ELIMINATION OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS - NOVEMBER 25TH 2017

ELIMINATION OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS – NOVEMBER 25TH 2017.

 

No matter where violence against women happens, what form it takes, and whom it impacts, it must be stopped. This year just like every other, the promise of the Sustainable Development Goals #to leave no one behind#cannot be fulfilled without ending all forms of violence against women.

 

One in three women and girls experience violence in their lifetime that is one too many. It happens in every country and every society. It happens at home, in schools, on the streets, at work, on the internet and in Refugee camps. It happens during war, and even in the absence of war. Too often, it is normalized and goes unpunished. (UN Women). It is also unfortunately a frequent occurrence in the IDP Camps

 

Violence against women and girls has many manifestations, including forms that may be more common in specific settings, countries and regions; it manifests itself as physical, sexual, emotional and even economic problem.

 

Human trafficking for instance which has formed the bulk of WOCON’s work in the last 22 years has become a global concern as there is hardly any nation that does not identify with this devastating menace. At every point, Nigerian women and girls are being ferried abroad under various pretexts only to end up as prostitutes, domestic servants, slaves and destitute. Within and outside Nigerian borders, thousands of under-aged girls and young women continue to be trafficked for domestic servitude/forced labour and most especially for sexual exploitation.

Trafficked victims continue to face exploitation at its highest level including forced prostitution and all forms of slavery-related activities organ harvesting and baby harvesting (i.e. taking newly born babies from their mothers with their consent or through manipulative means).

 

In addition, more women are more likely than men to be injured, sexually assaulted or murdered by an intimate partner. Intimate partner violence (IPV) has a lifetime prevalence of approximately 60% and is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality for women of all reproductive ages, especially among younger women and during pregnancy.The goal of IPV prevention is to stop it from happening in the first place. However, effective solutions are prevention efforts that continue to be made to ultimately reduce the occurrence of IPV by promoting healthy, respectful, nonviolent relationships through continuous sensitization.

 

Domestic violence which is very common is a pattern of controlling behaviours that one Partner uses to gain power over the other; a form of physical violence or threat of physical violence to get control, emotional or mental abuse and sexual abuse.

 

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is another scourge and threat to woman and girls everywhere and to which WHO also confirmed that, "the procedure has no health benefits for girls and women and such procedures can cause severe bleeding and problems urinating, and later cysts, infections, infertility as well as complications in childbirth increased risk of newborn death and is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women. Nevertheless, young girls particularly continue to experience this gruesome act day by day in Nigeria.

 

Child marriage, another form of violence against women is usually a marriage where the female partner is below 18 in age, a practice that disproportionately affects girls. Child marriages are very common in Sub-Saharan Africa including Nigeria, though occurs in other parts of the world too. The practice of marrying young girls is rooted in patriarchal ideologies of control of female behaviour and is also sustained by traditional practices such as dowry and bride price

 

UNICEF states that"Marrying girls under 18 years old is rooted in gender discrimination, encouraging premature and continuous childbearing and giving preference to boys' education. Child marriage is also a wrong strategy for economic survival as families marry off their daughters at an early age to reduce their economic burden."

Consequences of child marriage include restricted education and employment prospects, increased risk of domestic violencechild sexual abuse, pregnancy and birth complications, and social isolation. In some cases a woman or girl who has been raped may be forced to marry her rapist, in order to restore the honor of her family; or marriage by abduction, a practice in which a man abducts the woman or girl whom he wishes to marry and rapes her, in order to force the marriage.

 

International Labour Organization has stated that early and forced marriages are defined forms of modern-day slavery and we also join our voices to theirs today, to say NO to early/forced marriages.

Other widespread forms of violence against women and girls around the globe include: trafficking of women and girls for sex, child pornography and labor, while recent discoveries in Nigeria reveal that trafficking now has numerous other forms including victims compelled to act as beggars, forced into sham (false) marriages, women and girls being held hostage and used as sex slaves, pornography production, organ removal, among others.Less documented forms include crimes committed in the name of “honour” femicide, prenatal sex selection, female infanticide, body shaming or sexism, economic abuse, political violence, elder abuse, dowry-related violence, acid-throwing.

Particular groups of women and girls, such as members of racial, ethnic and sexual minorities; HIV-positive women; migrants and undocumented workers; women with disabilities; women in detention and women affected by armed conflict or in emergency settings may be more vulnerable to violence and may experience multiple forms of violence on account of compounded forms of discrimination and socio-economic exclusion.

The perpetrators of violence usually include the State and its agents, other family members, friends or other familiar individuals, and strangers. (UN General Assembly, 2006)

 

It is imminent to combat all forms of violence. Ending violence against women and girls is possible. There are proven solutions for supporting and empowering survivors to stop the reoccurrence of this violence. Laws and policies are powerful tools to punish perpetrators, provide justice and services, and end impunity. There are many ways that we can resist and prevent violent norms, attitudes and behaviours that perpetuate violence against women, and we at WOCON believe everyone has a role in it and has a part to play.

It is of paramount importance for the Nigerian Government and the society as a whole to take serious steps to address and find solutions to all forms of violence against women and girls with the most important step being the enforcement of all legal obligations. Human rights standards should also be incorporated in law reforms for combating the trafficking in women and girls.

 Possible ways to help end violence against women and girls Include:

-          Knowing the signs.

-          Getting your community educated.

-          Getting your community organized.

-          Listen to empower.

-          Have an intervention plan.

-          Be a resource.

-          Report offenders to authorities.

WOCON lends it voice during this 16days Activism period to other Activists everywhere around the globe continues to condemn all forms of violence against women and girls EVERYWHERE!

 

Thelma Anwatu

Program officer

 

 

 

Photo News

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