By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo
Worried by increasing incidents of gender-based violence in Nigeria with its attaining consequences on victims and society, media practitioners have been urged to be in the vanguard to reverse the ugly trend.
Although not restricted to a particular sex (males or females) but there have been many reported cases of gender based violence recently with spouses attacking and killing their partners in many parts of the country.
The call was made at a media roundtable on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHRs) and Gender-Based-Violence (GBV) organised by the Coalition of Eastern NGOs (CENGOs) and Civil Resource Development and Documentation Centre (CIRDDOC) in collaboration with Amplify Change held last weekend in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom state capital.
CENGOs, is an umbrella organisation of non-governmental organisations working on human rights in the old Eastern region of Nigeria i.e. Enugu, Anambra, Ebonyi, Imo, Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Cross River, Rivers and Bayelsa states.
CIRDDOC is a non-governmental organisation committed to the promotion of women’s rights, access to justice and rule of law while Amplify Change is an international development partner that aims to empower young people, men and women to realise their sexual and reproductive rights.
Pascal Anozie, Coordinator of CIRDDOC in his welcome address on the event said journalists should be part of the movement to end gender based violence and advance the Sexual Reproductive and Health Rights of the youths by making gender based violence more visible in the media.
Anozie said reporting on such issues especially as they concern gender-based violence will help survivors and others with necessary information to protect themselves as well as seek help and justice.
“In recognition of the role of the media in shaping the society, journalists should cover issue of gender based violence in a way that does not perpetuate gender stereotypes but inform and encourage public debate.
“You can do this through features, analysis pieces and blogs that can provide greater analysis and understanding of the psychologies of gender-based violence in a way that will improve readers’ understanding of both the actions and reactions of the survivor and the perpetrator,’’ he said.
In his remarks, Israel Ekanem, coordinator of CENGOS in Akwa Ibom state said that accurate reporting on gender based violence and consistently bringing it to the front burner of public discourse would enable policymakers to legislate against it or enforce implementation where there is an existing law.
Ngozi Emelogu, a development expert in her paper, identified that, poverty, low income and education at the individual level as well as weak community sanctions placed major roles on gender based violence while women were more likely to be victims.
She listed the consequences of gender based violence to include low self esteem and depression at the non fatal level while suicides and homicides are the consequences at the fatal outcomes.
According to her, the violation of sexual and reproductive health rights is the violation of human rights, adding that human rights are about empowerment and an entitlement of people with respect to certain aspects of their lives including sexual and reproductive rights.
She maintained that if these concepts are done under coercion and discrimination, it would amount to violation of human rights.
“If rights are protected, they have transformative effects not only for women but on families, communities and national economies”, Emelogu added.
Other highlights included, the presentations on case-studies of gender based violence such as rape, battery, female genital mutilation, sexual abuse of female children and other harmful acts on women, sexual and reproductive rights of individuals.
Selected participants were drawn from the electronic, print and online platforms.