A menace that threatens to destroy the fabric of our society is the recurring violence against women in Nigeria. As we celebrate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women 2019, we ought to reflect on the existing vice in our country, Nigeria, and proffer solutions. According to research and popular consensus, the patriarchal nature of the African society, especially, that of Nigeria, is one of the prevailing causes of violence against women. The United Nations Women group (UN women) poses the following ways for dismantling patriarchy:

‘Speak up for gender equality,

Know your rights,

Support one another,

Defy stereotypes,

Stop the body shame,

Fight toxic masculinity,

Share the workload,

Don’t stand for intolerance

Educate the next generation’

Gender-Based Violence, specifically, violence against women occurs in different forms such as domestic violence, sexual violence, physical and emotional abuse. Several institutions have been put in place to curb this menace and give justice to victims, however, more needs to be done. In a bid to curb sexual violence, the Nigerian government has created 11 Sexual Assault Referral Centers. Interestingly, the vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo noted that “These Sexual Assault Referral Centers ensure the provision of quality forensic, medical, psychological, legal and aftercare service to survivors of sexual and gender-based violence”. This is a positive development. However, it is believed that the government should provide more laws and policies restricting and giving heavy sanctions against individuals who victimize women.

As a more enlightened and literate society, women are encouraged to speak up and report their abusers. The continuous fight for gender equality is a key factor in ensuring a reduction or end to violence against women in Nigeria. Also, it is important for women to stand up for one another.

Women need to be empowered with courage and confidence to defy biased gender violence and also be sensitized on self-defense techniques and have it in mind that there is no excuse for domestic violence. It is also recommended that more platforms such as female-focused NGO’s should be created to help survivors who cannot speak up as a result of psychological trauma and social stigma.

We hope that the society at large and federal and private parastatals seek more ways to protect victims, prevent violence and empower survivors of violence against women.

Written by Adesewa Odesanya