Gender-based violence has been a long-standing issue that persists globally since the beginning of time, where women have often been relegated to second-class citizens either by tradition or societal laws.
Over the years, women have been victims of gender-based violence either during childhood or adulthood. In response to this oppression against their gender, feminism arose in different forms in the western world against gender-based violence (GBV), which led to frustrations even amongst women and needless talk about their male counterparts who have taken advantage of them.
Women have over the years, been victims maybe for childhood or in adulthood, as the case may be. Following the historic epoch of the felt oppression against their gender, ‘Feminism’ arose in different forms in the western world against Gender Based Violence, GBV, which led to frustrations even amongst women, needless to talk about their male folks who have been having their filled day on the so tagged, ‘Weaker Sex’.
Through its impending footprints and persistence within the society, forefront Non-governmental organizations, Women Aspire Empowerment Initiative WAEI and AEGIS Widows Support Network AWSN with major focus to prevent Violence Against Women and Girls VAWG, have said that violence against females are taking multi-dimensional forms.
The group made the assertion during the 16 days of campaign to end violence against women and girls tagged: ‘Unite Activism: Invest To Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls’, held in Abuja.
In her introductory address, Mrs. Ebere Ulelu-Obiesie, the Founder of Women Aspire Empowerment Initiative (WAEI) and co-Convener of the event, expounded that the campaign was designed to empower women towards capacity building and engaging community projects aimed at aiding the average Nigerian citizen, particularly women and girls.
Mrs. Ulelu-Obiesie emphasized that a community-based approach is crucial in creating more awareness about the hazards of violence against women and girls (VAWG).
She called for a more equitable society characterized by mutual respect free from harm for all genders as well as laws that provide protection for women and girls.
Furthermore, she stressed on the need for Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act (VAPP) to be implemented across all 36 states in Nigeria.
She implored international organizations such as UN, EU humanitarian groups, private sectors among others to increase their support towards funding female-led organizations fighting Sexual Gender-Based Violence (SGBV).
She informed that ‘Unite Activism Campaign’ (a movement by the UN over violence against persons, mostly women and girls) is a global campaign of knowing surely that gender-based violence is prevalent in our Nigeria society and we don’t want Nigeria to be left out.
The organization intends to carry the campaign across Nigeria and commenced its pilot face from the FCT to engage the grassroot and the stakeholders.
In her address, the lead Speaker, Mrs. Nana Sani Kazaure bemoaned the tragic circumstances that have resulted in the loss of numerous women and girls.
She highlighted Gender Based Violence (GBV) as a global scourge that makes most females vulnerable, citing reputable organizations such as UNICEF, UNDP, EU Women, EU and Red Cross which point to an increase in this menace.
Mrs. Kazaure who spoke on “Speaking Up, Speaking Out to End Violence Against Women And Supporting Women’s Leadership” referenced a 1997 study by the World Health Organization which revealed that violence was a significant public health issue and accounted for between 5-20 percent of healthy years lost among women aged 15 to 44 years – a figure that has worsened over time.
The available data shows that one-third of all women worldwide are victims of GBV – an outrageous statistic that underscores the need for concerted global action.
Furthermore, Kazaure stated that violent acts against women and girls lead to deaths among those aged between15-49 years through various means; these individuals suffer and die from cancer more than they do from malaria combined.
Additionally, she stressed that about nine percent of women aged 15-49 had suffered sexual assault at least once in their lifetime while thirty-one percent had experienced physical violence according to the Nigerian Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) report released in 2018.
In the keynote address by Honourable Federal Commissioner, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons, Tijani Aliyu Ahmed represented by Mrs. Comfort Sanni of PR Department, noted that violence against women has continue to persist in different dimensions, affecting about 614million women and girls worldwide, who live in conflict -affected contexts in 2021.
According to her, the above represents over 50 percent increase more than the 2017 record, with rising cases of violence caused by GBV across the globe, as Nigeria has taken steps to address issues to help against Gender Based Violence since and 2015, to also protect both people with disability
The commissioner continued, “the overall goal of the National Policy on Internally Displaced Person, 2022 is – to strengthen institutional mechanism and framework for the realization of the rights, dignity, and well-being of vulnerable populations through the prevention of the root causes, mitigation of the impacts and achievement of durable solutions to internal displacement in Nigeria.
“I must admit to you that the need to leverage on collaboration like they say in the UN circle while implementing the multi-stake’s program Do-it-All-as-One’, cannot be over-emphasized.
In the FCT as of today, multiple stakeholders have been building on efforts to combat Violence Against Women and Girls, VAWG.
“The statewide gap analysis in Nigeria as at November, presented at the 2023 state-level coordinating meeting tagged “Strengthening Government Approach and Commitment to Preventing and Responding to SGBV in Nigeria, in Abuja, said that so far, 34 states have had their various versions of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act, VAPPA, adopted as law,” mentioned Ahmed.
The commissioner also noted that the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP, has called on State governments, which are expected to adopt the Act and implement it as well, across the country.
On his part, Dr. Law Mefor, called for the emancipation of women from some forms of sociocultural, economic and political relegation by their male folk.
Dr Mefor however, blamed the women for creating the enabling ground for the oppression by men, as he advised them to be more resilient and united in their fight against violence against them, as well as clamour for more space in the country’s politics.
He said, “At least, women are supposed to occupy over 10 seats in the senate and nothing less than 36 representatives respectively, in the green chamber.
He promised to collaborate with other sympathizers of violence against women in order to better the conditions of women and girls across the country and beyond, as he added that Nigeria even needs a woman President.
He then encouraged women and girls to put more effort into their endeavors and avoid being treated as second fiddles by the male folk.
Speaking, Dr. (Mrs.) Bibiana Okereafor, Co-convener, Founder of Aegis Widows Support Network, regretted that most of the violence usually take place in the rural areas where women are exposed to untold pains and agony under speechless or helpless conditions.
She explained that the organization intends to take the campaign even down to the interiors through the 36 states of the country and the Federal Capital Territory, where it has already commenced its exercise through the induction of trained ‘Ambassadors’ that would create more awareness in the rural communities.
She then called on the FCT authority, Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs. Kennedy Uju, and the senator representing Abuja, Ireti Kingibe for financial support of the campaign, which will go a long way to assist the ambassadors and victims of GBV.
In the same vein Barr. Ifeanyi Okafor maintained that women should be treated as human beings by some men, saying Nigeria’s constitution provides for the rights of women, as well as the Child Act Right in Section 19 of the 1999 Constitution, which also stipulates the penalty for such heinous acts that attract at least, no less than three years in correctional centers or payment of fines not less than N50, 000.
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