Stakeholders in Lagos State have alerted children and parents to the dangers of sexual and gender-based violence, including all related forms of social and emotional abuse.
This call-to-action was unveiled at the inauguration of the Kings Club held on Wednesday in Lagos and facilitated by the Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency, with the theme, ‘Promoting positive masculinity.’
The DSVA was established to enhance victims’ safety by reducing sexual and gender-based violence to the barest minimum among others.
In his welcome address, the state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Moyosore Onigbanjo, who was represented by the ministry’s Director, Head of Directorate of Civil Litigation, Mr Saheed Quadri, warned against sexual and gender-based offences.
He said, “Recent statistics revealed that in the country as of today, one in eight boys would have experienced at least one violent encounter before the age of 18, and 61 per cent of the affected boys do not know where to seek services.
“Similarly, the majority of sexual and gender-based violence crimes are perpetrated by boys who grow up to be men.”
Delivering his keynote address, the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr Kadri Hamzat, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Education, Abayomi Abolaji, lamented cases of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence which, he said, were taking a toll on young minds as well as adults.
He said, “Violence is not gender-specific, it affects everybody, either in the classroom or on the playground.”
“So this Kings Club initiative is part of s intervention to prevent youths from exposure to negative psychosocial habits which may have a lousy impact on their innocent and impressionable minds.”
Hamzat urged parents and the general public to desist from body-shaming, while encouraging victims to “speak up, by reporting to the necessary authority for assistance.
The Executive Secretary of DSVA, Mrs Titilola Vivour-Adeniyi, while addressing the inducted 161 boys from various education districts in the state, maintained that the best way to address this “shadow pandemic” of social violence largely perpetrated by the men folk is to “catch them young.”