Halima Layeni, the founding director of Life After Abuse Foundation, an NGO, says deliberate attention to men’s mental health will help curb societal vices.

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The director was speaking on Friday about the need to provide a “safe place” for men as part of the NGO’s “Men Can End Violence” campaign.

The occasion of her speech was a mental health event that was held in Lagos to mark International Youth Day.

Layeni said most men who cause violence have been victims of abuse themselves.

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The director said societal violence will be curbed if men and boys are provided a safe place where they get to express their feelings, trauma, and anger.

According to her, “hurt people hurt people”.

“We have come to realise that most of the social vices faced in the country like sexual abuse, kidnapping, gun violence, terrorism, cultism, and gender-based violence can easily be eradicated,” she said.

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“[That is] if we pay attention to men’s mental health.

“We find out that most of these vices are being perpetrators mostly by men.”

Layeni implored men and boys to “reach out and speak out” when they are in pain in order to create “healthy masculinity.”

“To create masculinity, there must be a paradigm shift,” she added.

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“So if you have been told you cannot cry, I’m making you understand now that men can cry. Crying means you’re human. Even medically it’s right to let your emotions, it makes you feel better.

“Men can seek help, I know there isn’t much help for men currently. There are no systems and structures but I believe if you have a good circle, there are people you can talk to, talk to your friends don’t die in silence.

“Let’s encourage the culture of speaking out and reaching out, break the silence culture. When you feel like talking, don’t be ashamed; journal and use your social media.”

Men Can End Violence is a movement aimed at reducing the rate of male perpetrators of violence against women.

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