Group seeks partnership to tackle domestic violence against women

VIOLENCE-(2)kkk-CopyBlue Sapphires a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), focused on strengthening the current efforts at combating domestic violence against girls and women in Nigeria, was recently unveiled in Lagos.

Present at the ocassion to welcome the new NGO were members of civil society groups, gender activists, media and some notable private sector operators.

This was preceded by an inaugural policy dialogue with the theme: “Towards the implementation of the Violence against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act 2015: Factors, Challenges and Possibilities.”

Among those who assembled to treat the topic were experts like the acclaimed right activists who actively champion the rights of women locally and globally, Dry Joe Okei-Odumakin, Dry Eleanor Nwadinobi, Regional Chair, Sub-Saharan Africa, United Nations NGO/Department for Public Information Executive Committee, and Dry Charmaine Pereira, Chairman, Legislative Advocacy coalition on Violence Against Women (LACVAN), who also was the chairman of the occasion.

“It is my privilege to join in launching the Blue Sapphire Initiative, which aims to uphold the dignity and advance the rights of women and girls in the country. They are taking a holistic approach in addressing this menace through their four prong approach,” said Dry Charmaine Pereira, who also added:

“They are going to set up a shelter where these women can go. There are few places people can actually go to. They are also involved in counselling and this should not leave the women worse before they come to you. Thirdly, they will be involved in advocacy. It is a good initiative and we like to give our support to them in achieving all these. What a good time to start. There can never be a better time.”

In her presentation titled: “The negative impact of violent conflict on girls and women,” Dry Eleanor Nwadinobi said the domestic violence against women is a national epidemic and affront to humanity.

According to him, there is, therefore, a need to take comprehensive steps to eradicating domestic violence and other forms of gender based violence.

She listed some of the steps to be taken to include, breaking the culture of silence through provision of safe space to report the incidence, enactment and implementation of relevant laws, ensure confidentiality of survivors and commitment on the part of the media including the social media.

She stressed that the media need to do more by bringing the issue to the knowledge of the public so that communities can rise up and ensure that the perpetrators are brought to book.

She added that male champions need to be identified that will take up the message while violent extremism must be countered; there must be zero tolerance for the culture of impunity.

Toyin Omodara, co-founder and consulting lead of Blue Sapphires Initiative, said the NGO’s goal is to create awareness about the ills to the larger society and provide intervention to protect victims. The NGO’s vision statement, she said is “To strengthen society by succouring women and girls.”

Blue Sapphires has chosen to focus its interventions on 4 pillars: Policy, Advocacy, Helpline, Counselling and Empowerment.

Declaring the ambition of the organisation, Omodara said: “The plan here is to drive the implementation of policy that will enable us tackle domestic violence within our national space. To this end, the recent enactment of the VAPP act provides a crucial lever to hinge our first shot towards this cause.”

According to her, by initiating conversation on the nuances of the act and getting key groups and influencers to understand the power of this instrument and how they can support its implementation in various contexts, we sense a window to make an impact in no distant future on critical mass.



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