Stakeholders have called for collective action to end Gender-based Violence (GBV) in communities across the world.
They made the call during the 5th “No Tolerance March” 2023 hosted by the Women at Risk International Foundation (WARIF), a non-profit organisation combating gender-based violence in Nigeria.
The annual advocacy tagged “WARIF No Tolerance March,” against Gender-based Violence worldwide is an annual campaign by the group to commemorate the UN 16 Days of Activism.
The campaign has had a growing reach and impact across the world and this year was held on Saturday, December 02, 2023, in 10 cities on 3 continents Lagos, Abuja, Abeokuta, Accra, London, Liverpool, New York, Los Angeles, Washington, and Frankfurt. Supporters and participants gathered in great numbers at various locations in these designated cities, united against gender-based violence.
In Lagos, the location of the March was the Lekki/lkoyi link bridge and began with an address from the United States chargé d’affaires, Mr. David Greene.
Mr Greene stated: “For far too long, impunity, silence, and stigma have allowed violence against women to escalate in Nigeria, as one in every four women and girls experience sexual assault before the age of 18.
“As we commemorate these 16 days of activism to end such abuses, we must once again remind ourselves, that no woman or girl child should live in fear of violence, and every girl should grow up knowing she is safe so that she can have the best start in life.”
Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, Mobolaji Ogunlende, emphasized that it is “our collective responsibility to change the statistics of rape and sexual violence into stories of resilience and change, challenge the status quo and pave the way for a future where every girl and woman can live in a society free of rape and other forms of gender-based violence.”
Speaking on the importance of the March, the founder of WARIF, Dr Kemi Dasilva lbru said: “This year the March was held in 10 cities across three continents as we recognize the pervasive impact of gender-based violence globally. It is important to raise awareness not only in our various communities in silos but as one collective force across the world. This is what we are attempting to do. We look forward to including even more cities in the years to come.”
First Lady of Ogun State, Mrs. Bamidele Abiodun, the Deputy British High Commissioner Mr. Jonny Baxter, and the United States Consul General Mr. Will Steven for Lagos and over 2,000 men, women, and children collectively took a stance against gender-based violence in the state and beyond states and country lines.
The March received sponsorship from Access Bank, ACT Foundation, Angel Hospitality, ALARA, Cadbury, Chevron Corporation, House on the Rock, May & Baker, Marcelle Ruth Cancer Foundation, Medicaid Cancer Foundation, Medplus, Nigerian Breweries, Mom & I, Nigeria Exchange Group (NGX), NNPC, Reddington Hospital, SAPETRO, Sterling Bank, Terra Academy For The Arts (TAFTA), Templars Law firm, US Consulate, United Africa Company (U.A.C), United Nations and Unity Hill Church. Media Partners included Arise TV, Beat FM, Bellanaija, Cool FM, Global Citizen, Nigeria Info, Prime Business Africa, Red Media, The Guardian, ThisDayStyle, and WAZOBIA.
Gender-based Violence is a global human rights violation, and the “No Tolerance” March stands as a movement to denounce violence against women and girls in all communities across the world.
Women at Risk International Foundation (WARIF) is a non-profit organization founded in 2016 by Dr. Kemi DaSilva Ibru MD; MPH in response to the high incidence of sexual assault, rape, and human trafficking occurring amongst young girls and women across Nigeria.
The Foundation was established to raise awareness and address the prevalence of this problem through the “WARIF Approach- a unique holistic method of tackling Gender Based Violence through the development and implementation of a series of initiatives, targeting both the intervention/treatment of these affected women, as well as providing preventive measures education and community service to reduce the high incidence.