The MANHOOD Mandate: Stopping violence against women
” I do know that one good man can create many more. One good man can inspire other men to ache for women, to fight for them and protect them. One good man can win the trust of a community of raped (and battered) women—and in doing so, keep their faith in humanity alive”
Those words by Eve Ensler, founder and artistic director of V-Day , the global movement to end violence against women and girls paint the picture we see as far as the MANHOOD Campaign is concerned. MANHOOD is about men taking responsibility for ending all forms of violence against women-by “speaking out” and “acting up” to create a world where women can feel safe to dream and watch even their wildest dreams materialise.
A woman living in fear and abuse cannot raise emotionally healthy children. And we know that women and girls have been the targets of several male predators -armed robbers, soldiers on peace keeping missions, randy bosses and university teachers, serial rapists and murderers, uncouth comedians and music video producers and musicians, impish landlords and feral pastors. The list is endless.
Violence against women and girls is a major human rights and public health concern globally. “In every country where reliable, large-scale studies have been conducted, between 10 and 69 per cent of women report they have been physically abused by an intimate partner in their lifetime”, so says a 2006 report released by UNIFEM on VAW.
The UNIFEM report also showed that 12 to 25 per cent of women in most population have experienced attempted or completed forced sex by an intimate partner or ex-partner at some time in their lives .
Amnesty International in a 2006 report titled Rape: The Silent Weapon exposed disturbing cases of rape and other forms of sexual violation of women by men of the Nigerian army, Police and other uniform groups in Nigeria. The report particularly captured the plights of women in the Niger Delta areas where the military have been drafted in the past to quell communal crisis.
“I was raped by three army men. They carried guns and they had uniforms. They kicked in the door and one man shouted to me ‘if you move, I’ll move you’, as he hit me in the face. He threw me on the bed and raped me”. That was Grace, an Ogoni human rights defender , narrating to Amnesty International how soldiers sent to quell the uprising in Ogoni gang-raped her.
The Amnesty International report also contained tales of how Police officers often sexually abuse female commercial sex workers arrested during frequent raids on brothels as well as the experiences of raped female detainees.Just like in other parts of the world, Nigerian women are at the receiving end of violence attacks carried out by the same men who claimed to love, care and cherish them or even those who are supposed to protect them like in the case of law enforcement agents. Some have been maimed by acid baths poured on them by estranged male lovers.
A plethora of feminist and women-led advocacy groups have risen to challenge these anomalies. Most of them have spoken from the women perspective to challenge what is unarguably a male-induced epidemic. While there is a need to support this strong pool of female voices speaking up against VAW, there should be a corresponding “male orchestra” synchronising and reinforcing the strength of this sound coming from the women advocates. That is what MANHOOD is expected to do.
A male-led campaign therefore, such as MANHOOD would provide a vibrant and additional opportunity for addressing the menace of VAW from the perspective of men-the people largely responsible for the problem. MANHOOD would see men talking to men and challenging themselves openly to stop violence against women while accepting responsibility for empowering women to say No to all forms of violence and harassment.
Surely, MANHOOD is a vow by men to stop violence against women.
And you are welcome on board.
The Advisory Board
- Oliver Ezechi,PhD. Ezechi is current Deputy Director of Research, Nigerian Institute of Medical Research(NIMR). Ezechi is a consultant gynaecologist and obstetrician and an AIDS clinician with specialisation in prevention of mother to child transmission. Ezechi pioneered the PEP (post exposure prophylaxis) Clinic which catered especially to the need of rape survivors in Lagos. Ezechi has delivered papers on the impact of abuse and violence against women during pregnancy.
- Declan Okpalaeke. Okpalaeke is a Knight International Journalism Fellow who is Chair of of Africa’s first Pan-African health journalists’ organization, the African Health Journalists Association. He is a three-time winner of CNN’s African Journalist of the Year Award for his coverage of health, science and environment, and sports in Nigeria. Declan has worked as a top editor at several Nigerian publications, including Tell magazine, Insider Weekly, and News Digest International, a monthly human-interest magazine. In 2004, he was awarded a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University.
- Kate Ibeanusi. Kate trained as an anthropologist and spent over seven years working as a women and girls rights advocate in Nigeria. She has provided a wide range of services to abused women and young girls in need of access to justice, medical care and rehabilitation while working with Project Alert on Violence Against Women. In recognition of her efforts at addressing issues of Gender-Based Violence with specific interest on women, girls and children, she was honoured with the Katherine Fleming International Development Award in 2014 at the Coady Institute. After leaving Project Alert Kate, worked as Assistant Director, Institutional Support with PRAWA-an organisation that promotes institutional reforms for access to justice, rehabilitation and social development of prisoners, ex-prisoners, torture victims and youths at risk..
- Bode-Law Falemiyu. Bode-law is Staff Obstetrician and Gynecologist, Chevron Hospital Warri, Delta State, Nigeria. Dr. Faleyimu is an expert on international maternal healthcare, a prominent member of numerous prestigious medical associations, and an award-winning author, research Fellow.
- Charlene Smith.Ms. Smith is a writer, media consultant and trauma counsellor. She’s written for several top South African and international newspapers and magazines. Charlene is an author of over 10 books, including the Best selling “Proud of Me” a book that recounts Charlene’s experience as a rape survivor.
- Lekan Otufodunrin. Otufodunrin is Online Editor at The Nation newspapers. A veteran journalists, media trainer and mentor, Lekan is the founder of Journalists for Christ the organization for Christians in the media and Media Career Services. Before joining The Nation, he was Group News Editor and later Group Political Editor at The Punch Newspapers.
- Ernest Ekong. Ekong is an AIDS/Infectious Diseases Specialist and Consultant Public Health Physician. He was Chief Clinical Officer of the Harvard School of Public Health US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) project, known as APIN Plus. A microbicides and AIDS Vaccine research advocate, Ekong is currently on the steering committee of the Nigeria HIV Vaccine Microbicides Advocacy Group(NHVMAG).
- Kingsley Obom-Egbulem. Kingsley is Founder/Advocacy Director of the MANHOOD Campaign which is a project of HCDI. A journalist,media strategist,advocacy and communication specialist Kingsley also serves as Creative Director, Health Communication and Development Initiative(HCDI)- an organization that maximizes the power of strategic communication for health promotion and advocacy.He is also the Publisher/ Editor-In-Chief,MANHOOD Magazine-a niched magazine that addresses issues of sexism,masculinity and gender based violence. Before founding HCDI/MANHOOD, Kingsley was Head of Research and Communication at Journalists Against AIDS (JAAIDS)Nigeria where he provided leadership in the design of a research-based communication strategy needed to keep HIV/AIDS and TB issues in the news.In May 2009 in Geneva, Switzerland,Kingsley was admitted as a member of the World Health Editors Network(WHEN) and an associate of the World Health Communications Associates (WHCA).Earlier in 2006,he was honoured with the Ambassador for Peace Award by the Inter-religious and International Federation for World Peace and the Universal Peace Federation.
- Ese Ajuyah. Ese is a graduate of Publication Administration and currently works as Programmes and Communication Support Officer for HCDI/MANHOOD. Before joining HCDI and the MANHOOD Campaign,Ese had worked on child sexual abuse prevention and counselling as well as legal representation for families of sexually abused children. She is advocate for safe communities for women and children and had been involved in research and community outreaches targeting vulnerable children and women.