Though COVID 19 cases increase on daily basis but the crying we hear from every corner of Nigeria is that of rape and not death from COVID 19. The most gruesome ones are rape of minors even from six months old, 2 years old 4 years old and so on. Girls are raped and killed and rape of very old women like 80 years old and so on. No female is safe now in Nigeria. Baby, young, teenager, adult and very old, are all prone to rape. Not even in the street again the rapist break into houses to rape the women, girls and children.
It got to a stage that women activists round the country cried out and then the governors declared State of Emergency on Sexual and Domestic violence. Despite that the violence continues. Women and girls are now living in fear.
Wife battering has become the order of the day. Women are battered and most of the hospital are closed due to the pandemic which means there is no place to receive treatment. Many women would be no more after this pandemic not as a result of COVID 19 Virus but as a result of injury sustained from sexual and domestic violence. Many girls would not resume back to school, those who have not died would be nursing the unwanted pregnant they got as a result of sexual violence.
We only her of safe environment for women and girls in the news in Nigeria but in reality, no female gender is safe anywhere in Nigeria. Women and girls are not safe in the street, we are not safe in our homes and we don’t know where to run to.
We the grassroot activist are so overwhelmed that we are so confused and have no idea of how we can be helping women and girls in our community again. I think it is time that we all seat down globally, those in government and those working at the grassroot level, look into the cause of this surge and then explore the lasting solution to it.
In Nigeria most of the rapist are using their victim for money rituals and this is not far from the lack of employment opportunities and high poverty rate in the country. The youth love life and they want to enjoy it to the fullest, there is no employment for them, no hope of a better future even when they have suffered themselves to go to school.
Our wealth is the hand of very few people and they don’t hide as they and their children flaunt this wealth around in the country. And so, the youths also device their own means of getting rich by all means as they engage in either internet scam or money rituals. They use all kinds of female parts for all these rituals.
Women and girls are the one facing the heat of poverty, misappropriation of fund, bad leadership of the developing countries especially African countries. Serious conversation on sexual and domestic violence must start now! Conversations that will cut across all works of life, not some few people, conversation that will force government to do something concrete in their various country on sexual and domestic violence. African Countries especially Nigeria must look into laws on sexual and domestic and amend immediately. “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH”
We are going to intensify our advocacy on creating change in the area of sexual and domestic violence both on the radios, offline and online. Empowerment and support for survivors of sexual and domestic violence will be a serious priority during and after COVID 19 lockdown.
More men would be engaged to be part of the activism against Violence against women and men would also be targeted to be empowered to live with their female counterpart in peace and with mutual respect.
Government stake holders would be engaged to review laws and make new laws that will eradicate this menace in our society. Magistrates and judges would also be engaged to ensure justice are adequately served on cases of gender-based violence especially rape and other domestic violence.