Violence Against Women: Nigeria’s Laws Not Adequate - Diplomat
By Olamide Fadoju
British Deputy High Commissioner Lagos, Ms Harriet Thompson has berated Nigeria’s law for its inability to adequately protect women against rape and sexual violence.
Ms. Thompson in an interview with Sheriff Quadri and Wemimo Adewuni on Nigeria Info FM Programme, Morning Crossfire said the law needs to be improved to properly address sexual violence issues.
According to her “It’s not enough. When you are in a situation where the law says it is okay to beat your wife as long as it doesn’t leave a mark.
“We need to remember that violence against women isn’t just physical it doesn’t always leave a mark, it can be sexual, it can be mental, it can be humiliating your wife. It can be putting her down.
“There are different forms that it can take. So the law needs strengthening.
October 25 marks the International Day For The Elimination of Violence Against Women and the theme for 2019 is: 'Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands Against Rape'.Ms Thompson while airing her thoughts on where improvements could be made generally if Nigeria hopes to kick out violence against women said it goes beyond lawmaking.
“There is a need for women to be properly represented at all stages along the legislative process. So in the law-making bodies, there need to be far more women than we have currently. It is really disappointing to see the number of women in the National assembly and all levels fall in February (General) elections.
"And then in the police force through the judiciary. We need education at all of those levels as well.
"So I do think it’s about the law, in part about the sentencing and giving the message that this is serious, but also it’s about the application of those laws."
While speaking on sexual violence in areas of conflict, she said the British government is working towards helping victims of sexual violence in such areas.
“The impact of sexual violence in conflict areas on women is such a huge issue including here in Nigeria. Particularly in the North-East of the country where so many people including women and children are displaced.
“ So many women and girls have been abducted by Boko Haram and raped and then they come back to their community, they are rejected in their community. It is a huge issue. it's one way the British government is putting in a lot of support both with the survivors and the community to try to encourage reintegration and acceptance.”