Culture Of Silence In Nigeria And Rising Gender Based Violence
From rape cases to kidnap of girls and women in northern part of Nigeria, these crimes have remained unabated.
A girl was forced into child marriage in which she suffered abuse and constant battery until her husband died.
She was forced to remarry, taking along her daughter who again was abused by her step-father who also continued to abuse and batter her mother.
Another child suffered consistent defilement by two men, suffering psychological damages until she became addicted to sex. she is still nine years old, but addicted to sex.
These are just some of the many common cases women in Nigeria face and many times theses cases are unreported and without support or immediate solution. Some gender activists have called it an ‘epidemic’.
Gender activists say the culture of silence, weak laws and lack of support for victims of violence against women and girls are some reasons for increase in the crime.
As at 2006, a national survey puts percentage of victims of gender violence and abuse at 64.5% and this has multiplied in the last eight years.
The reason for this prevalence, according to Founder, Women Aid Initiative, Dr. Joy Ezeilo, is the weak nature of the laws, wrong socialisation and lack of information.
India and South Africa are top on the list of countries with a high rate of Gender Based Violence.
Gender activists, Kate Henshaw, Aisha Babangida and Christine Kay fear Nigeria runs a risk of topping that chart unless actions are taken now to address the trend.
Experts have also said that violence against women was not women’s issue but that of the men who are the perpetrators, and also society’s business, which needed to be tackled decisively.
In Nigeria, besides the culture of silence and societal stigmatisation, information for women and the vulnerable as well as support for victims are still grossly inadequate making the fight against gender based violence a long walk yet to begin. These are some of the challenges needed to be addressed in order to end the increasing rate of Gender Based Violence.