In Nigeria, gender-based violence has become a pervasive quagmire that has drawn the attention of both government and non-governmental organizations. This threat does not appear to be limited to women, as it affects both men and women. Nonetheless, women are frequently the victims of violence, which exacerbates existing gender inequalities that have harmed the nation’s socioeconomic system. Sadly, this vice continues to be a challenge for women, limiting their autonomy, opportunities, and predisposing them to poverty. The challenges of sexual and physical violence, as well as early child marriage, have not been adequately addressed by government agencies, which is why this research study was undertaken. Domestic violence has had an impact on women’s job advancement, according to the conclusions of this article, which included primary data. The fact that government authorities have been unable to identify a long-term strategies for combating the problem is even more concerning. As a result, the study concluded and recommends that if women are to advance in their careers and contribute maximally to the development of society, the destructive culture of VAWG and GBV be eradicated, which can be accomplished through a variety of strategies.
Violence against women is defined as any act of “gender-based violence that results in or is likely to result in physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of acts such as coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life” (UNGA, 1993). While GBV refers to “both violence against women and girls as well as occurrences of violence directed towards persons on the basis of their gender” (UNN, 2020). Gender-based violence (GBV) is, without a doubt, more of a culture in Nigeria, particularly in the north. Physical abuse, such as domestic violence, to societal abuse, such as child marriages, are examples. In Nigeria, the media has been flooded with news of violence. The recent case of Nigeria’s youngest senator assaulting a nursing mother at a sex toy shop exemplifies how common GBV has grown in the country.
“28 percent of Nigerian women aged 25-29 have suffered some sort of physical abuse since age 15,” according to a research commissioned by the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). “44 percent of divorced, separated, or widowed women had suffered violence since age 15, whereas 25% of married women or those living with their spouses have experienced violence,” according to the study. Furthermore, according to a UNFPA research, roughly “3 in 10 Nigerian women have suffered physical assault by the age of 15.”
Nigeria is a highly religious country with Christianity, African Traditional Religion and Islam being the major belief systems. Religious leaders are held in high esteem with fear, respect and love. Thus, religion plays a major role in the life of the people. The patriarchal system in the country enforces violence against women as a tool for correcting behavior and exerting male dominance, especially in marriages.
Religious organizations play a significant impact in molding national views and perspectives. As a result, it’s no surprise that religious institutions encourage such behavior. Women’s inferiority to men, the notion of women as “unclean,” and the portrayal of virtuous women as “submissive” are all religious doctrines that support GBV. Furthermore, several religious sects frown against divorce, making it much more difficult for women to escape abusive relationships.
Surprisingly, these acts of violence are even perpetuated by the religious leaders who are revered and feared. The report by a certain new paper with the headline “Islamic Cleric rapes 16-year-old, but claims she’s his wife” is a clear example. In a country where these religious leaders are revered and feared, who will put them in check?
The way women are approached on such problems strikes me as somewhat ironic. In situations where they disclose such cases, women are advised to be prayerful and hopeful for a change. The reaction to my first story is an example. Women are also urged to cover up and hide their bodies because the attackers “simply don’t show up.” That’s something I’ve heard a million times at women’s conferences. They are also instructed to remain silent and avoid provoking the men’s wrath.
To be honest, I think they are ludicrous answers, given GBV is rampant in northern society, where women are known for covering up and being “submissive.” “6 out of 10 females reported having suffered one or more types of GBV in the North East, where sexual violence and GBV prevalence has grown by 7.7% since the crisis with Boko Haram began,” according to a UNPFA situation report.
Religion has a big role to play in preventing GBV, thus religious leaders should be educated, and female church leaders should be encouraged to help younger people receive justice instead of trying to cover it up by making them pray. Furthermore, throughout religious traditions, there is a need to examine how the societal construction of men as authoritative figures has been utilized to subject women to abuse.
More courageous, tenacious, and morally upright men and women are needed to break the complacent silence. We owe it not only to the girls and women, but also to our sons, young men who will grow up with the cultural perception that VAWG is not a bad thing. It is also important to acknowledge the growing movement of men in a multilateral sense in Nigeria like certain foundation who are standing up and speaking out about men’s injustice against women and going into parts of culture that have historically been either apathetic or openly hostile about it. The younger generation will inherit the world and treat it in accordance with the knowledge, policies, and opinions they have acquired. As a result, what and how we inspire our people today determines the fate and future of our world tomorrow. When we commit to the self-mastery of the right things we get to be the example and invitation to others. Our example, not opinion, changes the world, and we can only inspire others by being the example and ultimately, to become the embodiment of Gandhi’s quote which is to “be the change you wish to see in the world”.
About the Writer
Efe-Umaigba Ofure; I am a 2nd Year Medicine
and surgery student. I have a flair for the Arts and have been
actively involved in numerous debates, Speech giving ceremony,
Quiz competition from my secondary school days He is also a
member of the University of Benin editorial peer-review journal