I, Jane Kalu Okereke, hail from the ancient city of Ohafia, Abia State in the eastern parts of Nigeria.

 I am an Accountant by profession presently am working with a logistics company. I am also the C.E.O/Founder of Grassroots Women and Girls and Gender Equity Initiative, a non-profit organization. The sole purpose of this foundation is to empower the women and girl child economically and expose them to their rights. The organisation has recently been involved in training and empowerment of women and girl child in my community of Amaekpu in Ohafia Local Government Area of Abia Sate, Nigeria.

I joined World pulse in May 2015, and to my utmost excitement and amazement, I realized the level of positive impact women are making in their different communities. I discovered that the activities in World pulse are in line with my age long desire to contribute my little quota to the emancipation of women and girl child from all societal vices. On these premise and with the motivation I got from other women in world pulse, I quickly moved into action with the presentation of a seminar to the girls in my community title ‘How female adolescence can overcome the challenges while growing up in contemporary society.” The seminar was a huge success as it attracted so many adolescence girls who were facing various challenges in a fast changing world.

When the call for introduction to digital empowerment came up, I saw it as a window and an opportunity to be equipped more on how to lend my voice on the issue of women and girl child empowerment. It will build in me necessary skills that will enable reach out to more of these vulnerable groups. In a world fast evolving in technology, what better way to reach out to people than to acquire needed skills in digital empowerment?

 My decision of joining the gender base violence group steams from the facts that the group promises to be a vehicle that will help me achieve the sets goals of my non-profit organization. Being a member of this group will enable me have an effective feedback to victims of gender based violence in my community. Having members in the group who are so experienced in gender based issues, will afford me the opportunity of picking from their wealth of experience.

 I hope and desire that by active participation in this group, I can adequately address the issue of wife battering and rape cases prevalent in my community. This will enable me to encourage and enlighten the women to voice out and exposed such barbaric vices when it occurs.

   One pertinent question that I will pose to the group is what can be done to remove the stigma on rape victims which discourages them from exposing the rapist? Fear of victimization and stigmatization has been the major reason discouraging women from speaking out when they are dishonoured.  Personally I consider passage of law/bills against people who stigmatized rape victims as a possible solution.

 

 

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Dear Jane You are surely doing an amazing job and I am so happy that you have told us your story.

It's not easy for rape victims to report their violators. But with encouragement from the community and a lot of counselling can make them feel safe and be more confident in themselves. This is a long process and you have to be patient with them. Also if you can get a Safe house for them so that they feel safe can be another solution. Thank you for the good cause and continue to fight for these women's rights. God bless you and please post more stories

Mrs. Anita Kiddu Muhanguzi Head of Legal and Advocacy Centre for Batwa Minorities a.kiddu@gmail.com cfmlegal@gmail.com Skype: mrs_muhanguzi

Dear Jane,

Wow, I am inspired by how much you have done to encourage young women, and the passion you bring to what you do. I am overjoyed to learn that you are helping girls in your community overcome the hardships that come with being a woman.

I completely agree that the stigmatization of rape victims is a huge problem. I love Anita's idea of having safe houses to provide a safe place for women where they can feel valued, respected, and secure. I think that's the most important thing that can make a woman feel valued-- safety and love from other women.

Thank you for sharing your experiences. Please keep doing what you do, and know that you have women and allies supporting you in every part of the world.

Rooting for you,

Fumika

 

Hi Jane,

Your an amazing woman.You did a good job on your community.You inspired me and all women around the world by your courage to found that organization which help so much on your community to all women,especially adolescents.

Rape is a huge problem all over the world.Sad to say,it happens at home.Victims can't speak out.They don't know what to do,where to go and who will be trusted.But if have a center or organization that can keep them secured,safe and help them to recover from traumatic experience.Maybe,the case of rape will be less.

Keep up the good work sister.More power to you and to your organization.

Regards,

Champagne

 

 

 

 

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Stand up for what you believe in,even if you standing alone.

I am very impressed with the work you are doing and the efforts you are making to empower young women. It is so important for them to understand the sources of negative self image and figure out how to change that into a positive. A positive self-image is one way that women can feel empowered in their communities.

But it seems that some are scared of powerful women and try to hurt them through rape. It seems that in many instances, if women's names can be prevented from being released publicly, they might be more inclined to report rape. It is very sad that women are stigmatized when they report a rape and there certainly need to be both laws and social resistance to such stigmas. 

I am glad you are here on World Pulse, and I look forward to following your important work. 

Best,

Leslie

Leslie Stoupas

Janekalu,

I see a strong and courageous woman who, partially as a result of becoming a member of the WorldPulse community, took what you are learning and put into action within your community. This is such a beautiful thing. Thank you!

Empowering girls and women is a need in Nigeria as well as all over the world.  I am so happy to know that you are using your skills, education and passion to address this in your country. Your question about how to deal with the stigma of rape victims which then discourages them from exposing their rapist is a great question and while seems simple to answer, it is not easy at all to plan and implement!  

I have experienced a few solutions put forth where I live in Oregon, USA and I would love to share a few suggestions: educating children that boys and girls are human beings, are equal and must receive the same respect from each other is one that comes to mind. I agree about passing laws and putting policies in place. Yet without grassroots actions and empowering the women themselves to be their own voice (with support from others), the possibility of programs and actions being successful diminshes somewhat.

What are your thoughts on the above? Based upon your culture and laws, what are some other suggestions you have?

Your dedication and commitment to empowering girls and women shine through in this post. I want to keep in touch and see where your journey takes you. 

In gratitude,

Lisa

 

 

 

Janekalu,

Thanks for sharing, and thanks for the important work you are doing in educating, creating awareness and empowering young girls and women. I applaud you, it is not easy work and it will likely take time to create the kinds of change where women are respected and are not subjected to the type of violence you describe.

You are courageous. Recognizing that this is problem for some of the women in your community,  wanting to try break the silence and trying to make a difference in the lives of women who are being subjected to domestic violence (DM) and rape. 

Recently I attended the opening of the first ever European Conference on DM. And what I learned is that it can take a lot of courage and support for women who are in an abusive situation to seek help,  and as others have mentioned their self-esteem becomes shattered, they are possibly very controlled. Having a shelter (safe place to go to) is important.

I also hope you find like minded folks in your community to help you in your work. Do live near a University, might there be someone who can support you in your work?  both helping document it and creating visibility wrt the pervasivness/impact etc.

Keep up your strong work, Warm regards, RoseMarie

RoseMarie FitzSimons

Dear Jane,

Having just recently become more connected on World Pulse myself, I loved reading about how you were excited to find other women here who share your desire to make a difference in their own communities. It's great to see how you were motivated by your connections, and how that encouraged you to spring into action and lead your seminar. It is such important work that you are doing - educating women about their rights and helping them find the strength to stand up for themselves in a place where they are left feeling alone and voiceless for fear of being stigmatized. You are addressing issues that are difficult to address, and I know that new World Pulse members who will join this wonderful community will be inspired by your story and your strength, just as you were inspired when you joined. Your work is reaching far beyond the women and girls in your community, so please keep telling your stories. You are an inspiration.

Best regards,

Rachel