A non-governmental organisation has called on institutional authorities, specialists, and the Nigerian government to double their efforts in tackling violence and insecurity against women, which has eaten into the fabric of the nation.
This call was made at the women’s roundtable conference on the insecurity and gender violence program held at the volleyball court of Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, Ondo State to sensitise women on the different-ranging structures of physical and psychological sexual abuse that has impaired and wrecked the humanity of women in the country.
The program convener, Akintewe Damilola said the program aims to bring people of different ages, sex, education, and professions together to deliberate on social issues jeopardizing the lives of the female citizens of the country and getting the story together in form of a petition to be presented to the government to act on for the protection of lives.
Akintewe noted that violence and insecurity were a regular experience for most women in their respective homes where the arithmetic of every member was the attainment of psychological and physiological upliftment and growth.
“Home is supposed to serve as a form of succour and rest from life’s struggle, not the other way round filled with fear.”
According to her, “Women in Nigeria, most especially the girls are subjected to many violence’s in their homes, schools and among peers due to lack of official statistics to establish the extent of domestic violence as many cases go unreported and undocumented.”
She added that being a victim of the violence of either rape or maltreatment can generate negative feelings of guilt and shame.
Arika Temitope noted that women face physical violence at the hands of their loved ones, family members, society, and school, which majorly includes rape, murder, slapping, kicking, and other forms of assault.
According to Arike, “Relationship inequality also contributes a lot to physical violence, such as the beating of wife when the husband discovers she making more money more than him.”
Also, she noted that violence in the family often leads to a cycle of violence as most men unconsciously follow in their father’s footsteps.
“Men who come from abusive homes and who have watched their mothers being mercilessly beaten by their fathers tend to do the same to their wife and ladies who have witnessed their domestic help being beaten by their mothers tend to do the same in the later life.”
Bello Mary also noted that the activities of Boko Haram have led to the loss of lives and properties in the country, most especially in the northern part of the country.
She said that the turmoil which insecurity has caused includes the kidnapping of schoolgirls and women, bombing, sporadic shooting of unarmed protesters, armed robbery, and political crises, murder, rapes, and others.
“If there is security, all these can not surface and we are facing all of these because of insecurity and good leadership.”
Reine Lasisi described the program as an educative one that has increased her knowledge on issues of insecurity and violence in the country. She noted that dressing and walking at night does not warrant rape but the current security issues waging war in Nigeria has deprived many women of their freedoms.
According to her, “Incidents of domestic violence in Nigeria include torture, acid baths, rape, beating, and death.”
Speaking on the way forward, Akintewe Damilola opined that raising awareness of the dangers of harmful traditions is one way to prohibit violence and insecurity against women, adding that tackling violence against girls in school who are harassed by their teachers and colleagues would help, as well as encouraging them to speak up.
“There should be a unit where such complaints can be lodged in each tertiary institutions because I can still remember vividly when I was confronted with a cutlass inside the school on my way from church and I was able to report but the reaction I got was ‘what are you looking for at night?
“Parents should also exhibit the habit of listening to their wards because some of them are willing to talk whenever they are assaulted but the unwillingness of their parents to listen to them makes them keep mute and enjoy the continuity of the violence.”
Blessing Amodu said respected community elders should be engaged in the fight against violence as well as mobilizing young people to fight harmful acts such as child marriage.
“The government must put into practice engaging boys and young men to become agents of change in their respective community.”
Lasisi Reine emphasised the protection of girls who face additional risks during emergencies, saying: “Parents and guardians should also admit the strategies of the journey together with their girls to school for safety.”
Others who spoke at the event emphasised learning self-defence skills, charging the government to create strong policies that protect women and give young people a platform to speak on these issues constructively.
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