By Patrick Enwerem, Advocates for Youth and Health Development
As we mark this year’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, on the 25th of November, let us remember those women who because of events which are beyond them do not even know what constitutes violence. Those helpless women that think that it is their fate to be abused and taken for granted.
MDG: Gender violence against women : International Day Against Gender ViolenceDeparting from the above premises, violence against women is indeed a serious challenge in Nigeria. This is because of the difficult in proving what constitutes violence especially when it takes place within the confine of the home. Having said that, some efforts have been made in Nigeria to discourage the act of violence against women in whatever form.
We have laws prohibiting rape, child marriage, physical assault and other forms of violence but the issue of enforcement remains a great challenge. The greatest setback to eliminating violence against women in Nigeria is the issue of culture and tradition. Most of the acts which could be categorized as violence against women are rather acceptable in the eye of traditional or cultural practices.
Thus, a woman is not expected to take her husband who beats her to the court. It is seen as marital issue that should be taken care of at home. The issue of boy child being more important and valuable than a girl child is another very often trend that lay credence to the acts of violence against women in Nigeria. This unfortunate practice makes women less important and thus an assault on her is considered less sensitive. It is pertinent to state here that civil society organizations in Nigeria have for long being the major actors that have advocated for stricter measures against perpetrators of violence against women be it in their marital home or elsewhere.
As an organisation, Advocates for Youth and Health Development has a strongly believe in the elimination of violence against women in whatever form. We have endeavoured to include aspect of gender education in most of our programmes. This issue is very important to us because we believe that violence against one woman is violence against humanity. Furthermore, we are creating all the necessary awareness to the public and government agencies to renew their commitment in addressing this ugly trend. The simple truth is violence in whatever form is a practice that is repugnant to natural justice, equity and good conscience.
As we mark this very important day, we recognize the immense contributions of women in domestic and national issues and do not see any reason one’s gender should intimidate the other in any guise.
Photograph: Filippo Monteforte, Getty Images