Domestic Violence is all around us, we all know someone who is a victim. It could be your neighbour, friend, your distant relative or close family relations. No matter how hard we pretend to not know about it, it is just around the corner.
Starting from 25 November to 10 December, UNiTE to End Violence against Women is running a campaign tagged 16 Days of Activism to End Gender Based Violence. Women across the world are encouraged to wear orange in order to raise awareness for Domestic Violence.
One in three women and girls around the world experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime.
In Africa, gender based violence is not just a physical act, it has a deeply ingrained cultural backing that represses women. In this day and age, some women still mistake domestic violence for acts of love.
Culturally, the moment an African man pays the bride price of a woman, there is always a confused sense of complete ownership of the woman and this concept deludes the man into thinking that he can do as he pleases with the woman.
I read a story about a woman who has to submit her mobile phone to her husband at the end of each day for inspection while kneeling. Unfortunately, if she has had a male caller during the day, her husband will throw in some slaps without asking for an explanation. This occurs each and every single day.
There are many young people in abusive relationships with their intimate partners. I had a classmate who married a very abusive partner because she felt after dating him for eight years, there was no point in leaving.
In the last couple of years, husbands killing wives and wives killing husbands have become very prevalent in Nigeria. There is an 11% prevalence rate of physical and/or sexual Intimate partner violence in the last 12 months.
According to CLEEN Foundation report, women often face physical violence at the hands of their family members. The most common forms of physical violence include rape, murder, slapping, and kicking.
Some of the reasons that were given for physical abuse include their husbands being drunk, financial issues, and the rejection of a partner’s sexual advances.
In some cultures, it is acceptable for a man to chastise his wife as a sign of love. Many women stay in abusive relationships and marriages because they cannot even tell their own family members what they are actually going through.
Ending gender based violence starts with you. Raise awareness, tell your friends, your colleagues, your church members, your religious and social society members about the scourge of gender based violence.
Help other women speak up by sharing your survivor stories. Listen and counsel other women. Point victims to counsellors who can help them.
Report Domestic Violence issues in your community to appropriate agencies. Don’t look the other way and say it is none of my business.
If you are a victim, know that you are not alone, together we will defeat the scourge by leaving no one behind.
Agencies and NGOs
Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team
Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja, Lagos
Managed by Partnership for Justice
Tel: 08155770000, 07013491769, 08187243468, 01-2957816
Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative