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Ending GBV; WACOL Calls for Review of existing laws

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Ruth Oginyi

Women Aid Collective(WACOL) Tuesday organized a 1-Day policy-oriented workshop on enactment and effective implementation of laws/ policies and human rights standards for policymakers in Ebonyi.

The workshop also feature the protection of women’s rights defenders ( WRDs) to advance SRHR and end VAWG/SGBV and Harmful practices.

The program organized by WACOL and Ebonyi state ministry of women affairs and social development was in partnership with UN Women under the joint EU/UN spotlight initiative project.

At the workshop, Professor Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, Founder & Executive Director of WACOL/Tarma SARC said ending Violence against women and girls needs a collective effort from both the government and individuals and called for the more proactive measure from the policymakers to end the menace.

She explained that the workshop was aimed to sensitize and then discuss with the policymakers the ways to end violence against women, girls, and children.

Prof Ezeilo the women right activists further advocate for the establishment of safe spaces for survivors of gender-based violence in Ebonyi State

Represented by Dorothy Oleka WACOL Programme Officer, prof Ezeilo also spoke on the need for a review of existing laws on violence against women and girls in the State to take care of new perspectives of violence coming up in society including which the laws did not accommodate.

She emphasized that for the war against violence against women and girls in the state to be achieved, there must be safe spaces for the survivors so that they can tell their stories.

Adding that going out of the violent scene by the survivors of the acts was the first way to manage the phenomenon and called on the state government, churches, and communities to establish safe spaces for the victims.

“There are new perspectives of violence coming up which the laws didn’t think about in the past. Cyberbullying is one of them and it is equally happening in the house. A husband could decide to be watching funny things and the wife could be religious and they may have problems. So, there is a need to review the laws because of the emergence of thoughts and new ways of how violence happens.

“We need safe spaces, safe spaces beyond what we have. The government could do more but the churches and communities should also do something about this because that is the first way to manage violence against women and girls; moving out of the violent environment.

Women affairs commissioner in the state Princess Chinwe Okah represented by the parm sec. Theresa Ukwuta commended WACOL and EU- UN for bringing social liberation to Ebonyi women noting that some culture hinders the progress of Ebonyi women and the family but with the spotlight initiative the obnoxious practices are been addressed.

She pointed out that while the issue affecting women are been addressed, the welfare of the men are also been taken care of therefore we should bring up a policy that will end harmful practices like FGM.

“Government should stand on existing laws, implement the laws to benefit women and girls.

“We need to work as a family, no segregation so that the society will be a better one for all of us,” she said.

A resource person Bar Ndubusi Nwafor in his presentation charged the duty bearers to spread the news so that it will end because anything that tries to reduce the human value (dehumanize) not minding the form is violence.

According to him, Special attachment to gender, and patriarchy is a major contribution to gender-based violence, especially in Igbo land.

“In GBV, as stakeholders, policymakers how can we help survivors to tell their stories as wherever there is an infringement, there must be a remedy”.

Helen Kalu on her part said, “we should be gender responsive in delivering our mandate. Every stakeholder needs to come together for us to deliver on our mandate”.

The workshop attracted stakeholders from security agencies, government ministries/ MDA’s CSOs, and the media.

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