Presentation on theme: "By Josephine Effah-Chukwuma Executive Director Project Alert On Violence Against Women."— Presentation transcript:
By Josephine Effah-Chukwuma Executive Director Project Alert On Violence Against Women
Understanding Gender-based Violence (GBV) Forms of GBV GBV: Prevalence and Context Faces of GBV Tackling GBV Conclusion
Gender-Based Violence, GBV, as defined by the United Nations, is any act of violence that results in or is likely to result in physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty whether occurring in private (domestic) or public life Simply put, it is violence directed at women/young girls because of their sex.
It is however pertinent to say at this point, that not all forms of violence experienced by women/young girls, are gendered based e.g. robbing of women, kidnap of women/young girls etc. However if the robbers or kidnappers go a step further to sexually abuse (rape) their female victims, then it is gender-based.
Violence between intimate partners (spousal violence) and sexual violence are the most common forms of violence against women/young girls Violence against women/young girls, constitutes a major public health issue, and violation of the rights of women. It can result in physical, mental, sexual, reproductive health and other health problems, and increases women’s vulnerability to HIV.
Physical violence can occur both in private and in public. When it occurs in the home it is referred to as domestic violence. Physical acts such as: slapping, kicking, stabbing, shooting, hitting, pouring acid or any other corrosive substance, and murder. Sexual Violence: This is violence of a sexual nature, and can also occur in private and public. It is the abuse of women’s bodily integrity, and includes incest, indecent assault of young girls, rape, gang rape, sexual harassment and child pornography.
Psychological Violence. This form of GBV is most times not immediately obvious to the eye. It involves threats to life; threats of physical and sexual abuse; and verbal abuse, resulting in deep rooted fear of the abuser, by the victim, and severe psychological trauma. It also involves the neglect, and abandonment of women and children by their husbands/fathers. Other Forms of GBV include forced marriage, trafficking in women/young girls; forced prostitution; harmful traditional practices such as widowhood practices; economic strangulation; and female genital mutilation.
According to the 2012 Gender in Nigeria Report, 1 out of every 5 Nigerian women and girls aged years has been a victim of one form of violence or the other A further analysis of the 2008 National Demographic Health Survey (NDHS) revealed that sexual violation of young girls is very prevalent, with 73% of the young girls ( years) interviewed, admitted to being sexually abused from as early as under 10 years of age.
GBV knows no boundaries, as it affects all categories of women/young girls – rich/poor; old/young; literate/illiterate; Christian/Muslim; and people from various ethnic backgrounds. Much of the violence perpetrated against women/young girls, are by people they know, love and trust – boyfriends, husbands, other relatives, friends, neighbours, school mate, colleagues etc.
While cultural values and norms in Nigeria serve to condone and reinforce abusive practices against women; manipulation and misinterpretation of religious doctrines are used to place women in bondage. Domestic and sexual violence are both grossly under reported as domestic violence especially is socially accepted and there even exist laws that permit a man to reasonably chastise his wife (Penal Code of Northern Nigeria)
Domestic violence is often considered a private matter which suggests the existence of an underlying normalization of violence against the female gender and the prevalent culture of silence and stigma for victims. The endemic nature of violence is even evident in some public institutions like the police, where there is an entrenched culture of impunity that protects perpetrators of domestic violence and sexual offences such as rape, while further victimizing the victim/survivor.
This has led to women’s lack of confidence in the criminal justice system, and equally affected their ability to be active and productive citizens.
Tackling GBV in Nigeria, requires a multi- dimensional approach. This includes: Increased Social Advocacy: Various sensitization/capacity building programmes, targeting the public in general, and specific groups such as faith – based organizations, professional groups, schools, traditional institutions; law- enforcement agencies, etc need to be organized regularly. Nollywood can play an important role in this regard and contribute greatly in breaking the silence.
Legislative Advocacy: Various bills addressing all forms of violence against women, and specific forms of violence respectively have been sponsored at both the federal and state levels, some of which have been enacted. Some of these include state laws on domestic violence, widowhood practices, FGM, etc. At the federal level, a bill on Violence Against Persons (VAPP) is at an advanced stage at the National Assembly; Nollywood can lend voice to this advocacy effort. Same with Imo State, where a similar bill was passed and later thrown out.
Integrated Response/Setting Up of One Stop Centres: Building a synergy of all stakeholders in the response group has become very pertinent, especially when dealing with the trauma associated with rape victims, who have to repeat their stories over and over again to various service providers in the continuum. This One-Stop-Centre implies that the counsellor, medical doctor, laboratory technologist, police etc. are brought under one roof for easy documentation, handling and prosecution of cases reported.
Specially Trained Law Enforcement Officers. Tackling GBV requires specially trained and well resourced law enforcement officers to respond to reported cases. In Lagos Nigeria, Project Alert in collaboration with CLEEN Foundation organized a series of training for policemen and women in the state command on gender-based violence between 2006 – In the same vein, Project Alert in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, organized series of trainings for law enforcement officers, across the six geo-political zones in However these trainings need to be sustained and incorporated into the trainings the officers receive at the academy
While all law enforcement officers should have some basic training on human rights and gender-based violence, advanced training is required for those who will be required to respond to GBV cases Gender Desks/Family Support Units. Its also important that Gender Desks and/or Family Support Units in some Area Commands and all Divisional Police Stations are set up to receive, document and respond to reported cases of GBV in a sensitive and professional manner.
Support Services: NGOs have over the years provided various support services to female victims of violence, such as counselling, legal aid, shelter and skills acquisition training. Project Alert set up the first shelter for abused women in May 2001; and offers counselling and legal aid services. We also carry out skills acquisition training The Lagos State Government through the state ministry of Women Affairs and poverty Alleviation, also set up a state-owned shelter in August They also empower abused women/young girls economically through skills acquisition programmes
Working with men: The active involvement of men (male gender champions/role models) is very critical in tackling GBV. They lead anti- violence campaign targeting professional associations, schools and places of worship. They speak to fellow men and boys on who is a real man – a batterer/rapist or a non- batterer/rapist. Nollywood men can play an important role in this regard.
Mandatory Psychotherapy for Batterers: More attention needs to be paid to mental health in Nigeria. There is a need to develop a psychotherapy programme for batterers; and train a core group of Clinical psychologists to work with abusers. Professional training for Counsellors and Social Welfare Workers. Counseling of abused women and young girls should not be left to just anybody working with any of the organizations/ministries/institutions offering support services. Only trained counselors with good counseling skills, and adequate knowledge of the issue and the position of the law should do these. That is a rights –based approach to counselling.
Fast Track Judicial System for Gender Crimes. Justice delayed is justice denied. There should be a fast track judicial system for victims of gender crimes, especially sexual crimes, if closure is to be achieved by the victims and their families. Government at all levels need to urgently address the entrenched culture of impunity, which protects perpetrators of dastardly acts of violence against women in Nigeria, and by so doing secondary victimization of victims, occur.
It is time for action : When up to 70 per cent of women in some countries face physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime. When one in three girls in developing countries is likely to be married as a child bride. When some 140 million girls and women have suffered female genital mutilation; When millions of women and girls are trafficked in modern-day slavery; When women’s bodies are a battleground and rape is used as a tactic of war – IT IS TIME FOR ACTION
‘’For every woman and girl violently attacked, we reduce our humanity. For every woman forced into unprotected sex because men demand this, we destroy dignity and pride. Every woman who has to sell her life for sex we condemn to a lifetime in prison. For every moment we remain silent, we conspire against our women. For every woman infected by HIV, we destroy a generation….” - Nelson Mandela