Gender-based Violence (GBV) or violence against women and girls (VAWG) in a simple term, is violence directed against a person because of their gender; a plague that undermines a social, economic or national boundaries. However, this issue affects both women and men but the majority of victims are women and girls, according to a study.
Common acts of gender-based violence are rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, exploitation, stalking, verbal abuse, harmful traditional practices, emotional and psychological violence, socio-economic violence, violence against non-combatant women in conflict situation among others.
According to 2022 UN Women global database on violence against women, 22.3 per cent of women in Nigeria experienced lifetime physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence, while 43.4 per cent of young girls were victims of child marriage and 19.5 per cent of young girls were victims of female genital mutilation (FGM).
Despite efforts by the Federal Government to address this plague, the alarming rate keeps escalating as well as its effects on physical and mental health impact on countless individuals.
The Honourable Minister of Women Affairs, Barrister Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, during a press briefing recently, organized at the ministry’s headquarters in Abuja, decried the increasing number of GBV report in the country.
Kennedy-Ohanenye, however, disclosed the ministry’s plan to collaborate with the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Nigeria Governors’ Forum as well as the Chief Justice of the Federation, to establish mobile courts for quick dispensation of justice for victims of gender-based violence in the society.
The minister, also pledged to introduce into the system a town cryer method of disseminating information to ensure efficient and effective GBV awareness campaign down to grassroots level, so that local women and girls including men can equip themselves with basic information and be protected.
The ministry further engaged representatives of university students from different tertiary institutions who pledged to work directly with the ministry to address cases of Sexual Gender-Based Violence (SGBV), Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) among others.
Following a brainstorming session with the directors of the ministry, the minister announced a more innovative and sustainable approach in implementing the ministry’s mandates to minimize costs and get more value for Nigerian women within 100 days in office.
As part of the resolution, the Minister, while encouraging women to form cooperatives and register with the ministry, announced empowerment programme for the cooperatives to distribute production machines to boost the nation’s economy and livelihood of women.
Kennedy-Ohanenye who further disclosed the Ministry’s commitment to collaborate with the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment to support women’s cooperatives in exporting their products internationally, said women in the rural areas will now be supported with charcoal burners and biogas stoves that are cost effective and sustainable to address the inability of beneficiaries to refill the gas cylinders when they are used up.