So Gender based violence guys, honestly this is not a topic I am very happy to write about just because at this time, in this era GBV should not be a thing unfortunately however it’s quickly becoming a norm and I find that I cannot be mute on this issue so I decided to shed light on it and see how this evil can be brought to an abrupt halt. Understand that GBV is violence that is directed against a person on the basis of gender which means it involves both men and women, ultimately though the female is usually the target. It is also paramount to know that GBV against women is a human right violation in the world; it doesn’t have any social, economic or national boundaries. In my opinion it’s just a major form of discrimination against women and I won’t stand for it.
Physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring in the family; including battering, intimate partner violence (marital rape, forced marriage, dowry related violence, female genital mutilation, feticide i.e. act of destroying a fetus), sexual violence, non spousal violence and violence related to exploitation are some of the types of GBV’s but learn that gender based violence doesn’t mean violence from your family alone ( family violence). There’s also such a thing as community violence; where the perpetrator of the violence is unknown or unrelated to the woman and this often comes in form of forced prostitution, rape or sexual harassment (this could be at work or school) and state violence; violations committed by individuals associated with the government e.g. violence at the hands of a police officer, prison guard, refugee camp guard and even peace keeping troops. Girls, ladies, women please and please if you are currently going through any of these kinds of violations please report to someone, if you don’t know who to report to then keep reading, I got ya! (If you do still keep reading 😊)
Okay there’s more important stuff I think you should know. Pay attention!!
MYTHS SURROUNDING INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE
Obviously there are other kinds of GBV’s as mentioned above but I find that intimate partner violence and sexual violence are the more common ones, so I figured I should let you know what’s untrue and without a determinable basis of fact.
Myth 1: Violence is a normal part of any relationship. Aunties please I’m not saying people shouldn’t have arguments in their relationships, but when a man raises his hand to hit you then please flee. “He lost control for a quick second’” is not an excuse you should be making for him. For him it’s more about gaining control through the use of threats, intimidation and yes violence. Violence in a relationship is not normal! The dishonourable act should never be justified.
Myth 2: Men and women are equally violent to each other. People can’t really believe this, can they? I agree that a man can be domestically abused however the majority of people affected by GBV particularly intimate partner violence are female and perpetrators usually husbands or former husbands. Research has proven that this is true.
Myth 3: Domestic violence happens only to a certain type of person. GBV is a universal problem; it doesn’t happen to only a specific kind of people. Again aunties please don’t let some guy make you believe you’re some type of way and you need to be abused, he’s wrong and you’re so much stronger than you think you are, you would know if you just give yourself a chance
Myth 4: GBV only includes physical abuse (hitting, punching, biting, slapping, pushing, etc.). Physical abuse is one form of violence. International law defines violence against women as “any act of gender based violence that results in, or is likely to result in physical, sexual or mental harm or suffering to women”. It’s important to know this as many women suffer from GBV and don’t even realize it.
Myth 5: GBV is caused by substance abuse such as alcohol and/or drugs. Aunties never let him blame it on alcohol. Substance abuse maybe a contributing factor but definitely not the cause of violence, if he blames it on drugs, he lies! Not all perpetrators use drugs or alcohol and not all substance users are violent, shikena!
Myth 6: Women should tolerate violence to keep the family together. Ladies please, we all have the right to a life free of violence, you should not feel obligated to stay in an abusive relationship for your family’s sake, also abuse is a learned behaviour, so don’t do a disservice to your children by raising them in such environments so they don’t uphold this repugnant behaviour. It is important as a woman to empower yourself, this makes you independent and able walk away from an abusive relationship with your dignity intact.
Myth 7: Domestic violence is a private family matter, in which the state has no right to intervene. How a man treats his wife is a private matter. I can’t begin to emphasize how inaccurate this is. Violence against women is a human rights violation not just in Africa but the world at large so don’t be deceived, it is not a family matter don’t wait until the olori ebi is back from his holiday. Speak out and get help now!
Myth 8: Sex workers cannot experience rape. Any man who forces a woman into a sexual act against her will is committing rape irrespective of her lifestyle choices.
Myth 9: A man cannot rape his wife. Rape is rape; it should not be defined by the identity of the perpetrator or the survivor but by the action itself. Some lady says “my husband raped me”, some other lady replies “how is that even possible?” allow me explain again aunty, if a man forces sexual intercourse on a woman it’s rape, simple. Unfortunately not all jurisdictions recognize marital rape as a criminal offense, resulting in impunity of rape committed by intimate partners.
Myth 10: Most GBV is perpetrated by strangers. As much as you need to be weary of strangers or outsiders be weary also of family members that give you reason to. Studies have shown that many women experience GBV at the hands of a person close to them, the perpetrator could be a current or former husband, boyfriend, father, uncle, guardian or even a friend.
If you live in Nigeria and are experiencing domestic violence or abuse or you know someone else in danger, you can reach out to any of these organizations to get help –
Women Empowerment and Legal Aid
25, Adekunle Fajuyi Way,
GRA Ikeja, Lagos.
Email: [email protected]
08021063232, 08120799122, 08058143602
Another Chance Women’s Home Funke Felix-Adejumo Foundation Tel: 08035066656, 08180299999
PROJECT ALERT www.projectalertnig.org , [email protected]
21 Akinsanya Street off Isheri road, Taiwo Bus stop Ojodu Berger 08052004698, 08180091072
ABUJA OFFICE: 26 Bamenda Street, off Abidjan Street, Wuse Zone 3
MIRABEL CENTRE Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) 070313491769, 08176275732
Finally guys, here is my thought on this distasteful issue; this is a battle we need to fight together. The quickest way to deal with gender based violence in my opinion is to first of all address the topic of gender inequality in our society. Can we stop attaching social and cultural meaning to the biological differences between a man and woman? We definitely can and must. For a better Nigeria and a better world we must love and respect each other completely. Ladies, learn to speak out, not just for yourselves but also for your children and the next generation. By speaking out you may encourage someone else to do so thereby saving not just your life but others.
So I hope you guys have been able to learn a thing or two; I created this space to enlighten and reach out to EVERYONE on so many different issues and I want this space to be as interactive as possible so please leave your thoughts, questions and suggestions in the comment section, I would really appreciate your feedback.
Thank you and God bless.
Live & Learn