On the occasion of the celebration of the 2013 International Women’s Day (IWD) The Centre for 21st Century Issue s(C21st), West African Network For Peace building Nigeria (WANEP) and Lagos state Gender Advocacy Team (LASGAT) celebrate with all Nigerian women and indeed all women all over the world.
With the theme “A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women” we collectively use this as a clarion call to all stakeholders to recommit and redouble efforts to stop violence being experienced by women and girls both in the private, public and in conflict situations.
It is of grave concern that around the world over 70% of women experience violence in their life time. The case of Nigerian women and girls is worse off. The Nigerian woman and girl child experience all forms of violence on a daily bases which has resulted into the following realities;
• One in five women has experienced some form of physical violence. 28% of women have experienced physical violence by age 15.
• One in three Nigerian women and girls aged 15-24 have been the victims of Violence.
• Up to a third of women in Nigeria have been subjected to some form of violence, including battering and verbal abuse, emotional and psychological abuse, marital rape, sexual exploitation, or harassment within the home.
• Most of the physical, sexual and psychological violence experienced by women in Nigeria is reported to be at the hands of family members, especially husbands, partners and fathers. At least 45% of violence against women are perpetrated by their current husbands or parents.
• Over 45% of women who ever experience physical or sexual violence did not seek help from any source or tell anyone about it.
• Women and girls suffer double jeopardy in conflict situations.
• Violence against women and girls is a key driver of HIV Epidemic and other sexually transmitted diseases due to forced sex and inability to negotiate safe sex.
These realities are continually nurtured by the existence of some social cultural norms which condones and encourages violence, insufficient legal mechanisms to prosecute and punish offenders and unwillingness of victims to report cases of violation or seek for help.
Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) is a serious infraction against the rights of women and girls. It is a wicked act which breeds conflict and destroy peace in the home and in the society. Violence impedes the ability of women and girls to reach their potentials in life and ultimately limit their life chances and optimal development
C21st, WANEP and LASGAT on the occasion of the IWD 2013 herby calls on
Nigerian Government to;
• Declare zero tolerance to VAWG in order to prevent and end all forms of VAWG anywhere including conflict situations.
• Ensure that all the states in Nigeria enact and effectively enforce the Domestic Violence protection and Prohibition Law
• Allocate Adequate funds to end VAWG in public and private spheres
• Work with Civil society organizations and all relevant stakeholders to provide services and support to all women and girls survivor of violence.
• Train all law enforcement agents to handle cases of violence against women and girls in such a way to ensure the protection of their rights
• Raise awareness on VAWG and inspire action to change violent behaviors in our community.
• Ensure that women are involved the response to conflict and peace processes at all levels.
We call on men to shun all acts of violence against women and girls and work with women and all stakeholders to end violence against their mothers, wives, sisters daughters and nieces.
We empathize with all women and girls victims of violence, we salute their resilience and courage in the face of violence. We also remember and celebrate all those who stand on the side of women and girls to advocate and continue to agitate against all forms of violence in our society. We encourage Nigerian women and girls to end the culture of silence and speak out against violence.
The fight to end VAWG is our collective responsibility. Together we can put a stop to VAWG.
Happy international women’s Day
Ms Titilope Akosa - Centre for 21st Century Issues
Bridget Osakwe - West African Network for Peace building (WANEP), Nigeria
Dr Keziah Awosika - Lagos state Gender Advocacy Team (LASGAT)