Stakeholders during a one-day webinar organized by the spotlight initiative have called on the media to bring gender based violence to the front burner and help break silence around the odious practice.
The webinar with the theme “the role of media in promoting accountability to end violence against women and girls”, aims to create increased media advocacy, involvement, participation and reportage on ending violence against women and girls among other laudable goals.
UNICEF representative, Peter Hawkins in his remark urged the media to leverage on the freedom of information to break silence around VAWG.
He noted that the BBC has already blazed the trail in the “sex for grades series” where it highlighted the challenges women face in their daily undertakings noting that through such intervention, women will never feel alone in the struggle.
Hawkins urged the media to continue to champion debates and healthy conversations around the blight so as to prod the society to take the right action towards stemming the ugly tide.
He noted that with such actions, the women will have the confidence to speak against the monster which will lead to its inevitable end.
Hawkins urged the media to create behavioral change, and hold people to account for the infractions they commit so as to change the ugly narrative.
Also in his speech, EU ambassador Ketil Karlsen said 2020 witnessed a global spike of domestic violence which calls for concern by all and sundry.
In the speech presented by Clement Boutillier, Karlsen noted that the rise in domestic violence was amplified and worsened by the incursion of COVID-19 pandemic.
“This crisis must not lead to backtracking on the rights for women and girls. The time has come to invest for better future for all.
” Breaking the culture of silence is one of the most important ways of creating enabling environment for women to speak out and report cases of gender based violence. Far too often, issues of gender based violence are silenced in fear of the reaction of the family members and society,” he said.
Karlsen noted that majority of women in Nigeria who experienced sexual or physical violence did not seek help or support noting that for every case reported, many go unreported.
“This is not only a Nigerian issue but a global problem. The media plays a crucial role in putting issues on the agenda and in raising awareness at all levels of the society.
” Media has a wide reach, also reaching vulnerable population in their own language and via accessible media like radios,” he said.