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“Finding ways to curb gender-based violence”
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“Finding ways to curb gender-based violence”

Gender-based violence reportedly affects an alarming one in five Nigerian women aged 15-24 years. Kelechukwu Iruoma, 23, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Lagos in Nigeria, writes that experts at a recent Rotary International Nigeria public lecture offered some solutions to GBV. 

Gender-Based Violence (GBV) or ‘violence against women’ are terms that are often used interchangeably as most gender-based violence is inflicted by men on women and girls, according to European Institute of Gender Equability,

It is important to retain the ‘gender-based’ aspect of the concept as this highlights the fact that violence against women is an expression of power inequalities between women and men.

According to United Nations, violence against women and girls is one of the most prevalent human rights violations in the world. It knows no social, economic and national boundaries.

Gender-based violence undermines the health, dignity, security and autonomy of its victims, yet it remains shrouded in a culture of silence. According to World Health Organization (WHO), worldwide, an estimated one in three women will experience physical or sexual abuse in her lifetime.

GBV against young people occurs in both the public and private spheres, including homes, workplaces, schools, religious environments, on the streets.

According to WHO information, in Nigeria GBV contributes at least 13 per cent of maternal mortality. “Of women/girls who survive GBV, many suffer acute and short-term complications including haemorrhage, sepsis, peritonitis, trauma to various organs as well as long-term sequels like infertility increased risk of ectopic pregnancy and spontaneous abortions,” the report says.

According to 2012 Gender report in Nigeria: “1 out of 5 Nigerian women and girls aged 15-24 years has been a victim of one form of violence or the other.”

How can GBV be reduced in Nigeria? Rotary International Nigeria District 9110, in a bid to put an end to the manner of violence against women and girls, organised a lecture tagged: “Youth Protection, Security for the Future”.

Mr. Gbenga Ganzallo the coordinator, research and programs, Women Arise for Change speaker, who delivered the lecture on behalf of human rights activist Dr. Joe Okei Odumakin, said for GBV to be curbed in Nigeria, some factors must be considered.

GBV knows no boundaries as it affects all categories of women and young girls:  rich and poor, old and young; Christian and Muslim; and people from various ethnic backgrounds.

He stated that several problems are attached to the challenge of physical and sexual molestation. Cutting across Nigeria today he identified various problems such as identity crisis, loss of values system,  and wrong definitions of success and power.

He said of the forms of GBV, sexual violence seems to constitute the most prevalent form of GBV affecting the youths. “The victims are increasingly between the ages of one to 17 years. In most cases, the perpetrators of GBV against youths are people known to them. People they know, love and trust.”

He said, “While children between the ages of 0-10 years and 11-17 years respectively (39 per cent and 30 per cent) constitute the most victims; young adults in the age brackets 18-30 and 31-45 constitute the next largest set of victims at 14 per cent and 12 per cent.”

Aside from the health sector, the education sector can play an important role in preventing and addressing GBV among young people, particularly through health programs and policies in schools.

He said the establishment of school-based advocacy programs, engagement of traditional rulers and gatekeepers, engagement of faith-based organization (churches and mosques), and increased involvement projects with men and boy advocates would reduce all forms of GBV.

Government at all levels needs to ensure that school policies and guidelines directly address GBV. Schools increasingly are particularly becoming unsafe places for young women. “Policies should strengthen the ability of teachers and administrators to address GBV and also require them to report sexual violence against students,” says Gonzalo.

Also, Mr. Femi Emmanuel, a youth activist, delivered a lecture on “Making our world a better place for our youths”. He said our world is filled with daily news and disturbing facts on child molestation, rape, incest, drug abuse, alcoholism, and lot more, stating that taking action now is crucial to solving it.

“This in no doubt: Nigerian youths must be protected from physical, sexual, emotional abuse,” he said.

Reach me on Twitter @kelechukuiruoma

photo credit: Wolfram Burner Preventing Gender Violence via photopin (license)

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About me: I am a humanitarian and development journalist who ensures that the voice of the voiceless are always heard. I am passionate about the sustainable development goals and I want to see a world where the youths are given adequate education and employment.

I want to see a world where poverty is wiped away. I want to see a world where people are provided with clean water and good environmental sanitation. I want to see a world where peace reigns.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/

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