Children’s Day: Educating Boys On Ending Violence Against Women | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Children’s Day: Educating Boys On Ending Violence Against Women

Posted: May 28, 2015 at 12:02 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Children’s Day, also known as the International Children’s Day or the Universal Children’s Day, was first proclaimed by the United Nations General

A cross section of participants at the event

A cross section of participants at the event

Assembly in 1954, it was established to encourage all countries to institute a day, firstly to promote mutual exchange and understanding among children and secondly to initiate action to benefit and promote the welfare of the world’s children.  This day is observed to promote the objectives outlined in the Charter and for the welfare of children. On November 20, 1958 the United Nations adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child. The United Nations adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child on November 20, 1989 and in 2000, the Millennium Development Goals outlined by world leaders in order to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS by 2015. Albeit this applies to all people, the main objective is with regard to children.

The day is not simply a day to celebrate children for who they are, but to bring awareness to children around the globe that have succumbed to violence in forms of abuse, exploitation and discrimination. Children are used as labourers in some countries, immersed in armed conflict, living on the streets, suffering by differences be it religion, minority issues, or disabilities. May 27, 2015 a day to honour Nigeria’s children is coming at a dark period in Nigeria’s history with the emerging forms of violence against children. Abuses have now become grave and torturous from abduction to trafficking, rape, maiming, killing and disappearances.

AS Nigeria marked the commemoration, Echoes of Women in Africa Initiative (ECOWA) a nongovernmental women human rights organisation organised a one day workshop for boys on non violence as part of a preventive strategic plan on ending violence against women and girls.

The event brought together School Boys from different schools and ages (14 to 16 years) participated in a workshop where papers were presented on various topics that included: ‘Understanding Sexual Violence’; ‘Youth and Drug Abuse’.

In the ‘Understanding Sexual Violence’, Louisa Ono Eikhomun the Executive Director of Echoes of Women in Africa Initiative explained the various forms of sexual violence as rape with sub forms such as incest, statutory, transactional rape and pornography. In trying to get the understanding of the young participants, she presented some common myth surrounding sexual violence’  Myth ‘only bad girls get raped’?, ‘Rape is an uncontrollable act’?. The boys supported these stereotypes until the facts were explained to them that there is no justification for rape and dressing should not be an invitation to rape, because young children boys and girls under two years have been victims of rape and older women of 75 years have been raped, she concluded sexual desires are controllable because rape is an act of power over vulnerable victims.

The paper on ‘Youth and Drug Abuse’ was presented by Isaac Oluwafisayo Ajayi a final year student of the University of Ibadan and a volunteer in ECOWA. In his definitions, a child is anyone under 18 years and a minor is anyone under 16 years (UNICEF), while youth is anyone from 18-25 years. He explained the various forms of hard drugs from heroin, cocaine, meth, marijuana and the dangerous effects of such social habits which include addiction and crime. Mr. Isaac further explained the dangers of cultism and encouraged the boys to avoid cultism which has led to the death of many undergraduates in the universities.

A third paper was presented by a Superintendent of Police (SP) Andrew Ikechukwu, OC Magodo Shagisha Police Division under Area H, Lagos. He explained the role of the police in addressing violence by young people which include arrest, detain, investigate and to prosecute. Young boys he said are not exempted from the law and when a crime is committed by a boy, the matter is charged to a juvenile court after investigation. He advised the boys to be law abiding and inform the police of any act of crime in their neighbourhood.

Group work and presentation were used to test the boys understanding of the issues. Thereafter some of the participants who showed commitments and leadership qualities were nominated for an election as ECOWA Peace Ambassadors.  Six boys were elected by the participants to commence a peace club in three communities of Magodo, Isheri, Shangisha in Lagos State with the objective to mobilize, organize and educate young boys against violence and violence against women and girls.