The Centre Assistant at Ireti Resource Centre, a sexual assault referral centre, Nneoma Ezuma has called on market women to allow the law takes its course on incidences of sexual and gender-based violence happening within their markets.
Ezuma said this at the Sensitisation and Awareness Creation of prevention of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) organised by the Centre for 21st Century in partnership with the Women’s Right and Health Project held recently at Bariga Market Secretariat in Lagos.
According to Ezuma, the increasing number of women facing sexual and gender-based violence is worrisome and marketplaces have equally been hit, adding that market women should speak up and not cover up perpetrators of SGVB.
Ezuma who noted that from evidence, mediation and settling cases of SGBV out of court has not deter perpetrators of GBV as many of them go about defiling girls and women without restraints, stressed that cases of GBV should be reported to the gender unit of the Nigeria Police Force so that the law will take its course against such acts.
Ezuma posited that the conviction of perpetrators of gender-based violence is still low and the reason is that family members, communities and market leaders try to cover these nefarious acts which have not helped to provide succour and relief to survivors.
“If perpetrators of gender-based violence know that they are going to prison for the offence they have committed and everyone is willing to cooperate with the police or civil society groups that are trained and equipped to handle such cases, the incidence of gender-based violence will reduce”, she said.
She explained further that although the court process can be long, tasking and very expensive for survivors and their family members noted that there is a fund available by the Lagos State government to help survivors file their cases in court.
Earlier in her words, The C21st Programme Assistant, Tobiloba Ajayi in her speech said: “the purpose of this awareness program is to sensitise women and men in Bariga Market on preventing gender-based violence.
“Also, to enlighten women and men on how to remain at the forefront of championing the advocacy by speaking up, taking action and reporting cases to the appropriate organisation to eliminate violence against persons, especially in the market.”
Also speaking at the event, The Iyaloja of Bariga Market, Yeye Adebimpe who spoke on behalf of the women thanked Centre for 21st Century Issues (C21st) for organising the awareness programme to sensitise the market women in Bariga.
Yeye Adebimpe called on all traders to join hands to bring to an end sexual and gender-based violence.
She said, “Traders need to be sensitized and sanitized on gender-based violence and sexual violence so we can recognize them when they occur and know what to do to address them. She said, “Traders need to be sensitized and sanitized on gender-based violence and sexual violence so we can recognize them when they occur and know what to do to address them.
Other agencies including the Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team and Lagos State Ministry of Health partnered with the organisation.