By Tina Todo
A Non Governmental Orginsation (NGO) in Cross River state, “Care for the Young” has commenced a pilot training and awareness campaign programme of over 300 secondary school girls on Gender Based Violence (GBV) in Cross River State.
In this pilot programme, training and awareness campaign will be carried out for 150 girls in Government Secondary School, Akamkpa and another 150 for girls in the West African Peoples Institute (WAPI), Calabar, Cross River State.
The Leader of the NGO, Miss Cheasobuol Ogar stated that “on daily basis issues of GBV are recorded in the state and awareness campaign was necessary to check the situation before it gets out of control”.
Ogar who said this at weekend Government Secondary School, Akamkpa during an awareness workshop on GBV stated that “the culture of silence is one of the factors that have given room to the increase in violence against women and girls mostly in rural communities where they see it as abomination to speak about such”.
Ogar said, “Care for the Young is female based organisation and we base our emphasis on young women from 14 to 30 years. So we had awareness workshop on GBV and we educated the female students on GBV and the different forms of violence like domestic violence, sexual harassment and others.
“In our society today, we see the women as a weaker vessel, thereby they are prey for the men and other social vices that is happening in the society . There is increase of GBV in our communities, there are ‘Randy Uncles’ everywhere and in almost every home that is why we have chosen secondary school girls as our target audience.
“They are more vulnerable to everything that happens in the society that is bad. We are educating the young ones that are still coming up on different types of GBV and what they can do to prevent it and how they can get help”.
For the young girls, she said “we educate and teach them on their reproductive health right, against sexual exploitation, child abuse and child marriage and we support them educationally, that is, we give them financial support.
“While for the young women, we empower them economically. Today, ten young girls were chosen randomly in the school and they were given N5000 each to support their education. The money can probably be used to pay their school fees or buy their text books”.
Ogar advised young women to avoid any practice that could expose them to sexual harassment and called on individuals to report any case of rape or harassment to their loved ones.
She added, “My message to young women is, we should stop the culture of silence, if you know someone who is actually going through any form of gender based violence, we urge you to say something.
“As young girls, we should avoid anything that will end us up being sexually harassed. if you know this uncle that keeps touching you in a way that is not proper, you should report to your parents or somebody that is close to you that can help you out, with that, we will be able to cut down gender based violence in our society” .
One of the resource persons at the awareness campaign, Elizabeth Akan said, every girl child should have self confidence and know her rights because “if everyone can speak up when faced with any form of violence, there will be decrease in violence against women and girls”.