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Teenagers march against gender based violence, resolve to speak out


Some teenagers in Enugu State have resolved to speak out against any form of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) meted out on them.

The teenagers made the resolution in Enugu on Tuesday during a rally hosted by two teens, Miss Ifeoma Atuonwu and Miss Ijeamaka Ikeyi as part of efforts to curb SGBV in the country.

The duo said that they embarked on the awareness campaign tagged `Our Youth will Scream in Fear No More’ to encourage teenagers to speak out whenever they were abused sexually or faced any other form of violence.

According to Atuonwu:

“My friend and I decided to host this event before resumption of schools to encourage us to speak out whenever we were abused or bullied at home or in school.

“We teenagers are vulnerable to SGBV especially rape so we decided to mobilise some teenagers to sensitise them to speak out because that is one of the best ways to tackle it,’’ she said.

Ikeyi, in her remarks, noted that most of the violence against teenagers especially sexual abuse was done by some family friends and relatives or domestic servants.

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She noted that when such things happened, teenagers were compelled not to speak out for fear of stigmatization adding that they resolved to speak out and faced the consequences.

The guest speaker and broadcaster, Ms Ifeoma Ajumobi urged the teenagers to learn to say no when they were uncomfortable with some people.

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Ajumobi also known as Deejay Melody, encouraged the adolescents to shun bad companies and engage in useful ventures for their future endeavours.

Another Speaker, Ms Munachi Oji, also urged the teenagers to report any act of violence to their parents, teachers, Non-Governmental Organisations or security agencies in their neighbourhood for prompt action.

Oji appealed to parents not to gag their children from speaking out against violence saying that it could lead to depression and even suicide.

Some parents who spoke at the event commended the teenagers for organizing the event and pledged to protect them from any form of violence.

A parent and educationist, Mrs Ijeoma Nnaji urged the children to build their self-confidence and esteem advising them not to walk in secluded places alone but should move in groups.

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Nnaji also advised mothers to allow their teenage children to attend skill acquisition programmes rather than taking them to parties, beaches and pleasure trips abroad.

Other parents including Mrs Nneka Ikeyi and Mrs Maureen Atuonwu urged the children not to be afraid to say no or report such cases to their parents especially mothers.

“We will always be there for you, just speak out and leave the rest for us,’’ they said.

No fewer than 120 teenagers drawn from different schools in the state attended the event in compliance with the COVID-19 protocols.