Thursday, 13 July 2017

Ten Million Boys Stand against Female Abuse

Rebecca Ejifoma

With a daily report on female domestic abuse both physically and emotionally, various non-governmental organisations have taken turns to attend, sensitise and empower the girl child and women across the country.

But to make a u-turn alongside a paradigm shift in quenching this fume, Morna International Children's Foundation gathered male pupils and students of about seven elementary and secondary schools at Hogas International Schools, at Ojodu area of Lagos recently.

"This meeting is as a result of the multiple violence against the girl child. We need to start talking to the boys now that they are young. We need to work on their psyche. There is a need for gender equality because it has a link with gender violence," Founder and Executive Director of the Foundation, Bukola Afolabi Ogunyeye, lamented.

Accordingly, she expressed sadly that they needed to encourage boys to start treating girls as their equals; adding, the ED said they were letting the boys know that violence is a criminal offence. "Our society is used to abusing women, who want to keep their marriages; hence, die in silence."


Although the norm has always empowered the girl child and women, Ogunyeye backed up her reason for the move. "We can't focus on girls alone. Who are we raising these girls for? Is it not for the boys?," she asked.

On the heels of the sensitisation talk with the boys, speakers unanimously advised participants to shun violence, protect the girl child, treat her as though she is your sister or your mother whom you will allow no one harm.

The Foundation lauded the Lagos state govt that has intervened in some cases brought up whether private or public school.

In the words of segun Sega Awosanya, the statistics of crime against women is alarming worldwide. And it can't be compared with violence against men. "We aren't doing this training for the boys because violence comes from them but we want to begin to reorient them."

Obviously, women are being empowered more and they are more skilled than the men. We want to place a generational change in the lives of our boys. If we raise our boys well, they won't see our women as worthy of abuse or violence. But we will begin to raise them to appreciate women and understand the equality of women to men.

Reacting to some abuse going on in primary schools where teachers strip boys naked as punishment, Awosanya lamented: "This happened when I was in school too. Our teachers would strip boys naked - not girls. It's dehumanising and abusive. Those of my friends whom were affected felt dehumanised and it affected their psyche and they became introverts."

On this, he urged that such act should be punishable. "In my opinion, any child that is treated in such babaric manner in school should report it to their parents. This is a societal problem. It needs to be treated."