ON the advent of yet another homicide which brings alarm to an unprecedented number of homicides for the year so far to 20, the Commonwealth Youth Peace Ambassadors Network (CYPAN), which advocates for peace and countering violent extremism, is perturbed by the rising cases of gender-based violence.
CYPAN, a youth-led initiative sanctioned through the Commonwealth Secretariat, strongly believes no one has to live in fear of this kind of behaviour, especially in a home where society demonstrates family values where relationships are to be peaceful, healthy and respectful.
CYPAN vehemently opposes any form of gender-based violence, abuse, harassment and exploitation and calls on all stakeholders to provide such mechanism which hinders such acts.
CYPAN also adds its voice by making several calls on the various stakeholders:
We call upon the government:
o To sustain its efforts in taking action against perpetrators of gender based violence. Reaffirm a gender violations unit within the national security ministry and an emergency helpline where citizens can confidently report acts of gender based violence and seek support.
o Hold to account security agencies/or persons who fail to deliver on their roles.
o Build knowledge and awareness of better treatment and handling of gender equality in the education curriculum from elementary to higher level.
o Sensitize citizens on their expected roles and responsibilities of ensuring their own safety and security as well as their neighbours and the existing country’s mechanisms for protecting them.
We call upon our leaders:
o The Governor General, Prime Minister, the Opposition, Parliamentarians, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Members of Parliament, the Senators, Permanent Secretaries and other leaders to be united in saying an absolute no to violence, especially gender-based violence.
o To resist from justifying the acts of violence in any way.
We call upon the police force:
o To fully maintain law and order.
o To sensitively deal with survivors of violence and lodge all cases of violence reported by survivors.
o To give due priority to cases of gender based violence and deal with alleged perpetrators appropriately.
We call upon the judiciary:
o To ensure that justice is served, and served fast.
We call upon Faith based Organizations:
o To institute programmes of action to shift gender insensitive ideologies and practices among their followers.
We call upon men:
o To be champions for the cause of women’s rights.
o To say no to violence against their mothers, daughters, sisters, and wives in their homes, villages, communities and society at large, by speaking out against it, and stepping in to help.
We call upon women:
o To say no to violence against them by reporting such cases.
o To break the silence and speak out against violence.
o To seek out for help in cases of violence.
o To protect themselves by changing their mindset, attitude and practices.
o To walk away from any sight of abuse.
We call upon Citizens:
o To continue to publicly condemn such acts of violence.
o To report cases of violence as survivors or as witnesses and demand justice.
o To continue to campaign for the government to enforce law and order and punish the guilty.
o To identify constructive avenues and communicate/engage with each other rather than reverting to violence.
o To raise generations with a sense of love and respect for others.
CYPAN also believes that more education should be done in schools and youth settings to raise awareness especially to our young men and boys on gender equality and encouraging healthy and respectful view on girls and young women.
Let us all build positive social change which will in the end aggressively tackle and ultimately reduce and possibly end gender-based violence in our country.