The rate of unreported Gender Based Violence, GBV, in communities across Edo state is assuming an alarming rate despite efforts and existing laws put in place to checkmate it.

Worried by this, a group known as Gbolekekro Women Empowerment and Development Organisation, GWEDO, in conjunction with Urgent Action Fund, organized a two day training for community leaders in Gelegele, in Ovia North-East Local Government Area of Edo state so as to create awareness on Gender Based Violence.

Coordinator of Gbolekekro Women Empowerment and Development Organisation , Mrs Cynthia Buluebiere Bright, explained that the essence of the training was for stakeholders to brainstorm on ways of nipping gender based violence in the bud by seeing to the reduction of GBV in the state and to bring perpetrators to book.

She said the training would encourage the people of Gelegele to speak out against Gender Based Violence, show respect in work places and at homes in order not to infringe on other people’s fundamental human rights.

According to her, available statistics showed that one in every three women experiences different forms of violence every minute worldwide, while out of five women, one is violated all through her life, a situation she harps that demands urgent attention from all stakeholders.

Mrs Bright buttressed that the prevalence rate of GBV in the state could also be attributed to the poor level of awareness of appropriate protective laws in these communities.

She regretted that access to data on GBV in local communities was very low and needed to be improved upon calling on stakeholders especially the media to work hand in hand in increasing awareness on Gender Based Violence.

Also speaking, the Facilitator of the programme and Founder, Caring Hearts Initiative, Mrs Grace Obakina outlined early signs and potential threats women should observe and take action when Gender Based Violence occurs.

These include lack of love and that the person is easily irritated, urging women to walk out of the marriage or relationship to avoid being abused for too long so as to live longer and healthier lives.

Mrs Obakina however challenged women to be economically independent and civil to safeguard their relationship with their spouses to avoid being abused.

The programme which was highly interactive featured brainstorming sessions where groups of participants presented suggestions on ways the communities could end gender based violence in the state.

Some of the participants urged community leaders to constantly enlighten residents and report cases of Gender Based Violence to appropriate authorities so as to ensure punitive measures are implemented and serve as deterrent to others.

The sessions were rounded off on Day 2 with awareness creation rally around Gelegele communities and Riverine areas to create awareness to stop all forms of GBV.

The road march awareness attracted more participants from Gelegele community and members of  neighbouring community in olodiama kingdom in attendance.

After the awareness creation march, the stakeholders training continued, focusing on the VAPP (Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act) laws, a Bill for the Act to eliminate all violence in private and public life, prohibit all forms of violence.

Some of the participants agreed that the existing laws were indeed an eye opener for them and suggested that perpetrators of GBV be handed over to the police.

Highpoint of the event was a group photograph of all participants and organisers, while a football match was held between the women groups.

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