A non-profit organization, Women at Risk International Foundation (WARIF) recently expressed its angst by leading a protest rally against gender-based violence in Nigeria.
The march, which was an advocacy programme of the NGO aimed to raise awareness against the scourge and to commemorate the UN 16 Days of Activism for Gender-Based Violence.
The event witnessed protesters carrying placards with inscriptions like “No tolerance to gender based violence”, “Stop violence against women”, “Raise your voices against sexual violence”, “Stand up and speak out and say no to rape and sexual violence.”
Tagged “No Tolerance” march, it was organized following the on-going success of the advocacy campaign launched earlier in the year, which saw celebrities like Richard Mofe Damijo, (RMD), Rita Dominic, Kate Henshaw, Funke Akindele and others standing with WARIF to declare their ‘no Tolerance,’ position against the growing menace of sexual abuse and violence in the society by posting short videos and pictures on their social media platforms.
The march took off from Lekki Phase 1 across the Lekki/Ikoyi link bridge with the United States Consular General to Lagos. Madam Claire Pierangelo stated that “gender-based violence is not a women’s issue.” She noted that it was a human rights issue that needs both men and women to contribute to its end.
She added that “for this problem to end, men must play a significant role and we are pleased to see that men are increasingly recognizing their responsibility to help end this scourge.”
The wife of the Attorney General of Lagos State, Mrs. Olabisi Onigbanjo, was represented wife of the governor and First Lady of Lagos State, Mrs.Ibitoye Sanwo Olu. She commended WARIF for its efforts at bringing the menace to an end and reiterated the need for more awareness on rape and sexual violence.
Founder of the organization, Dr. Kemi DaSilva Ibru in her speech stated that “at WARIF, we believe that no single individual, organization, foundation, or government can stop the epidemic of sexual violence; but by responding to the responsibility of tackling the problem as a collective, each bringing together his/her unique piece of the solution. We believe that participation in these collaborative efforts is critical in making our voices heard and to bringing an end to sexual violence in our society.”
DaSilva Ibru revealed that “proceeds from the march would benefit survivors of rape and sexual violence who are offered assistance at the WARIF Centre, the foundation’s rape crisis centre which provides immediate medical care, psycho-social counselling, legal aid, access to shelters and vocational skills training wholly free of charge.”