was distributed along side with stickers and other IEC materials. For Yinka who participated in the campaign, more follow up should be done on every case reported to avoid the fear of unknown that grips the heart of every woman or individual that has been violated so as more people can gain confidence to report cases and Lagos State will be free of domestic violence.

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