Abuja – On Monday November 26, the U.S. Embassy, in partnership with Media Campaign against Human Trafficking (MeCAHT), held multiple events to mark the ‘International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women’ and the beginning of ‘16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence’.
The event started with a walk from the International Conference Center (ICC), past the Fire Service, through the Nigeria Defense College and Army Headquarters, and back to ICC. Some male walkers showed their support and understanding for the challenges of Nigerian women by walking in a woman’s pair of shoes.
In his remarks at the symposium and exhibition that followed the walk, the U.S. Embassy’s Counselor for Public Affairs, Aruna Amirthanayagam, reaffirmed the enduring commitment of the United States to preventing and responding to Gender Based Violence (GBV) globally. He disclosed that the U.S. government has supported many initiatives to combat violence, including the funding of seven (7) Sexual Assault Referral Centers (SARCs) in Jigawa, Kano, Kaduna, Niger, Lagos, Enugu and Akwa Ibom. These centers provide first line medical and psychosocial support. They also create links to other services so that a holistic system is available to survivors.
The Counselor for Public Affairs noted that “We need to raise awareness of the far-reaching consequences of ignoring the danger ‘Gender Based Violence’ poses to families, communities, and societies” concluding that “It’s time that we stand up in defense of the helpless and the vulnerable.”
There were also presentations by representatives of the office of the Vice President of Nigeria, the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in persons (NAPTIP), and the Canadian High Commission. The program also included an exhibition of paintings interpreting the determinants and consequence of gender based violence in the Nigerian context.