At a Public Lecture held at Federal Polytechnic, Ede on the 13th of June, 2018, Gender Mobile took a stand against Gender-Based Violence, GBV, frowned at its level of pervasiveness, as well as the culture of silence which has trailed GBV over the years.
Gender Mobile is a non-for profit organization that focuses on leveraging on technology to address gender-related issues, and raise the bar in the fight against violence emanating from gender bias.
In a 14 paged address that detailed cases of gender-based violence, it challenges, and root causes, Boladale Makpayi, a Consultant Psychiatrist and Senior Lecturer, Obafemi Awolowo University, who doubled as the keynote speaker, stressed on the role of the students and other stakeholders in combatting the societal ill of sexual and gender violence which has plagued our society, with ripple effects on children within such society.
Given that the culture of silence negates the effective prosecution of perpetrators, she charged ladies, who are usually at the receiving end of this anomaly, to speak up, and protect themselves from harm.
This is because “it is our responsibility to help people stay away from harmful places which can cause problems”, Makpayi told the crowd.
She also stated that the rules of evidence in relation to sexual violence can worsen the trauma of GBV survivors.
“For instance, Article 138 (3) of the Evidence Act places the burden of proof exclusively on the survivors, not the perpetrators, as it requires for the survivors to prove beyond reasonable doubt that they did not give consent. There is need therefore to learn from global developments that is changing the burden of proof from the victim to the perpetrator. Another challenging condition for prosecution of rape is requirement of medical evidence of penetration and injury yet per forensic experts, not all rapes show medical evidences of injury.
“Some survivors of domestic violence have in many occasions experienced denial of medical attention because of the requirement of police report or police presence before any treatment is administered. Although this provision of the Law has been overturned by events, most recently by a policy directive requiring medical personnel to prioritise the saving of lives, the practice has not stopped,” she said while educating her audience.
She however concludes that the failings of the law make successful prosecutions difficult even where a survivor of GBV has taken the case to court.
The students who made up a larger chunk of the crowd, had the opportunity to ask and get answers to questions bothering on experiences pertaining to gender-based violence.
The founder and project head of Gender Mobile, Omowunmi Ogunrotimi reiterated the vision of the organisation to continue to provide sensitization, awareness and help to prevent and remedy cases related to gender-based issues.
The program which was held at the Olagunsoye Oyinlola Hall, in partnership with the Students Union Government of the institution, was attended by a retinue of important high-profile personalities who made up the representatives of Latifat Abiodun Giwa, Honourable Commissioner for Women and Children Affairs, Osun State, and various Civil Society Organisations.