The Executive Director of the Women Advocate Research and Documentation Center (WARDC), Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, has complained about the increasing levels of sexual and domestic violence and exploitation of women and girls across the country, despite efforts by the government and stakeholders to contain the threat. .

WARDC’s executive director, who stated this during a capacity building for women traditional rulers and market women in Akure, the capital of Ondo state, said that despite campaigns to end gender-based violence, failure to act or taking action is responsible for the increasing incidence of sexual and domestic violence.

She said the project focused on implementing solidarity, responsibility and commitments to end violence against women and girls (SAC-VAWG) in the six southwestern states of Nigeria: Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti states. .

Akiyode-Afolabi said: “Violence against women and girls (VAWG), a key component of GBV, is a global action that is on the rise, affecting one in three women.

“The World Bank reported that 35 percent of women worldwide have been sexually or physically abused by their partners and non-partners.

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“In addition, seven percent of women have been sexually abused by persons who are not their partners. Overall, more than 80 million women and girls are victims of gender-based violence.

“The United Nations Population Fund survey has found that 28 percent of Nigerian women aged 25-29 have been victims of physical violence since the age of 15,”

Explaining that domestic violence was common in all communities in Nigeria, Akiyode-Afolabi said the capacity building program was set up for women traditional rulers and women market women to increase the involvement, capacity and responsibility of community leaders and gatekeepers, including women’s agency, religious and traditional rulers.

WARDC’s executive director, who said the project was supported by the Ford Foundation, said participants have 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.

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“For this reason, we have called on you women traditional 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 council can address 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.

Akiyode-Afolabi, who revealed that the project was in collaboration with the State Ministry of Women’s Affairs and the Restoration of Women’s Dignity (ROTDOW), stressed that violence against women is a violation of human rights.

She added that violence was a major barrier to achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

“Such 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 (VAWG) should also include work with men and boys in others to identify promising approaches to ending VAWG as part of the need for a multi-sector response to ending violence against women and girls,” she said

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The State Commissioner for Women’s Affairs, Dr. Adebunmi Osadahun, praised the Executive Director of the WARDC for her initiative and determination to end violence against women and girls in Nigerian society.

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

The commissioner advised women to learn to be creative and independent and not depend on men for survival, saying they should use their initiatives and knowledge to make progress in life.

Osadahun urged the young girls to avoid places and things that could make them vulnerable to attack, adding that all cases of violence against them should be reported to the appropriate authorities and relevant non-governmental organizations.

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