Ending All Forms of Violence against Women By Tolulope Oguntoyinbo
Verbal; physical, or emotional, in whatever forms it comes, violence is a crime and violence against women and girls is a criminal act everyone should desist from like a plague. It is violation of human rights and a major obstacle to human development. There is a common saying that when you train a girl, you train a generation. In the same way, when you abuse a girl, you abuse a generation. In the case of domestic violence for instance, lot of women have died; leaving their children to become orphans and embittered for a long period, if not a lifetime.
One form of violence does not weigh more than the other: rape, beating, political disenfranchisement, inadequate reproductive health facilities all leave bitter taste in a woman’s mouth. The earlier we realize that holding women back or denying them their rights equals to holding down the society, then the faster we would all cooperate to end this menace.
Valuable violence against women is so pronounced that we see it in our homes and street on daily basis. The headline of some newspaper says: ‘70 years old man rapes 3 years old girl’, from the next door you hear the sound of punches like a boxer punching a bag during training only to realise it’s a man beating his wife or funnily his girlfriend. Also on the road, in the commercial buses, a male driver sees a woman driving ahead of him carefully and all of a sudden he screams and hisses at the top of his voice from a programmed mind ‘mschew, it’s a woman, no wonder’.
Violence against women is like fighting a war against an enemy and women are no foes. Women are life- givers; they give life to babies, give life to the economy, give life to the family and give life to a nation.
Research shows that one out of every three women around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime. Conventionally, domestic violence is committed against females and in Nigeria today, common cases of violence against women are wife/girlfriend beating, rape, molestation, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), maltreatment of widows, trafficking, and murder.
It’s also worthy of note that in Nigeria, there are no accurate and sufficient data on domestic violence as a result of stigmatization surrounding the issue. However a study by the National Demographic and Health Survey in 2008 showed that 28% of women have experienced physical violence, a significant number in a country of 186 million where close to half are women.
Literacy is key in reducing the statistics of women that are violated; both men and women need to be properly informed on the effect of gender based violence, ways to stop them and how it can benefit the entire community. When the society is exposed to intensive and consistent sensitization about these issues, then it is easy to uproot the stereotyped societal norms that have brought about gender disparity in time past.
This sensitization should also be extended to our law enforcement agents whom already are aware of the existing laws guiding against violation of women’s rights, but for some reasons are still yet to create that safe environment for a woman to thrive and safely take legal action against perpetrators.
Women also should get tired of being victims and start standing up for their rights. Girls should learn to demand for education rather than early marriage; women should stay informed and relevant so as to lobby for political position rather than lobbying to appear semi-nude in some musical videos or promotional advert. Women should use brains to make money and build empires, and not use body to make money and build wardrobes.
However, it should be noted that Violence Against Women (VAW) is not just women’s issue but a human rights issue. In the 21st century, a woman’s place has changed from the kitchen to the top places; her work has changed from cooking to building. We don’t live by food but by the great substance deposited in us. The woman needs a chance to use these deposits to build and contribute to the nation. She has something the man does not have and if not allowed to express it, nation building will be incomplete and man’s effort futile.
The root cause for violence is ignorance. The more enlightened and involving the society becomes, the less violence against women we see. Together, we can combat Violence Against Women and reap the fruit together
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