Iban Ifiok stands against gender-based violence. Gender-based violence (GBV) undermines the health, dignity, security, and autonomy of its victims, yet it remains shrouded in a culture of silence (United Nations Population Fund). GBV is a public health issue and a rising concern in countries across the globe, especially in Nigeria. In June 2020, Nigeria declared a state of emergency over the increasing rise of rape and violence against women and girls. While hashtags such as #SayNoToRape and #JusticeforUwa have raised awareness on this important issue, adolescent girls must feel empowered enough to say no to gender-based violence. To ensure this, we curated an event entitled, Embracing Our Power, tailored to educating young women about GBV and the need to dismantle rape culture in society. Embracing Our Power, was an impactful and free 3-day workshop that equipped girls, ages 12-18 years old, in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State with the necessary tools to combat GBV in their respective communities.
On Day 1, workshop attendees learned about GBV, recent cases of GBV in Nigeria. They also participated in health talk and were educated on menstrual hygiene and the dangers of unprotected sex. On Day 2, attendees were enlightened on rape culture, the role society plays in perpetuating this phenomenon, consent, and the importance of being active bystanders when witnessing GBV. Our guest speaker, Dr. Eka Ukpe, R.N., R.M. explained that victim-blaming and shaming rob women of “their dignity and self-esteem”. She emphasized the importance of our young queens expressing empathy and compassion when interacting with those who have suffered from any form of gender-based violence. One Day 3, gold medalist and judoka instructor, Coach Catherine Ewa Ekuta, taught our queens self-defense techniques. A certificate of completion was given to those who attended all three days.
Iban Ifiok aims to empower all young women and encourage them to be the change that they want to see in their communities. We encourage our queens to embrace their power by being proactive, vocal, and well-informed. Educating about rape culture creates a safe space amongst peers, thus ensuring that victims have a support system in the unfortunate occurrence of violence.
*If you feel you have experienced sexual violence, do not be afraid to speak up. You are a survivor. If you need to report a case of GBV, please call our hotline at 08137976271. We will refer you to the right people.