=By Tobi Oyetunde=
Against the growing spate of gender-based violence, two gender rights advocate groups have urged citizens facing any form of domestic violence to speak out and seek help early, rather than bearing the brunt of abuse, which may lead to loss of lives. This was made known at a rally by WOMEN ARISE For Change Initiative and CEE-HOPE, in Ebute-Metta, Lagos aimed at sensitizing residents to desist from any act of Gender Based Violence (GBV).
According to Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, President, Women Arise, GBV is a menace which must be wiped out of the society and the country as a whole. She noted that though GBV is mostly seen in the cases of a man beating a woman or a husband maltreating his wife, instances where men are being violently abused by women, especially their wives is now on the rise and should be curbed before it gets to a state where it can no longer be controlled.
“What was common is, husband beating wife, but it is now the other way round and it is increasing in fast pace. We are urging both men and women to say no to violence before it ruins our lives and community. Violence should not be given a place in the society.” Dr. Okei-Odumakin said.
She added that the law would not excuse any form of gender-based violence under any circumstances and advised anyone that engages in violence of any form, or abuse of his or her spouse to desist from such act as it is a crime against law and humanity.
She said: “The law knows no gender; if you take part in any act of GBV, you will be arrested and made to face the wrath of justice”.
She therefore encouraged those experiencing violence to speak out so that such a person can be duly advised and helped before it leads to injury or death.
“We are here to tell you that silence is no longer golden, there is no shame in crying out. If you refuse to voice out, it could lead to death. Whether you are a man or woman, the earlier you speak, the better,” she said.
“Don’t try to stay in any relationship where you are being abused because you love your partner. This could lead to death. A home is meant to be peaceful and a place where calm is, not an abattoir or a boxing ring.” She added, noting that there are many organizations that take care of people going through abuse and which can help in managing marital violence.
On her part, Betty Abah, Executive Director, CEE-HOPE in a chat with sdnonline noted that domestic violence, from all indication, is gender -blind.
“Both men and women can be victims. There is therefore urgent need to sensitize victims on how they can seek help when situation gets out of hand and how to seek a safe way out.” she noted.
“Being alive is more important than any cultural consideration that may perpetuate violence or force victims to remain in perpetual bondage especially when it involves physical violence,” she added.
The rally was also in solidarity to clamour for justice in the on-going case involving the death of a Lagos-based engineer, Mr. Lawrence Ameh Idoko, who was reportedly stabbed to death by his wife, Mrs. Folashade Bashira Idoko.