In our society today, violence against women is woven into the fabric of society to such an extent that many who are victimized begin to accept that they are at fault. Many of those who perpetrate violence feel justified by strong societal messages and trends that insinuate that rape, battering, sexual harassment, child abuse, and other forms of violence are acceptable. Many women are violently treated by their intimate partners while they suffer in silence. In some cases, domestic violence leads to the death of these women.
According to UN, even before the COVID-19 pandemic began, 1 in 3 women experienced physical or sexual violence mostly by an intimate partner globally and 38% of murders of women are committed by a sexual partner.
In 2020, the Covid 19 pandemic heightened women’s vulnerability hence the 60 percent increase in domestic violence, 30 percent rise in sexual violence, and 10 percent increase in physical child abuse.
A study commissioned by Nigeria’s ministry of women’s affairs and social development and the United Nations Population Fund (UNPFA) Nigeria, with support from the Norwegian Government, found that 28 percent of Nigerian women aged 25-29 have experienced some form of physical violence since age 15.
The study also reported that 15 percent of women experienced physical violence within 12 months, while 25 percent of married women or those living with their spouses have experienced violence.
While pervasive, gender-based violence is not inevitable. It can and must be prevented. Stopping this violence starts with listening to and believing survivors, adopting comprehensive and inclusive approaches that tackle the root causes, transform harmful social norms, and empower women and girls. With survivor-centred essential services across policing, justice, health, and social sectors, and sufficient financing for the women’s rights agenda, we can end gender-based violence.
This year’s theme for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women is “End Violence Against Women Now!”
Like in previous years, this year’s International Day will mark the launch of 16 days of activism that will conclude on 10 December 2021, which is International Human Rights Day. Several public events are being coordinated for this year’s International Day. Iconic buildings and landmarks will be ‘oranged’ to recall the need for a violence-free future.
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