Lagos breaks conspiracy of silence over gender violence

Eniola Ajayi, Lagos

 The conspiracy of silence often experienced in the events of sexual and gender-based violence is fast fading out in Lagos State.

This became evident in the latest statistics given by the Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team, (DSVRT), at a media parley to kick-off activities marking this year’s Domestic and Sexual Violence Month in the State.

A member of the team, Mrs Sherifat Sholebo affirmed that over seven hundred cases of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) were currently being handled at family courts in various parts of Lagos.

Sholebo, a Magistrate, stressed that there had been a triple-fold increase in the rate of reportage of gender-based violence.

“We have over 700 cases that we are handling, as at July, we had 585 pending cases of rape; it might not even be that all the cases are already in courts, but this is the year we have more than triple what we have ever had in a particular year, so that is to confirm that there has been increase in reportage and people are responding,” she highlighted.

In the same vein, the Police Public Relations Officer in Lagos State, Dolapo Badmus said that a number of convictions had been recorded despite the fact that a number of such cases had been settled out of court.

Badmus also pointed out that the police had been working in partnership with relevant agencies to facilitate diligent prosecution of SGBV offenders.

Meanwhile, the Alternate Chairman of the DSVRT, Mrs Omotilewa Ibirogba announced that as part of the activities marking the Domestic and Sexual Violence Month, there would be a walk in some parts of the State.

Mrs Ibirogba said that the walk would be tagged-‘‘Promoting Masculinity, Men can end sexual and Gender Based Violence.” ‘‘the walk would be held simultaneously in Ikeja and Festac Areas of the State, a research conducted by the DSVRT shows that in the past, a lot of attention had been focused on rehabilitating  female victims and educating women and girls against sexual and domestic violence, the all male walk is a new strategy to curb the rising cases of SGBV,” she noted.

Ibirogba who said Public officials and Men from all spheres of life have been invited to participate in the Walk expressed hope that the action would have a positive impact on the society.

The all male walk, which is the first of its kind, will coincide with the second anniversary of the DSVRT.

Other activities outlined for the month-long commemoration include a-one-day symposium on the role of men in ending sexual and gender based violence as well as an event for children and a gala night to view documentaries, drama and paintings showcasing the multi-facetted impacts of SGBV.