#Reportwomen #the voicesofwomenintheruralcommunitiesmustbeheard

Ronkijo
Posted February 8, 2015 from Nigeria
#Ireportwomen #thevoicesofwomenmustbeheard
Sharing my Experiences as a Women and Child's Rights Advocate.
#IReportwomen #thevoicesofwomenmustbeheard.
IReportwomen #thevoicesofwomenmustbeheard. (1/2)

SOTHAWACA in conjunction with the Wole Soyinka Center for Investigative Journalism on the project ‪#‎Reportwomen‬ ‪#‎voicesofwomenintheruralcommunitiesmustbeheard‬ to commemorate her Groundbreaking Event: The Hope of Healing Initiative began her 3-Day research tour around communities in Edo State. Our Goal was to be able to get first information on the following: • Child Abuse paying attention to Child Trafficking; Child prostitution and Child Labor; Defilement and Rape. As the initiator of SOTHAWACA and State Coordinator of NACCRAN, I work extensively with children especially sexually abused children. Here in this country (Nigeria), sexual abuse of children is defined simply as every sexual activity between any adult (male or female) and a child to satisfy that adults sexual desires. It is a very pervasive act that is carried out all over the country. It is also a global issue. This is a great challenge. Be it known that 1 in every 4 girls have had sexual experiences in their life time. According to a recent BBC report (sometime in 2014), it stated that 1 in every 10 girls; a very alarming figure. This therefore means that our children are risks of health and human rights challenges here in Edo State and in Nigeria in general. Many of the cases of sexual abuse on children go unreported by parents and guidance of many child victims. Lack of parental care and abject poverty are the major causes of child sexual abuse. Other factors such as unemployment, marital conflicts, family background and polygamous homes encouragement this heinous crime against children. Be it known that perpetrators are always well know to their victims ~ trusted allies In the case of child prostitution, you do not have to go into brothels to search for children who are being use by the syndicates involved in child prostitution in Edo State. Initially, I used to think that prostitution or commercial sex work was mainly for adult women, until I started to notices children hanging out around street corners in Benin City. Children between the ages of 12, 13 and 14 years old. I found it extremely difficult to comprehend myself that at that very tender age, children were subjected to indulge in prostitution. What immediately came to my mind was “why should these ones be here at this ungodly hour of the night? I had to a project to investigate further. What I promised myself was to pry into their private life to find out why exactly they went into sex trade at such a tender age. Many of them told me very pathetic stories of how they were taken from their parents in the rural communities to come to the city to do menial jobs in exchange for a good life e.g. good education, healthy living etc. Many of these stories have left me grieving moths after my project ended. I came to the conclusion that child labor, child trafficking and child prostitution are forms of child abuse that are inter-woven. We visited the shelter for victims of human trafficking in Benin. The Rev Sister in charge said that if Human trafficking was tackled the way we tackled Ebola we would have been able to put an end to the menace. "Children of the rich can not be trafficked but ebola can infect the children of the rich, that is why ebola was given immediate attention and eradicated while no one is concerned about child trafficking. " • Violence against Women: This continues to be the reality of women’s lives even today. It is an endemic problem that knows no national boundaries, no cultural boundaries, no class or caste boundaries and no religious boundaries. Violence against women continues to be perpetrated by men, by women, by trans-national actors and by the state. It continues unabated in situations of armed conflict, politics and in times of peace. It continues to takes place outside and inside the home. • Commercial Sex Work (Prostitution): Our task was to find a Commercial Sex Worker who would be willing to talk to us about the trade. After several attempts, a member from the Film crew negotiated and paid a 23 year old Commercial Sex Worker the sum of Five Thousand Naira (N5,000.00) just to be interviewed on her choice of profession. According to her, she said that she was a single-mother with a 3 year daughter. She was her sole responsibility to cater for the well-being of that child. The father of the child denied paternity at birth and has not being there for her nor his daughter. When asked if given another option what would she do? She said "aunty, I will stop this and start a business to send my daughter up to university." Does she face any hazards on the job and would she want her daughter to emulate her? She reeled out loads of on the job hazards and said it was the worst kind of job befitting of any woman. She would not wish for her enemy to experience her predicaments much less her daughter. • Human Trafficking: Our first point of call was to a victim who found her way to Nigeria after been trafficked to Italy under the pretense of gaining employment as a Chef. Her story was so pathetic. Her account "I was taken to visit the shrine where trafficked victims are made to swear oath of secrecy before being whisked to Italy. The rituals is compulsory and must be done. During the ritual process, hair from my pubic, armpit and head regions were shaved, nails and blood mixed together for me to drink. I hated swallowing concoction but I had no choice." The victim went further to show us her finger that was bitten by her"Madame" for failing to earn money for the night in Italy. She's now deformed in those 2 fingers. She was proud to show us her petty business that she runs to take care of her 5 children. She regrets ever leaving the country considering the untold hardships she experienced while in search for greener pastures. • Women's participation in politics: In Edo State, there is only 1 woman in the House of assembly. No single woman in the Edo state's House of Representative! "Women must work together to take their rightful position in the society. Men use all means to discourage women from politics. The common method is 12am meeting. How do you expect women leaders to leave their home at 12midnight?"The time is NOW. Women should use their numbers to speak in one voice to support any woman vying for the Presidency irrespective of party affiliation. It is do-able. • Person's living with Disabilities: Barrister Susan Ogbomo the Vice President of the NAPVID spoke to us on the merits and demerits of persons living with disabilities. In every disability, there's ability. Don't discriminate against or stigmatize a person living with any form of disability or challenge. SOTHAWACA is relocating to some Edo North villages to work on the mindsets of the masses educating them about the need to keep their children especially the girl-child in school. Enough of the ‪#‎girlchildtrafficking‬. ‪#‎educatethegirlchild‬ ‪#‎weepnomore‬

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Yvette Warren
Feb 10, 2015
Feb 10, 2015

The stories you relate about Nigeria are horrifying. I am at a loss to know what we women around the world can do to help, Ronkijo. Is there any unified effort to change the way things are in your country? 

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