Nigeria: Group Explores Salsa to Fight Gender Violence, Rape

A field visit during the Global Gender Summit in Kigali.
26 November 2019

Global Rights on Monday organised a dancing event tagged #dancingwithconsent aimed at calling attention to the scourge of violence against women and rape.

It was an evening of dance drama, spoken word presentation, discussions on sexual violence and open dance session.

The event, which was organised in partnership with the Abuja Salsa Community, used dance to highlight the menace of rape and violence against women.

The event is part of its #16DaysofActivism which served as part of celebrations to mark its 40-year anniversary.

The organisers said #16DaysofActivism, which began on Monday with this year's theme "Generation Equality Stand Against Rape", "speaks directly to both sexes becoming allies in the fight against sexual and gender based violence."

The organisers also said the event was put together to enlighten Nigerians that violence against women goes beyond sexual harassment and includes discarding basic etiquette even in the largely harmless terrain of dancing.

Michael Umoh, managing partner of Salsa Abuja, in his opening remarks, said forcing women to dance and even 'going beyond boundaries' in the process of dancing could be termed as violence against women.

He said the 'dancing with consent' event was put together to teach participants the basic rules to observe even in the harmless process of dancing with partners.

Highlights of the event included the screening of 'Touch me in the heart' by Poet Dike Chukuwumerije, which focuses on the ills of rising sexual and emotional violence in relationships.

There were also short dramatic sessions that thematically tackled the issue of violence against women, domestic violence and even harassment in the innocuous dancing process.

There were also 'ice breaker' and vox pop sessions where the audience deliberated with the organisers on the theme of the event.

Event thrust

Amaka Obi, Global Rights communication officer explained the rationale behind the event.

"We decided to explore the subject of sexual harassment and consent in its less spoken forms. By exploring the concept of sexual harassment in dance and other social settings, we intend to spark a conversation about respecting people's boundaries and consent, amongst others," she said. "The #DancingWithConsent serves as our flag off campaign for this years #16DaysofActivism."

"I hope we will all get to a point in this county where we will all be in agreement on the issue of rape. That it is not about the way you dress but that rape is a crime not against women or men but against humanity," said Abiodun Baiyewu, Global Rights Executive Director.

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