By Fred Itua, Abuja
An anti-rape movement, Men Against Rape, have resolved to hold “A Night of Poetry” in memory of all victims of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV), including the 13 year old Elizabeth Ochanya Ogbanje, Uwa Omozuwa, Barakat Bello and Azeezat Somuyiwa. The event is billed to hold next Tuesday.
While Ochanya 13 years old died in October 2018 as a result of complications arising from her being serially raped and sodomised by a father and son, Uwa Omozuwa, 22 years old was raped and killed on 27th of May, 2020 by a gang of men inside a church in Benin, Azeezat Somoyiwa, 29 was seven months pregnant when she was killed on June 5, 2020 and Barakat Bello, 19 years old was gang raped and killed on 31st of May 2020.
According to a statement signed by the Executive Director of Make A Difference Initiative, Convener of Men Against Rape, Lemmy Ughegbe and Director of Strategic Projects, Augustine Eigbe, “the Night of Poetry” is part of the organization’s activities to mark the 16 days of activism to end Violence Against Women & Girls (VAWG).
Ughegbe and Eigbe said by this event “we seek to raise our collective voice to call for a more concerted national strategy to curb the pandemic of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) in our country and renew our resolve and strategy to demand justice for all victims.
“Except perpetrators are brought to book and face the full weight of the law, which should be a lifetime in jail, there will be no deterrent. We therefore must continue to follow through on these cases to ensure that justice is not only done, but seen to be done if we are to create safe spaces for children, women and other vulnerable classes of people,”Ughegbe and Eigbe stated.
They said: “the blood of Ochanya, Uwa, Barakat, Azeezat and the numerous unreported and reported victims of SGBV are begging for justice and therefore Men Against Rape will NOT rest until their murderous rapists are put away from roaming our streets free.”
They described Gender Based Violence as “a pandemic with more devastating effect than corona virus with survivors left to leave with the psychosocial consequences though out their lifetime.”
Explaining why the organisation chose to use poetry to address the issues, they said “poetry is life and conveys powerful emotions, which is needed at a time like this to awaken national and individual consciousness to the monster called GBV and unite to conquer it.”
On why men are driving this advocacy, “men are the custodians of the patriarchal order and therefore determined resistors of change to the said order and norm, which sexualises the woman and girls and encourages men and boys to abuse them at will with no deterrence to their rights and choices. This must stop. And this is why we established this movement of men to be change agents keen to dismantle this patriarchal order and mindset.”