Hamid Fatimah Omotayo writes,
Gender-based violence (GBV) is a general term for any harmful threat or act directed at an individual or group based on actual or perceived biological sex, gender identity, and or expression, sexual orientation, and or lack of adherence to varying socially constructed norms around masculinity and feminity.
It is rooted in structural gender inequalities, patriarchy, and power imbalances. Violence against women and girls is one of the most prevalent human rights violations in the world. It knows no social, economic, or national boundaries. Worldwide, an estimated one in three women will experience physical or sexual abuse in her lifetime.
Gender-based violence undermines the health, dignity, security, and autonomy of its victims, yet it remains shrouded in a culture of silence.
Victims of violence can suffer sexual and reproductive health consequences, including forced and unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions, traumatic fistula, sexually transmitted infections including HIV, and even death.
GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE IN NIGERIA
The occurrence of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) is growing astronomical with the activities of the insurgency in North-East Nigeria.
From forced and early marriages to the physical, mental or sexual assault on a woman. According to the National Demographic Health Survey (NDHS) 2013, nearly 3 in 10 Nigerian women have experienced physical violence by age 15.
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) targeted areas of interventions to improve the gender-based violence policy environment at national and state levels.
The fund works with a variety of partners to provide survivors with medical, reproductive health services, and/or psychosocial care as part of our commitment to rehabilitate women and girls who have been abused and to help them overcome their ordeal.
GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE IN THE UNITED STATES
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is one of the UN’s leading agencies working to further gender equality and women’s empowerment and to address the physical and emotional consequences of gender-based violence.
UNFPA’s programmes offer psychosocial assistance, medical treatment, and rape kits to survivors, and promote the right of all women and girls to live free of violence and abuse.
The issue of gender-based violence reaches every corner of the world. The number of women and girls affected by this problem is staggering. According to World Health Organization (WHO) data from 2013, one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex, or abused in some other way – most often by someone she knows. One in five women is sexually abused as a child, according to a 2014 report.
WHO’s data also indicates that women who have been physically or sexually abused are 16 percent more likely to have a low-birth-weight baby, and they are twice as likely to have an abortion. In some regions, they are 50 percent more likely to acquire HIV, according to a 2013 report from United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).
Gender-based violence is not only a violation of individual women’s and girls’ rights. The impunity enjoyed by perpetrators, and the fear generated by their actions, affect all women and girls. It also takes a toll on a global level, stunting the contributions women and girls can make to international development, peace, and progress.
UNFPA plays a key role in addressing gender-based violence through its programs on sexual and reproductive health.
Health services are among the first places survivors of abuse seek assistance. As the lead UN agency working on sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights, UNFPA has critical opportunities to reach affected women and girls.
Additionally, most women – even in remote areas – are likely to seek family planning or maternal health services at least once in their lifetimes, making health care a critical entry point for violence-related information and assistance.
GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE IN CANADA
International Canada’s programmes transform gender relations by encouraging boys and girls, women and men to enjoy power with each other, rather than power over each other. However, 67% of Canadians know a woman who has experienced physical or sexual abuse.
Gender-based violence is all over the world and it needs to stop by:
Advocating with lawmakers and/or community leaders to promote gender equality, and to challenge GBV including practices like child, early, or forced marriage. Establishing and facilitating safe spaces and clubs.
Hamid Fatimah Omotayo is a 200 Level student of Education and Biology, Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto.