AS part of efforts aimed at campaigning against gender-based violence, Heinrich Boll Stiftung, a German-based foundation with office in Nigeria, has launched a ‘sing against violence’ album, with four Nigerian A-list artistes featured, singing and calling for stoppage of violence against women.
On hand to witness the launch in Lagos recently were not just the artistes who featured in the album but also Nollywood community members who attended in large numbers. Many of the artistes at the event included Zack Orji and Segun Arinze among others, who lent their support, calling for the stoppage of violence against women by men.
Project Manager, Women’s Right of the foundation, Azeenarh Mohammed said that it was important to begin to take concerted efforts to curb violence against women due to the increasing cases of occurrence against women.
Speaking on the choice of songs as tools for the campaign, she said, “It is very important that musicians are bringing up these issues and everybody gets to play the songs in their houses, so that the woman who thinks that there is nothing she could do, but move out, and it is an option for her to move out.
“Everybody plays music; it does not matter whether you are rich or poor, you live in the village or urban city, you are going to play music; you are going to start thinking for yourself and hopefully, you reach that stage where you realise that staying with that man who is beating you is not the only option”.
Also speaking on the project, the Nigeria Director of the foundation, Christine K said that although the foundation has been working in Nigeria in the last 10 years and has been looking at a lot of women issues, it has not worked with musicians before.
According to her, the album was recorded and produced to raise awareness about gender-based violence and build women’s self-esteem and inner strength to their feelings in order to help them identify clearly their expectations in relationships.
She said further, “We have done many policy works and I think policy works are still very important. We have worked with NGOs, who are getting the right legislation to protect women against violence in Nigeria. And we saw the need to go public with four songs as we are doing with this campaign. We felt it will also be helping matters because songs are very expressive in terms of what a woman can do if her partner or her husband is beating or abusing her and the songs are very encouraging.
“The songs by Waje and Omowunmi especially, really encourage woman to get out of a violent relationship and there is always something you can do. You can go to report to the police or NGO.
The songs by MI and Eldee really talk to men that they need to protect their women, girlfriends or wives as if they are their mothers and treat them like ladies”.
The director was optimistic that by spreading the message to a wider public through songs, there would be greater impact.
“There are a lot of men who think it is correct to beat a woman and there are a lot of women who believe it is correct to be beaten by a man. I do not know if that is the original culture of Nigeria but I think some cultures change. Before, people used to do away with twins, but you do not do that again. So culture changes over time and I think it is time this culture changes if it is one.”
Aituaje Iruobe alias Waje, one of the artistes who featured in the album, disclosed that she decided to be part of the campaign because of the growing increase in violence against women, saying, “When we were growing up, it was not something common; men did it once in a while but now everybody seems comfortable with it. When you hear a man beats or slaps his wife, some people think it is carrying a cane and spanking the child. A woman is an adult; she is responsible for her actions; she is somebody that has been created by God and if you respect God’s creation, you will not go about hitting her and think you can get away with it”.
Waje said overtime she had talked to a lot of young people and many think it is the right thing to do, feeling that their boyfriends beat them because he loves them, noting, “You did not give birth to her so you are not in the position to train her or teach her a lesson on how to behave. As human beings, we have ears to listen and understand. If you correct someone, it is different. If someone upsets you, even if it is something that is so bad that you think you cannot forgive, you have the law and different bodies that can handle such issues. So it is not enough to go hitting someone. At the end of the day, the result can really be disastrous”.
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