Mrs Laila St. Mathew-Daniel, the President of Act Generation, an NGO, has called on Lagos State Government to provide more shelter in every community and local governments for women that experienced domestic violence.
She made the call in Lagos on Thursday at a Roundtable Meeting organised by the European Union (EU).
The meeting was sponsored by Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (RoLAC) Programme, another NGO.
“One of the challenges faced by survivors of domestic violence is the issue of insufficient shelter.
“The shelter provided by the Lagos State Government at Igando, though a very nice facility is too far. There is a need for more shelter in Lagos State. Every community and local government should have shelters for women with issues of domestic violence,“ she said.
Providing insight on the work of her NGO, St. Matthew-Daniel said one of the objectives of the organisation was helping survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse.
“We create awareness and sensitise women and children that have been sexually abused and violated. We counsel them and empower them.
“Every week, at least five cases of domestic violence and sexual abuse cases are reported to us’’.
Ms Mercy Makinde, the President, the Amazing Amazon Initiative, another NGO focusing on capacity building and empowerment of survivors of domestic violence emphasised the need for women to be economically empowered.
“We help women who go through domestic violence and teach children how to protect themselves against all forms of sexual abuse through sex education
“We have the ‘Touch Me Not’ campaign which teaches children how to avoid and identify abuse. I believe that financially empowered women will be liberated from gender violence’’,
Mr Lateef Akinborode, the Executive Director, Community Women’s Right Foundation, said that the foundation provided skills acquisition programmes for vulnerable women and children.
“We orientate women on their fundamental human rights, we encourage them to speak up and we also provide referrals to Office of Public Defender (OPD)’’.
Akinborode said his foundation also partnered with the police to monitor cases of domestic violence and sexual abuse from the inception to conclusion.
Mrs Mandy Asagba, President of African Women Lawyers Association, (AWLA), in her speech, revealed that women and children died daily due to domestic violence and sexual assault.
Asagba reiterated the need for collaboration between NGOs, Civil Society Groups and the government in the fight against gender based violence in the society.
Mrs Funmi Falana of Women Empowerment and Legal Aid said that the NGO provided empowerment programmes for women and children in terms of scholarship among others.
Falana, who was represented by Mrs Amara Nwosu, said the scholarship programme for the less privileged children from primary to university. “We have an ongoing scholarship programme, providing education for the less privileged children from primary to university level.
“We also give lots of legal advice to women and girls to be better people in the society through our partners, the Femi Falana Chambers’’.
Mr Praise Fowowe, the Founder of the Centre for Sex Education and Family Life called for change in the approach to gender based violence.
“Gender based violence did not start from beating the wife, it actually started from the home upbringing, environment and significant emotional experience,” Fowowe said.
He said his organisation had created a response system that could assist the survivors and perpetuators of domestic violence. “We provide therapy and coaching sessions, life classes and support groups’’.
Mrs Josephine Chukwuma, the Founder, Project Alert, a domestic and sexual violence NGO which has been in existence for 20 years, called for male participation in issues of gender based violence.
“All the interventions we have done today started with research, we started the very first shelter for women in Lagos.
“In all our domestic violence workshops, we noticed there was no male participation.
“We focus so much energy on raising and empowering the girl-child, leaving the male child.
“The men are being sidelined, resulting in a lot of men being unable to handle successful women’’.
Mrs Ngozi Ogbolu, the Chairperson of the International Federation of Female Lawyers (FIDA), said that FIDA focused on protecting the well being of women and children.
“FIDA has a ward at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) and we have adopted a school at Makoko, Lagos.
“We prosecute and defend cases, conduct advocacy and organise training for survivors of gender based violence.
“We run Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and resolve a lot of marital issues’’.
Ogbolu, while advising victims of domestic violence said, “Marriage is not by force or a do or die affair, you have to be alive to enjoy it”, she concluded.