Following the rising cases of Violence Against Women And Girls (VAWG) in Nigeria, expert has said, 36 percent of ever married women have experienced physical, sexual or emotional violence in the hand of their spouses intimate partners.
This was revealed at a four-day media dialogue with journalists on ethical reporting and advocacy to Eliminate Violence Against Women And Girls organised by Spotlight Initiative Nigeria, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
The Coordinator, Foluke Omoworare who represented UNICEF Child Protection Specialist, Denise Onoise also said, one in four girls have experienced sexual violence, adding that, violence is rarely an isolated incident and majority of children surveyed experienced violence on the home.
According to her, for children, perpetrators are people that are known to them, (parents, care giver, teacher, neighbours).
She said, some of the drivers of Violence Against Women And Girls, VAWG are Social norms on justification of domestic violence in certain circumstances, early child marriage, weak enforcement of law, reluctance of response services to get involved in family affairs, domestic violence in the home, early experiences amongst others.
Omoworare added that, women and girls with disabilities are twice as likely to experience violence of any form.
Giving further insight, Director, National Orientation Agency, Lagos, Mr Waheed Ishola said, ” This media dialogue is to shine the spotlight on women and girls. The focus is to address the negative socio-cultural norms attached to reporting cases of violence.”
Stating some community perceived reasons for prevalence of abuse of women and girls Ishola said they include, “Poverty, indecent dressing among adolescent girls, missing parental care, quest for money, fame and political position by women.”
Others includes: “Neglect of family values, inability of men to manage their home, illicit drug/substance abuse, ritualistic purposes, fear of stigmatization.”
Earlier, the Chief of Operations, UNICEF Lagos, Muhammad Okorie said violence against women is a global issue, adding that, this trend threatens women in achieving their full potential.
Okorie stated, “Before 25 years, a girl must have been violated either sexually or physically. If we do not end violence against women, we can reduce it to the bearest minimum.”
He urged the media to use their vantage position to reach a larger audience to put up reports that would speak to stakeholders as well as policy makers to act.
Commenting, Assistant Director, Ministry of Youth and Social Development, Olasunmbo Daniel said the Ministry works collaboratively and effectively with partners in different capacity to ensure violence is reduced to the barest minimum in the society.
According to Daniel, ” in implementing the Spotlight Initiative, the progress report for Lagos state include; capacity building and strengthening of 156 Child Protection Stakeholders; Social Welfare Officers, Health Officers, Education Officers, Legal Officers, Police Officers, Civil Society Organisations, Volunteers have been carried out at different times, in the last two years.
“The training of 23 Family Court functionaries; judges, magistrates and assessors was put on hold as a result of the nationwide strike.