As part of its campaign to mark the 2009 “16 Days against Gender Based Violence” campaign, the BAOBAB team with its network of “Men against Violence against Women” in the lead, took the advocacy to the streets! While in a particular popular area of Lagos known for its busy commercial bus activities-called ‘Oshodi’, the team shared anti-gender based violence messages with the crowd – heightened with the aid of their traditional talking drums! ‘Ohhh’ was the almost unsaid expression on their faces as they appreciated the fact that men are now in the fore-front of advocating the end of violence against women. And…guess what? The BAOBAB led network of men ran out of the IEC anti gender-based materials as the demand for them was so overwhelming! However, this ‘minor crisis’ of IEC material shortage did not deter the team, who carried on with their verbal messages and talking drums. The team captured some of the comments by the men on the streets:
“I believe women also have rights. Men should give their wives respect and their rights should be given to them”
“A sensible man should know that he must take good care of his wife.”
“There must be love between a man and a woman, love is an accord anchored in man and woman before becoming one as a union. Love is essential. If my wife upsets me, first thing to do is to calm down. Even the bible says “both of you are helpmates, so one is not a slave for another. I believe my wife is my sister and if she did something wrong, I should be able to correct her not beat her.”
But –someone else thinks differently:
“No no no no, I don't agree with you people. What if a woman slaps me, I'm talking from experience. No no no, I don't agree with you people... (he started narrating a story)
The team on the street observed that women were highly appreciative of the fact that men were committed to ending violence against women. Then -there was the Drama! The street theatre was very strategic and enabled the public to engage directly in a conversation on issues highlighted –such as sexual harassment of girls by Commercial bus drivers (hmm-that rang a bell with most), as well as domestic violence and other forms of violence. It was also a great opportunity for the BAOBAB team to inform and/or remind the public that, Hei -“We now have a law against Domestic Violence in Lagos State and any perpetrator will be punished!” View the photos of the campaign below!