Gender based violence is a global issue that negatively affects women and girls, and the feeling of pain, helplessness and hopelessness that accompanies such situations in the face of prevalent injustice against survivors is often overwhelming.

Thursday in Black (TIB) is a simple but powerful campaign to address gender violence.  Every Thursday, people around the world wear black as a symbol of strength and courage, standing in solidarity with survivors of violence and, calling for a world without rape and violence.

The Thursday in Black campaign protests began in the 1970s and its roots lies in groups such as Mothers of the Disappeared in Argentina. These women started wearing black sashes in honour of their friends and family members who were disappearing, being raped and abused.  They would gather every Thursday in silence to protest the loss of their loved ones under the military dictatorship with the aim of raising the government’s awareness that these acts of violence were happening in their homeland.

In the 1980s, TIB became an international human rights campaign supported by the Word Council of Churches (WCC) as a peaceful way of support the human rights of women to live in a World without violence, rape and fear.

The Women’s Wing of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in collaboration with the WCC, organized the official launch of the Thursday in Black Campaign in Nigeria on Thursday, 25th August 2016, at Hoare’s Memorial Methodist Cathedral, Sabo in Lagos to raise awareness on the campaign in Nigeria and mobilize support against Rape and Violence in our Communities.

The Executive Programme Director for Women in World Council of Churches, Dr. Fulata Moyo stated that “Gender Based Violence prospers because of the silence around it”, and added that everyone should “join the campaign, live by example, engage in awareness raising, training and matching it with policy and also by having safe spaces for training each other.”

YWCA of Nigeria was part of the panel discussion held at the event with Mrs Hilda Nwanekwu, the Chair, National Ecumenical Committee representing the organisation on the panel, which exhaustively discussed issues on gender power relations, religion, cultural/social barriers, abusive marriages and rape in our society while proffering solutions to this menace. The event ended with a call to action and commitment from organisations present to intensify efforts on eradicating GBV through sustained efforts in advocacy, trainings, information sharing and other actions that will bring about positive behavioural change against GBV.