‘Speak up’ Victims Of Gender-Based Violence Cry Out in Ebonyi
By Chinwe Imo-Eze Onwosi
Victims of gender based violence in Ebonyi state have advised abused persons to speak up about their experiences so that the act can be curbed in the society.
The women and girls who gathered at Abakaliki local government area on Wednesday narrated their ordeals and cried out for help from relevant government agencies.
They made public their predicaments on the occasion of Advocacy dialogue with the Executives of Youth Faith-based Organizations for the elimination of violence against women, girls and children organized by the National Orientation Agency (NOA) with support from the European Union-United Nations (EU-UN) Spotlight Initiative which took place in Amachi in the local government.
One of the victims, Nwangele Eucharia from Ndiegu Okpoitumo, an Ebonyi State BSU 300 level student narrated how some group of boys descended on her when she was returning home one evening and that it was a man she ran into his house that made the boys not to carry out their evil plan against her.
According to her, “I have witnessed violence from some group of boys. My aunt’s son got lost and we went to find him and on our way coming back, my auntie entered bike. So, I was trekking to the house. on the way, I met some group of boys on the way and they attacked me.
“They descended on me and started dragging me. They destroyed my necklace but I managed to escape to a nearby house. The man inside that house woke up and called my name because he knows me and he started chasing the boys.
“I was not happy about it and I tried my best to report the incident but I didn’t know where to report the matter and I had nobody to report the matter. I told my auntie when she came back and nothing happened. But with this programme, I am now equipped on how to go about this type of thing next time it occurs”, she said.
Another girl, Ogbonna Prisca said it was her relative that experienced violence particularly rape when robbers invaded a hostel, robbed all the girls in the hostel at Ishieke campus of Ebonyi state University and rapped all the girls there.
“It was my relation that actually experienced violence at Ishieke where they were being robbed by robbers and all the girls in the hostel were actually raped and they didn’t see any of the guys. They were taken to hospital and they spent three days in the hospital receiving treatment, they were admitted at Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki. I felt very bad because they were unable to get the people that did it.
“imagine if those people had STDs or HIV, they would have infected the girls, so, I felt very bad about the incident.
“Law enforcement agents should put more efforts to fight this crime . I know that they are actually trying but they should put more efforts. Most of these things happen in villages, not even town but in the villages.
In his lecture, Onyekachi Okorie, Ebonyi state Coordinator regretted that women in the state especially in Izzi clan which Abakaliki local government is part of, have suffered all forms of violence.
He lamented that the women have refused to speak out when they face the violence with some of them killed because of their silence.
“The rate at which violence is meted on women in Ebonyi state especially in Izzi clan is very unfortunate. We came into this state in 2019 and that’s why many people have not known about us but what we have seen on violence against women is too much.
“The way women are being maltreated in this state by their husbands is heartbreaking and the worst part of it is that mother in-laws contribute to this violence, they incite their sons against their wives. Some of these women fail to speak up and that is why we are calling on married women to speak up and report cases of violence.
“From our records since 2019 we came into this state, unfortunately, we get more violence cases against women from Izzi area, very violent cases against women in their marital homes. Majority of the cases comes from this Izzi clan and that is why I insisted that I must attend this programme”, he said.
On his part, Uchenna Unah NOA UNICEF desk officer in the state who represented EU-UN who corroborated NHRC said the women were chosen for the programme to educate them on why the violence against women, girls and children should be nipped in the bud.
“We expect them at the end of the programme to go back to their different churches, different communities and start the enlightenment of their members on the elimination against women, girls and children in their different communities.
“They will be given materials, they will also be equipped with referral phone numbers where they can report cases against women, girls and children at whatever time and whichever place it happens.
“Also, they are expected to be submitting reports to us on the progress they are making; the number of women they are educating on weekly basis etc”, he said.