By Chidubem Anthony
The United States (U.S.) has urged Nigerians to take a firm stand against impunity, stigma and the culture of silence which fuel violence against women and girls in the country.
To curb the escalating violence against women and girls, however, the U.S. Consul-General, John Bray, charged survivors to give candid testimony and open discussion on the societal factors that perpetuate gender-based violence.
He further tasked Nigerian women and girls to join counterparts across the world in raising their voices to “break the culture of silence by bringing these stories to light. It is only by such exposure that we can rapidly bring the violence against women and girls to an end.”
Bray, who spoke at a public lecture organised by the rights group, Women Arise, and the United Nations Information Center to mark the commencement of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, also advocated joint action by different stakeholders to forestall violence against women, and legal action against offenders.
“We must work together as stakeholders in order to be proactive and curb the violence against women and girls,” he said.
“Where we fail to prevent such violence, it is also important to make those who engage in violence and abuse know that there will be no impunity for their crimes; that society is outraged by such behaviour and they will be identified, denounced, prosecuted and punished.”
Other speakers at the event included the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr. Idiat Adebule, human rights activist and founder of Women Arise, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, and National Information Officer, the United Nations Information Center, Dr. Oluseyi Shoremekun.
The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is an international campaign to challenge violence against women and girls. It holds annually from November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, to December 10, Human Rights Day.
PHOTO CAPTION: National Information Officer, United Nations Information Center, Dr. Oluseyi Shoremekun (second left), U.S. Consul-General, John Bray, Lagos State Deputy Governor, Dr. Idiat Adebule, and convener of Women Arise, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, flanked by guests at the public lecture in Lagos to mark the commencement of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence…Monday