Centre for 21st Century Issues

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The Centre for 21st Century Issues (C21st) in partnership with Women’s Rights and Health Project (WRAHP), on Thursday embarked on an awareness program on prevention of gender-based violence at Kosofe market in Lagos.

The traders at the market were urged to give no space to sexual and gender-based violence in their lives.

C21st Program Assistant Tobiloba Ajayi in her speech said: “The purpose of this awareness program is to sensitise women and men in Kosofe Market on preventing gender-based violence.

“Also, to enlighten women and men on how to remain at the forefront of championing the advocacy by speaking up, taking action and reporting cases to the appropriate organisation to eliminate violence against persons, especially in the market.”

The Iyaloja of Kosofe Market, Yeye Precious Dupe Ojo who spoke on behalf of the women thanked Centre for 21st Century Issues (C21st) for organising the awareness programme to sensitise the market women in Kosofe.

Yeye Dupe called on all traders to join hands to bring to an end sexual and gender-based violence.

She said, “Traders need to be sensitized and sanitized on gender-based violence and sexual violence so we can recognize them when they occur and know what to do to address them.

“That is why we have the slogan ‘see something, say something and do something immediately’ to have a good society and have traders and their rights protected.”

A representative of WRAHP, Precious Eberechuckwu who spoke to the traders stressed the need for them to stand up for their gender and sexual rights by recognizing what they are and how these rights get violated.

Eberechuckwu said: “While gender-based violence is both male and female, women suffer it the most.

“And it occurs in many forms such as physical abuse when a man or someone with more strength beats you; Neglect, that is, when you abandon your duty to your children in providing for their needs and have them hawk around market which exposes them to further abuse; Emotional abuse when someone says hurtful things to you such as a husband telling his wife ‘you are the cause of my problem’, ‘you are good for nothing’; Sexual abuse when a man forces to have sex with you even if he is your husband, there must be consent from both of you, else it is called rape.”

She called on the traders to find their own happiness and not have it dependent on anyone.

“You have to take care of yourself. If you die today because of one man giving you hypertension, the person will continue living his life. So be your own happiness. Be your own superhero. Don’t wait for anyone to come and rescue you.”

The Programme Manager, C21st Titilola Kazeem-Arnold stated that all efforts are in place to bring to an end sexual and gender-based violence at market places in Lagos.

Titilola disclosed that the programme will go beyond Kosofe market, traversing all markets in Lagos State.

Other agencies including Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team and Lagos State Ministry of Health partnered with the organisation.

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