By Philip Agba & Kelvin Ololo
The issue of Gender Based Violence (GBV) has become one among other forms of social vices happening everyday in the society. Though very few of these cases are reported, many have remained covered leaving actors getting away as the result of fear of stigmatization by abused persons.
This has raised concerns over the time as analysts and stakeholders have said that those who carry out such acts are mostly people that are trusted and are close to abused victims.
Speaking at a stakeholder’s forum organized by Age-Care Foundation, supported by Iyali Network on the topic; “Acceleration in actions for the elimination of gender based violence in Cross River State,” Mr. Francis Egette who was representing the Ministry of Social Welfare in the State mentioned that the Ministry had spread across the 18 local government areas of the State, and is working assiduously in sensitizing victims to come out of their shell and speak up.
Saying that majority of abuses are carried out by family members fathers brothers uncles and sisters he said;
“It is beyond what we are looking at, the reason is because abusers are right inside the room, abusers are persons you say ordinarily that it cannot happen. There are parents, uncles, brothers, sisters and mostly the adult who are supposed to protect these children.”
He further said that the ministry has taken action to create awareness and is working hand in hand with UNICEF and other concerned agencies to see how issues of GBV are mitigated.
Other panelists also lent their voices by stressing that parents should wake up to their responsibilities by building healthy communication and relationships with their children, monitoring the kind of friends and people their children associate with.
They also called for the introduction of sex education and child rights law in academic curriculum and the urgent need for a law against stigmatization as it is said to be one of the reason victims keep mute.
More so, the security agencies and the judiciary were also admonished to play their part meticulously by arresting, investigating and dispensing justice.
In the same vein, religious bodies and media agencies were not left out as they were encouraged to continue creating awareness among their congregation through sermons, messages and the media in educating and informing the public through their contents.
The forum attracted Departments, Ministries, Agencies, NGOs, Religious bodies including Moslem community in Cross River State as well as parents and students.
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