A Professor of Sociology at the University of Lagos, Olufunlayo O. Bammeke has advocated the urgent need for government to review existing laws and abrogate those which permit the abuse of women and children under any guise to prevent a tacit approval for violence against women and children.
She gave the admonition while delivering the 15th Inaugural Lecture of the institution in the 2021/2022 Academic Session at the J. F. Ade-Ajayi Auditorium on Wednesday, April 5, 2023.
In a jam-packed auditorium, Professor Bammeke gave insightful and well-articulated points on the lecture titled: “The Public in the Private”.
She demonstrated that perceived ‘private troubles’ in the lives of people are connected with wider social issues in their society. According to her, the topic refers to an adaptation of C. Wright Mill’s distinction between personal troubles and public issues as posted in his remarkable book “The Sociological Imagination”.
Professor Bammeke, to this end employed ‘Sociological Imagination’ to establish that although gender-based violence happens in the private sphere, it is connected with issues of inequality in the larger society. She pointed out that rather than be a private problem, gender-based violence is a public issue generating and deserving public concern.
The Gender advocate further explained the forms and types of gender-based violence, its ubiquitous nature, and its overlap with domestic and family violence. She described the cycle of violence, and the implications of gender-based violence for the physical, psychological, and reproductive health of survivors; illustrating that it is both a human rights and public health issue. Although, she posited that it disproportionately affects women and girls because of their historical disadvantage and it is experienced by men.
The Inaugural lecturer warned that the rising incidence of gender-based violence sounds like the death knell to cherished values and practices in the Nigerian society, and the loss of trust in families. She, therefore, called for the reawakening of the collective conscience.
According to her, gender-based violence hinders the performance of the productive and reproductive roles of women and it is a major impediment to the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals, especially Goal Number 5 which seeks to ‘‘achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls’’.
The Inaugural lecturer made several recommendations targeted at the government, parents/families, the society as well as professionals, and survivors. In the same vein, she called for legislation which explicitly protects all persons from gender-based violence and stipulates punishment for offenders.
She also stressed the need for the strengthening of the family institution and the training of key officers of faith-based institutions as well as other professionals rendering services to survivors of gender-based violence.
The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Folasade Ogunsola, FAS, who was represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, (Development Services) Professor Ayodele Atsenuwa presided over the lecture which was well attended by colleagues, students, former students, mentees, friends, and family of the Inaugural Lecturer.
Family, friends, and mentors of the Inaugural Lecturer, as well as colleagues from across the university, were also present.
Professor Bammeke joined the services of the University of Lagos in 1996 as a Graduate Assistant at the Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences, and rose to the rank of a Professor in 2017.