The Honourable Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Mrs. Cecilia Bolaji Dada, has called on Civil Society Groups and Journalists to respect the dignity of Gender-Based Violence Survivors when reporting their traumatic experiences.

Mrs. Dada made the call at a five-day programme organised by Spotlight Initiative, in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, Lagos State Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation and the Centre for Communication and Social Impact for Civil Society Groups, as well as Journalists from various media organisations, at the Presken Hotel Ikeja.

She emphasised the need to consider survivors of Gender-Based Violence (GBV), Child Marriages, Teenage Pregnancies and Female Genital Mutilation as victims who require social interventions, through professional reportage, imploring participants to become communicators of behavioural change in eradicating the societal ills induced by all forms of GBV.

The Commissioner, who was represented at the event by the Head of Domestic Unit, WAPA, Ms. Toyin Olorunfemi, said “We are here to deliberate as key stakeholders who will help use professionalism as a tool of reportage, especially when recounting survivors’ true experiences of GBV without holding victims in derision”.

“This forum is another public enlightenment campaign, considering that Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Governor of Lagos State, who as the key champion against all kinds of violence in the State will not condone any form of violence. Thus, there is a need to make ample use of the available media space to kick against this societal ill”, Dada added.

In her address, the Minister for Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, who was represented by the Supervisor on Gender-Based Violence in the Federal Ministry, Mrs. Nze Ebi, stated that for the eradication of Gender-Based Violence, the integral part of data collation needs succinct communication as a change tool that is used by core professionals.

A Social and Behaviour Change Consultant, Mrs. Bukola Ahonsi, enjoined participants at the occasion to stimulate survival led campaigns as instruments of change for those who have experienced any form of GBV.In his remarks, Mr. Olatunji Ololade, a facilitator/veteran journalist at the workshop, urged that survivors’ interest should be paramount in all reportage since careless handling of their predicaments could heighten the emotions associated with such traumatic experience.

His words: “We, journalists, are advocates of great change against Gender-Based Violence, hence, we must prioritise survivors’ interest at all times, even as we avoid courtier journalism, which has become a norm of reportage under very unethical practice and quite noticeable amongst those who report episodes of GBV, through most social media handles”.

“Stereotype reportage that gives full details of survivors should be stopped as this is inhumane and impedes proper recuperation of such traumatic experiences. Rather, the trend should be to protect the survivor at all cost, enhance her recovery and encourage others too to speak up towards curbing the menace in our society”.

Spotlight Initiative is a global multi-year partnership between the European Union and the United Nations to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls across the world.