Women at Risk International Foundation (WARIF), a non-profit organization established to prevent and intervene in the prevalence of sexual violence/rape, has today announced a new initiative called the WARIF Boys Conversation Cafe. This initiative is designed to educate young boys between the ages of 12-16, on the prevalence of sexual violence in Nigeria and aims to change the attitudes, perception and behavioral pattern that exist amongst a young group of boys, towards gender inequality and sexual violence against women.
The WARIF Boys Conversation Café will run a series of sessions with cohort groups of secondary school boys, where vetted male volunteers will be recruited from different organizations to serve as mentor’s /role models at these café sessions. On the issue of sexual-based violence in Nigeria, there are no existing curriculums in schools and elsewhere that directly address these topics for boys. These conversations will highlight already existing issues and the potential for violence against women that subsequently occurs as these boys reach adulthood.
Dr. DaSilva- Ibru, Founder of WARIF speaking about the initiative said “We spend most of our time discussing how many women are raped in a community, how many school girls are harassed or whether or not consent was given and not enough time asking how many men rape women in that community and how many schoolboys harass young girls and how many screaming ‘nos’ are ignored. ‘Let’s shift the attention from educating girls and women on the prevention of sexual violence and rape and how to protect themselves, to teaching boys and men about positive masculinity and standing up for women and changing their mindsets so we prevent them from becoming perpetrators in the future.
The goal at WARIF is to have a society free of rape and sexual violence, and a vital part of this process involves education of young boys. A society where boys are raised to become men who understand that sexual violence should not and cannot be tolerated is one we must all fight for. WARIF is also encouraging a call to action for everyone to raise their voices against rape and sexual violence of young girls and women in Nigeria and Africa, by carefully sensitizing boys about the topic as well. All parents, teachers and care givers should ensure that they teach their sons /wards about appropriate sexual behavior, and the impact it has on the community.
WARIF currently runs several initiatives such as the WARIF Centre, WARIF Educational School program, WARIF Know your Community, WARIF Gatekeepers Initiative and the WARIF through the Arts Initiative.
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