Academic journal article Ife Psychologia

Gender Based Violence: A Nigeria Experience

Academic journal article Ife Psychologia

Gender Based Violence: A Nigeria Experience

Article excerpt

The paper has examined the prevalence of Gender Based Violence (GBV) in Nigeria. It was discovered that violence against women is a common phenomenon in society and that the majority of the Nigerian people do not consider it a problem or crime. The paper recommended aggressive education and training that cuts across every strata of the society. Furthermore, it insisted that a collective measure that comprises all stakeholders such as the local, state and federal government as well as all the international agencies are required for the effective eradication of Gender based Violence in Nigeria.

Gender based violence (GBV) is known as Violence Against Women (VAW). The two would be used interchangeably in this paper. According to a paper from the United Nations in 1997, gender based violence, is "any act of gender based violence the results of which is likely to result in physical sexual, psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such act, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty whether occurring in public or private life (WHO,2005)

From this definition, GBV refers to different forms of harmful behaviours directed against women and girls as result of their sex. There are therefore many types of GBV; physical and psychological. These could be in the form of wife battering, torture, early force marriage, sexual harassment, assault or rape, female genital mutilation (FGM) widowhood and inheritance, human trafficking, violence against women and legal constraints, kidnapping or Abduction, Acid bathing and so on.

GBV predominantly occurs worldwide despite the provision for equal rights and status as stipulated in international legal instruments which have dealt extensively with this issue. These legal instruments include:

1. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1945

2. The Convention the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) 1979

3. The Declaration of the Elimination of Violence against Women, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1993.

4. The Vienna Declaration and World Conference on Human Right

5. The platform for Action from the United Nations Fourth World Conference on women held in Beijng.

All those instruments established that any type of GBV is a violation or abuse of women's rights (Kira, 2004).

In spite of these efforts which were ratified by many countries, violence against women is on the increase. This was attested by the UN General Secretaiy: " Violence against women and girls continues unabated in every continent and culture. It takes a devastating toll on women's lives of their families, and society as a whole. Most societies inhibit such violence-yet the reality is that too often, it is covered up or tacitly condoned'. (Ban Ki-Moon, 2007)

Rand [1997] noted that cases of domestic violence are the most prevalent of all forms of GBV. It is observed to be a major international social and public health problem, regardless of the economic status of the nation UN [2006)

Globalization has subjected many countries in the world today to economic and social pressures, which affect the behaviour of many individuals. It is estimated that about 50% of the world's female population have suffered some form of abuse at some point in their lifetime from someone related to them (Reprowatch, 2000). The UN also estimated that at least one in eveiy three women suffers domestic violence in form of being coerced into sex or otherwise abused in her lifetime from the hands of those who claim to either protect or love them; the abuser is usually known to them (UN, 2006). Millions of women and girls suffer from violence in times of peace as well as war. These can occur at the hands of state or in the home. Resultantly, women are beaten, raped, mutilated and killed, usually with impunity (WHO, 2013; Lawson, 2003; Dutton, 2006).

Likewise, Otoo-Oyortey (10) commented on the response to this worldwide problem. He lamented that even though more than 166 countries have ratified the UN convention on the elimination of all forms of violence against women and have made provisions to protect women against violence in their constitution and criminal codes, only 44 countries particularly protect women against domestic violence. …

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