The Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre has appealed to religious leaders in the country to join the fight against all forms of violence against women and girls.
This was stated at a capacity building workshop for women rights’ defenders on Tuesday.
The guest speaker, Dr Princess Olufemi-Kayode, said religious leaders could raise awareness about domestic violence.
She said, “Sexual and gender-based violence remains a grave issue throughout Nigeria and this is due, in large part, to the fact that religious institutions, often the sole places of refuge and support services for women and girls, tend to stress loyalty to the family, even in the face of violence that may occur in the home.
“As a result, violence against women frequently goes unreported and religious institutions do not meet their duty of providing support to the victims and changing behaviour among perpetrators.
“As religions around the world speak to the inherent sacredness of human life, religious leaders and their communities have the moral authority to raise awareness about sexual and gender-based violence and moral responsibility to prevent violence, provide support and care and strive to transform societal or religious norms and practices that perpetuate sexual and gender-based violence.”
According to the Executive Director of WARDC, Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, religious leaders are influential in shaping attitudes and practices, hence the need to communicate effectively with them to end violence against women and girls and other harmful practices.