Experts said Friday that preventing sexual violence begins with what parents teach young children about girls’ sexual rights.
During a three-day training for journalists on women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights in Ibadan, experts said that changing men’s perceptions and attitudes towards girls starts with fathers.
The Nigerian News Agency (NAN) reports that the training was organized by IPAS, an international non-profit advocacy group, and focused on improving and expanding women’s sexual and reproductive rights.
An obstetrician-gynecologist, Dr. Steve Lemadoro, said that parents have a responsibility to raise children who will grow up to be men who respect and protect the sexual rights and dignity of women.
Lemadoro said it was time for parents to question how they were raising their child.
“What if they are being raised to be loving, trusting, and respectful men?
“Sexual violence is often the result of things that men do. We know this is largely a male thing.
“I ask parents what kind of children they are raising.
“Are you raising a child who respects the autonomy of women and knows that women must consent to whatever is done to their body?
“Are you raising a child who honors women and considers them to be of equal sex and who must be given all the opportunities they should have and supported all the time?
“When we begin to have a society in which children grow up and become men with these kinds of values, we will have less violence, less rape, less these kinds of challenges that we face right now.
“Many of the problems we were facing at this time stemmed from the fact that boys and men still viewed women as property they could own with no opinions on how they should be treated.
“We need to start raising boys to become men who respect women, honor women and respect that women have the right to their own body and the right to decide what to do with their bodies at all times,” he said.
Ms. Doris Ikepze, Policy and Advocacy Advisor, IPAS, also contributed, saying that sexual violence and assault was an insidious problem indicating the erosion of societal norms and values.
Ikepze, who praised the domestication of the Violence Against People Prohibition Act by some state governments, said there was a need to raise community awareness of women’s sexual rights.
According to her, rape has devastating long-term consequences not only for the victim but also for society as a whole.
She said thousands of unwanted pregnancies are the result of rapes each year, which subsequently often leads to unsafe abortions.
“Sexual violence can result in sexual satisfaction on the part of the perpetrator.
”Its underlying purpose is often the expression of power and dominance over the raped person.
“A high percentage of pregnancies resulting from sexual violence end in abortion,” he said. (YAYA)