Gender-Based Violence: Nigerians Urge to Break the Culture of Silence


By: Mayen Etim

KADUNA, North-West, Nigeria – Stakeholders at the orientation seminar for beneficiaries in Romi community for Our Safe Spaces, (OSS) project on Tuesday called on Nigerians to break the culture of silence by reporting all cases of gender-based violence, (GBV).

They also tasked parents to uphold moral standards in upbringing of the girl-child and children in general; while being full partners in the fight against all forms of gender-based violence.

OSS project is implemented by a NGO, Empowering Women for Excellence Initiative, (EWEI), and supported by the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women.
The project is to support women and girls survivors of gender-based violence, physical, economic violence and sexual exploitation in Kaduna state.
OSS will also promote beneficiaries’ access to psychosomatics support systems and economic empowerment opportunities to facilitate normalization of their lives.
Primary Beneficiaries of Our Safe Spaces, (OSS) project in group photograph with Traditional and Religious heads of Romi community.

The project will engage over 450 primary and secondary beneficiaries across Ungwan Romi and Ungwan Dosa communities in Chikun and Kaduna North Local Government Areas respectively.

Speaking shortly after the seminar, EWEI’s Programme Officer, Ms Aisha Lawal, disclosed that after the orientation seminars conducted for the two benefiting communities, the next engagement would be directly with the primary beneficiaries of the project

According to her, the beneficiaries will be engaged in series of seminars line out for the next eight months by experts on different topics all related to violence against women and girls to let them know their rights in the society.

“From now till August, 2020, beneficiaries would be taken through different topics by experts that will help them in different areas of their lives.  The stakeholders will be called upon once in awhile when they are needed.

“Following our timeline since the project is for three years, we will have an economic seminar where a cooperative will be set up for the beneficiaries so we can have them ready for a change of status in life,” she said.

A primary beneficiary, 31-year old Eugenia Ambrose, described the project as God sent and timely.

According to her, she was forced to flee her marriage of ten years as the union was characterized by violence. She said the OSS project would give her and others, the necessary assistant to rebuild their lives.

“My marriage was characterized by violence. We were always fighting and my husband then would beat me, and sometimes threaten me with cutlass that he was going to kill me. So I had to flee with my two children, now ages 9 and 4.

“I left him three years ago and since then I have been struggling to fend for the two children alone,” she said.

Another beneficiary, 38-year old Mrs. Murna Auta, said the project is going to help women and girls facing one form of violence or the other.

As a victim of crises in Rigasa community, Kaduna South LGA, Murna said she and her family fled the community and sought refuge in Romi community for fear of their lives.

“We ran away from Rigasa community as all our belongings were burnt, and some of my relatives were killed. So we could not returned to Rigasa, but had to settle in Romi community.

“I was into different businesses before crises struck. After our resettlement in Romi community I was engaged by a family to carry out their housevchores, but just last December I was laid off.

“As I speak, I have nothing doing just a full time housewife. If this project can support me with whatever thing it could to make me self reliant, it will help me give my children a good education and also support my husband,” she said.


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