As the world commemorates the 2022 International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls, as well as the commencement of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, the Center for Environment Human Rights and Development, CEHRD, calls on the Nigerian authorities to wake up to their responsibilities of guaranteeing the safety and security of women and girls in particular, and the citizens in general.
CEHRD further calls for decisive actions aimed at ending the scourge and making the society safe for women and girls. Such actions include, (but not limited to) ensuring that no perpetrator of violence against women goes unpunished.
Violence against women and girls is a grave human right violation which manifests in several ways, including domestic violence, relationship bullying, sexual assault, rape, wife battering, child marriage, harmful widowhood practices, female genital cutting, and trafficking of women and girls among others. It is no doubt one of the most shameful and pervasive human rights violations.
On a daily basis, women and girls experience these and other forms of violence in the society. We are concerned and worried that the incidence of violence against women and girls has continued to rise astronomically. Sadly, the perpetrators often go unpunished. This impunity emboldens them to continue unleashing mayhem on the women and girls, making the society unsafe for the vulnerable women and girls. Consequently, ending it means ensuring that laws, such as the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Law and the recently enacted Inheritance Law by the government of Rivers State to tackle violence against persons are implemented and respected.
Violence against women and girls has resulted to the death of many women and girls, whereas survivors who are dehumanized as a result of the violence they are subjected to, battle with the trauma and stigma for the rest of their lives. They are mentally, socially and psychologically affected negatively.
The adverse psychological, sexual and reproductive health consequences of VAWG affect women at all stages of their life.
CONSIDERING violence against women and girls as a gross human rights violation which debases and dehumanizes the women, we use the opportunity of the 2022 commemoration of the international day for the elimination of violence against women and girls to say, Enough is Enough to the scourge. It is time to put an end to it.
And as this year’s theme, “UNITE: Activism to End Violence Against Women and Girls” prescribes, all hands must be on deck to end violence against women and girls. CSOs, citizens, media, corporate bodies should all unite to protect the women and girls in the society who constitute a very large proportion of the entire population.
The theme is also calling upon everyone to stand in solidarity with survivors and women’s human rights defenders who are working to prevent and end violence against women and girls. Most importantly, concerted efforts must be intensified to find solutions and measures to stop this preventable scourge with a detrimental impact on women’s and girls’ lives and health.
CEHRD is a foremost human and environmental rights non-governmental organization in Nigeria with headquarters in Port Harcourt.
Director of Programmes.