Elimination of Violence Against Women in Nigeria
By Jude Chukwuemeka
Guests on the show
Ms. Harriet Thompson - British Deputy High Commissioner Lagos
Peju Fadirepo - Producer of #chatroomthemovie @chatroomproject
Rotimi Sankore - Journalist, Policy and Development Expert
Today is the 'International Day For The Elimination of Violence Against Women'. The theme for 2019 is: 'Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands Against Rape'.
International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women is a United Nations Organization (UN) day set aside to address the issue of Violence Against Women and girls while calling for more action to combat it. It's global action incorporated into 16 Days.
According to the UN, violence against women is “any act of gender-based 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 public or in private life.”
Also, the UN General Assembly in 2006 said: Experiencing violence precludes women from contributing to or benefiting from development initiatives by limiting their choices and ability to act.
Harriet Thompson says observance of these days is very important every year. She believes that the issues are not just tied to Nigeria alone but to the rest of the world.
“Like we’ve heard from Wemimo the situation that women and girls face is serious. So we use these 16 days to go over the things they face. We use the media, radio, social media, traditional media, just as we are speaking right now, to really raise awareness of these issues and I think when people hear these statistics, they are shocked. The more we talk about these, the more we can influence social norms. And I think the reasons why these statistics are so high is because too many people think it’s okay.”
Also, Peju Fadirepo responds by saying she believes that women are still there at the front but they’re not breaking barriers like they used to.
“This goes down to our cultural issues and the family unit. Growing up, they tell you your place is in the kitchen. Recently, I told my son to sweep the floor and he told me ‘I’m not a girl’ so I asked him where he got that from. The family unit is extremely critical. There are so many homes in which men know only how to boil water.
“Ignorance is a major challenge and women are passing this on. It goes back to how all these issues are intertwined. If I am not knowledgeable, there is not much I can do.”
Rotimi Sankore speaks on the fact that such issues that sprung up during the Aba Women’s Protest, (not riot) as he suggests, have the presence of patriarchy, especially when it is intertwined into the State. But where they are separated, the women have more protection.
“Speaking on domestic violence, it’s a situation in which your intimate partner who professed to love you also thinks he has rights to beat you senselessly, thinking this is a means of social control. It is not the work of the devil at all. But the State is also complicit. When we try to deal with this issue, we need to face the patriarchy in the society too.”
Wemimo quickly points out that the Nigerian law recommends that a man beats his wife as long as he doesn’t do any bodily harm to her. The movies made in Nigeria seem to praise or uphold the marital violence and are not doing anything to discourage the public. Even a good number of women in Nigeria also believe that their husband has every right to beat them.
On the issue of rape and what women wear, Rotimi adds: We should not find excuses in what anybody is wearing. What about babies that are raped? Is it the napkins that makes the men to do such things? We have also seen elderly women raped. So anyone who has that thought in mind should perish it immediately!
What more effective ways can FG exploit in making the deprivation of women resulting from violence the central concern bearing in mind its negative impact on economic growth?
Watch the program below
Morning Crossfire with Wemimo Adewuni (@wemimospot) & Sheriff Quadry (@SheriffQuadry), alongside Rotimi Sankore (@RotimiSankore)