Titi is the executive director of Centre for 21st Century Issues (C21st) and the coordinator of Lagos State Gender Advocacy Team (LASAGAT). She is a lawyer, gender expert and researcher working on policy development around international women’s rights.
As a victim of domestic violence, I became a lawyer so I could help other victims receive the justice they deserve.
Through my work as a lawyer and gender expert in Nigeria, I see how gender-based violence is destroying family cohesion and peace in my community. Patterns of this violence have resulted in psychological problems for children and negatively impact their performance in school. It erodes their confidence, limits their life chances and affects their potential to contribute to the development of the country.
My organization’s approach is unique in that we work in collaboration with governments, civil society organizations, care givers and private sector players to address the problem. We recognize that one organization working in isolation cannot achieve much. Thus we have formed partnerships to address gender-based violence in a focused manner. By leveraging the strengths of individual organizations we can deliver accessible support services to victims of violence. We produced a directory with information about all the organizations providing support services for domestic violence victims in Lagos and distributed it throughout Lagos.
Launching the directory of organizations and institutions providing support for victims of Domestic Violence in Lagos State.
We also try to engage different community based groups such as artisans, hairdressers, traders, women’s groups and laborers to address the root causes of gender-based violence. These people are the unheard voices who experience violence on daily basis. Their voices have been muted by a culture of silence and been unable to contribute to finding solutions to the problem. The crux of our approach lies in a robust awareness raising program called the “Week of Action Against Domestic Violence” that we led in Lagos. This awareness campaign was the first of its kind in Nigeria.
One of the other major breakthroughs we’ve had was setting up of the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Response Team in Lagos with the office of the Attorney General. Through advocacy visits to the Lagos State House of Assembly, Ministry of Women Affairs, Trade Association and chief judge of Lagos state we were able to create a holistic response team. Part of this breakthrough included reaching out to and engaging men. The majority of the Trade Association in Nigeria is made up of men. By working with them to create the response team, we were able to pass along important GBV information to a larger network of men in the community.
Though we have made great progress in our local communities in Nigeria, it is time for the international community take part. We all need to join hands and form partnerships with relevant stakeholders, governments in particular.
By working together we can put in place effective preventive mechanisms to protect the bodily integrity of both women and men and ensure that gender-based violence is reduced worldwide.
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