A non-governmental organization, the Women Advocate Research and Documentation Center, has said that all hands on deck must be put to an end to gender-based violence, particularly against women and young girls.

The organization noted that violence was a major barrier to achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in Nigeria.

The organisation’s executive director, Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, stated this during a capacity building to address and reduce sexual and gender-based violence against women and girls in Ondo State, for traditional female rulers (Iyalodes) and female market women (Iyalojas ). The program took place in Akure, the state capital.

Akiyode-Afolabi revealed that the project was supported by the Ford Foundation.

She said: “Such (sexual and gender-based) violence harms women, their families and communities socially, politically and economically.

“It is now widely accepted that strategies to end violence against women and girls should also include work with men and boys to identify promising approaches to ending VAWG as part of the need for a multi-sector response to ending violence against women and girls.”

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The Executive Director explained that domestic violence was common in all communities in Nigeria and emphasized that it was usually linked to a woman’s acts or omissions.

According to her, the participants were selected for their influential power to raise awareness about laws against violence against women and girls in society.

“Women also often experience violence because they do not meet a socially accepted standard of behaviour. We have therefore called on traditional women leaders (Iyalode) and leaders of market women’s associations (Iyaloja) in Ondo State to discuss the burning issue of sexual and gender-based violence and how the association and the council can tackle this vice in our communities.

“We need to develop new ways and initiatives that address and confront cultural patterns of violence, domination and power, while also empowering women and girls,” she said.

In her remarks, the State Commissioner for Women’s Affairs, Dr. Adebunmi Osadahun, praised the organization for its efforts to end violence against women and girls in Nigerian society.

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Osadahun instructed the female people to unite in defeating all forms of violence against women and girls, and urged parents to stop showing preferential treatment for male children over female ones.

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