A group, Women Aid Collective (WACOL) in collaboration with Ford Foundation, yesterday, advocated for stiffer punishment for crimes affecting the women and children such as rape, defilement and domestic violence.
The group made the call in its communique issued at the end of a one-day multi-stakeholder conference on changing cultural norms and practices that promote violence against women and girls (VAWG).
The conference was convened by WomenAid Collective (WACOL) in partnership with Ford Foundation (FF) held in Benin City.
The communique was signed by Mrs E. I. Onariase Eunice Ighoda, Director of Community Developments, Ministry of Local Government and Community, Edo State, Mrs Osatohanmwen Ekhator, Ministry of Social Development and Gender Issues, Edo State and three others.
In the communique, the group condemned all forms of Violence against Women and Girls in Edo State and committed to the empowerment of Women and Girls;
According to the group, we are committed to advocacy to the traditional institutions asking for the codification of cultural practices or norms in tandem with extant laws that will protect women and girls which include harmful widowhood practices;
They, however, resolved to take intentional steps to sensitize the vulnerable groups on speaking out and seeking justice in cases of harmful practices.
They listed some of the harmful practices to include Early/Child/Forced Marriage, Female Genital Mutilation/Circumcision (FGM/C) and Trafficking in persons etc;
“That we resolve to creating awareness among the populace on the dangers of discriminatory socialization which dignifies the male children against the female children”
“To implore all categories of traditional institutions including the community women leaders to take proactive measures to pass these messages to the local communities;
“That we include advocacy for communities to include the naming and shaming and documentation of perpetrators of sexual offences particularly paedophiles and child defilers;
“That we include advocacy to review laws and apply stiffer punishment for crimes affecting the women and children such as rape, defilement, domestic violence”, she said.
Participants further acknowledged the initiative of WomenAid Collective (WACOL), the support of Ford Foundation (FF) and urged WACOL to facilitate the continued engagement to rid Edo State of all forms of Violence against Women and Girls.