Adventist Women Speak Out on Gender-Based Violence

West-Central Africa Division

Adventist Women Speak Out on Gender-Based Violence

Enditnow Emphasis Day in Northern Nigeria

Northern Nigeria | Ezinwa Alozie, Communication Director, Northern Nigeria Union Conference

Human society is fraught with so many challenges, which are mostly man-made. Central to the issues threatening the fabric of human society is violence—violence against men, women, and children.

To bring an end to the issues of abuse and violence has been a major concern for the Women's Ministries Department of the Seventh-day Adventist Church worldwide.

This is said to have necessitated the enditnow initiative, launched in October 2009 by the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in partnership with Adventist Women's Ministries to create awareness and share solutions on ways to end all manners of violence and abuse around the world.

When boundaries are crossed, someone always gets hurt.

This year, the 2022 edition of Enditnow Emphasis Day, held August 27, centered on abuse of power. As such, millions of Adventist women all over the world raised their voices to say no to abuse of power.

[Credit - Ezinwa Alozie]
[Credit - Ezinwa Alozie]

In the city of Abuja, the capital of Nigeria, the message was loud and clear as the women leaders of Seventh-day Adventist churches at their various locations coordinated the participants to undertake a peaceful march to say no to abuse of power and violence against men, women, and children. Their placards, with various inscriptions, communicated the desired messages to the public and onlookers.

It was well amplified as the youth band provided the rhythmic tunes for the peaceful march against violence. News Agency of Nigeria, Radio Nigeria, and other independent media organizations were on hand to give it the needed media coverage.

The women leaders took turns to express their feelings towards the need to end abuse and violence against women, men, and children. Labara Okah, Women's Ministries director for the North Central Nigeria Conference (part of the Northern Nigeria Union), urged women, men, and children to always speak out.

Additionally, Okah called on the Nigerian government to help address the root causes of gender-based violence as well as check the impunity that often goes with the scourge, implementing policies and enacting laws for a stronger national response that can support victims and survivors of violence.

Another leader, Chibuenyim Munachim, of the Seventh-day Adventist Central Church in Abuja, called on pastors, imams, teachers, lawyers, doctors, health professionals, social scientists, economists, public health specialists, gender specialists, statisticians—everybody from all spheres of life—to say no to abuse of power and violence.

[Credit - Ezinwa Alozie]
[Credit - Ezinwa Alozie]

"Be it at home, school, or workplace, managing power without abuse is the true test of character and leadership; hence, I encourage those in positions of power to lead right with the fear of God and not abuse the power entrusted in them," Munachim exclaimed. She equally appealed to young people to shun violence and embrace peace at all times, reminding those in positions of authority that youth inclusivity is key to achieving a sustainable future.

Jane Abraham, of the Asokoro Seventh-day Adventist Church in Abuja, decried the rate of abuses and violence in many homes and workplaces, adding that it will continue to impede sustainable development in society if nothing is being done to nip it in the bud.

For Chinyere Elebesunu, violence against women is a human rights issue that extremely hinders women and girls in contributing to national development.

According to Elebesunu, many cases of violence against women in Nigeria were influenced by financial factors, ranging from husbands preventing their wives from working or denying them funds for necessities such as children’s school fees, health services, and even food.

However, Elebesunu advised women to spend prudently and avoid distrust that leads to fights and abuses. She also urged women to seek additional knowledge and acquire skills to assist in the home, adding that they should not forget the welfare of their children and advising them to train their children in a “godly way they won’t depart from for a better society.”

The occasion afforded the women the opportunity to distribute thousands of pieces of Bible-based literature, such as Steps to Christ and The True Church, among others.

As the women interceded for the victims of power abuse and domestic violence in Nigeria and the world at large, one remarkable takeaway from the 2022 enditnow emphasis day is the fact that the fragrance of beauty can endure all around when there is love at home. Home is where the story of nationhood begins. As such, a violence-free home breeds a peaceful, progressive society. Say NO to violence and abuse of power. End it now!