A coalition of Non-Governmental Organizations in Akwa Ibom has risen up against the rising spate of rape, defilement of minors and gender-based violence in the state.
The NGOs stated their position after a one day key stakeholders meeting in Uyo as part of activities to commemorate 16 days of activism to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women and girls.
They attributed twin problems of rape , defilement of minors and gender based violence on poor parenting and dysfunctional family setting.
The groups called for the strengthening of coordination among key players and empowerment of the girl child to say no to such amorous advances.
In a keynote address on “Effective Stakeholder Collaboration: A panacea to ending gender based violence in Akwa Ibom State,” Executive Director of More Health Africa Initiatives, Dr. Idara Umoette, presented mind blogging data on the menace of gender based violence and laid out a broad plan to stem the rising tide of the ugliest incidents.
According to her, failure to address the consequences of gender based violence which include force abortion, forced maariage, unwanted pregnancies, among others, entails a significant cost for the future.
She said, ‘’This issue is not only devastating for survisoprs of violence and their families, but also entails significant social and economic costs. In some countries, violence against women is estimated to cost countries up to 3.7 percent of their GDP- more than double what the governments spend in education.
‘’Numerous Studies have shown that children growing up with violence are more likely to become survivors themselves or perpetrators of violence in the future.
‘’One characteristic of gender based violence is that it knows no social or economic boundaries and affects women and girls of all socio-economic backgrounds. Decreasing violence against women and girls requires a community based, multi-pronged approach, and sustained engagement with multiple stakeholders.
‘’The most effective initiatives address underlying risk factors for violence including social norms regarding roles and the acceptability of violence. .There has been no better time to speak up against gender based violence of any sort. If not now, when? ‘’