Each year the Center for Women’s Global Leadership at Rutgers highlights sixteen women, men and organizations that standout in the fight against gender violence. Representing December 8th, is:
International Center for Reproductive Health and Sexual Rights (INCRESE)
An NGO Confronting Taboos
Cesnabmihilo Dorothy Aken’Ova
INCRESE was founded by Dorothy Aken’Ova, in 2000, in the northern part of Nigeria, an area generally noted as particularly conservative.
In the face of state and fundamentalist religious opposition, INCRESE courageously calls attention to lack of laws, policies, infrastructure and political will to address the reproductive and sexual health needs and rights of people in marginalized groups, and in particular, women and young people.
In its advocacy at local, regional and global levels, INCRESE focuses on rights of marginalized people, including sex workers, LGBT people and people with disabilities. In their fight to challenge and eliminate discrimination related to gender and sexuality, INCRESE members and supporters sometimes confront ‘taboos’ head on: the organization runs community workshops on unsafe abortion, teen pregnancy, rape and same sex sexuality – and sometimes does this ‘in secret’ to protect participants’ safety and confidentiality.
Cesnabmihilo Dorothy Aken’Ova presented a report recently in honor of Dr. Babatunde Ahonsi, wherein she stated:
[…In the Nigerian constitution, laws and policies, we still have provisions that counteract the noble and bold intentions and affirmation in sexual rights. The penal code provision that allows wife battering, the criminal and penal codes that provide sentences for women who seek abortion services, and service providers, the legal definition of rape and the elements for prosecution that make justice elusive to rape survivors, the policy on HIV/AIDS that lays the conditions prohibiting access to adolescents to VCTs unless there is parental consent, the laws that govern sexual and gender orientation, identities, and expression, including the sodomy laws, etc, are significant indicators to the poor understanding, denial of the affirmation of individual bodily (sexual) rights….]
ICRESE’S work is clear however, in the testimonies of male participants in the organization’s training program.
Sharia law came to Nigeria in around the year 2000. Struggles for women and the gender oppressed have increased significantly since then. This month arguments are being heard whether a woman should be presented to run in the state of Kwara. The Supreme Council for Shariah has stated this would be forbidden.
One wonders how this backwash of burgoning Shariah sentiment reflects onto the UN Blueberries assigned to monitor the environment in Sudan. In Nigeria is has played on a personal stage to Aken’Ova, who has battled to keep access to her son while promoting human rights.
Aken’Ova is not listed in Wikpedia
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