Violence again Women is a complex multidimensional phenomenon, an enduring form of gender based discrimination which is a violation of human rights and a continuous manifestation of unequal power relations which according to the Violence against Persons Prohibition Act is manifested as Rape, Physical Injury, Female Genital Mutilation, Forceful Ejection of Spouse from Home, Depriving a Woman of her Liberty, Economic Abuse, Psychological Abuse, Harmful Widowhood Practices, Stalking, Intimidation, Harmful Traditional Practices, Spousal Battery, Attack with Harmful Substance, Political Violence, and Incest.
Nigeria is a signatory to a wide range of regional and global documents such as 1979 Convention of Elimination of all Forms of Violence against Women (CEDAW), 2003 Maputo Protocol-Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa , 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action all of which seeks to protect women and Girls but due to cultural and religious biases, absence of social protection, conflicts and lack of strong political will Women and Girls are still exposed to violence which limits their capabilities for effective participation in the state and market even as statistics from Nigeria Demographic Health Survey (NDHS) 2013 indicates that 28 percent of women in Nigeria aged 15–49 have experienced some form of physical or sexual violence. Worthy of mention is the gruesome murder of Mrs. Salome Abuh Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) Women State Leader in the November 2019 Kogi State Governorship Election. Violence against Women in Nigeria is rooted in the patriarchal cultures which promotes Gender Inequality and the supremacy of men over women and boys over girls leading to unequal opportunities and power differences between men and women as it denies women their basic rights and freedoms.
Effectively addressing Violence against Women in Nigeria would require a multi pronged approach which includes but not limited to –
- A change in the school curriculum which currently stereotype the role of Men and Women
- Promoting the Rights of Women in the State Market and Household
- Eradication of harmful traditional practices against Women.
- Women leadership quotas in the Federal and State legislatures.
Finally, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals cannot be achieved without the inclusion of Women in all facets of Economic and Social Policies. Nigeria as the Giant of Africa must begin to lead by example in ensuring that Women are no longer marginalized but contributing effectively to the growth of the nation and the African Continent not in competition with the men but working harmoniously side by side as Gender Equality is not a battle of the sexes.