Abuja, Nigeria. November 28th, 2017 – The United Nations (UN) International Dayfor the Elimination of Violence against Women was observed worldwide on the 25th of November. The aim of the Day was to raise public awareness on the issue of violence against women around the world and at all levels of society; ranging from assault and battery to all forms of sexual assault other forms of violence, as well as emphasizing that the scale and nature of the issue is often hidden. The theme of the campaign for 2017 was “Leave no one behind: end violence against women and girls.” This theme reinforced the UNiTE Campaign’s commitment to a world free from violence for all women and girls around the world, while reaching the most underserved and marginalized, including refugees, migrants, minorities, indigenous peoples, and populations affected by conflict and natural disasters, amongst others, first. According to the former Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon during the 2016 celebrations, “violence against women and girls is a human rights violation, public health pandemic and serious obstacle to sustainable development”. He added that it imposes large-scale costs on families, communities and economies and that the world cannot afford to pay this price.
Violence against women and girls is one of the most prevalent human rights violations in the world. Globally, it is estimated that one in three women will experience physical or sexual abuse in her lifetime. It has become common to see women violated in different aspects of life by their male counterparts, be it their fathers, brothers, husbands or total strangers. Unfortunately, women bear the brunt of violence in our society and silently cover them up to avoid stigmatization or protect their families. In recent times in Nigeria, there have reportedly been several cover-ups of cases of violence against women which in turn drives its pervasiveness, and making issues of sexual harassment, trafficking in women and girls, early marriage, female genital mutilation etc. epidemics plaguing Nigeria and the world at large according to the Journal of Politics and Law. For instance, an NGO, Christian Women for Excellence and Empowerment in Nigeria (CWEENS), through its National Coordinator, Prof. Funmi Para-Mallum, during a high-level Advocacy and Policy Dialogue initiated by the Plateau state government in June 2017, disclosed that Plateau state recorded 482 cases of violence against women and girls between 2015 to early 2017.
In commemoration of the November 25th Day, NOIPolls reflects on some findings from its past poll on domestic violence in Nigeria, highlighting the rising prevalence of domestic violence against women. For instance, the poll which was conducted in June 2016 in partnership with Project Alert, revealed that domestic violence against women is very prevalent in the Nigerian society, despite the prohibition by Section 34 (1) of the 1999 Constitution, which guarantees the rights of all against torture and/or degrading treatment and this is the same across all geo-political zones (see figure below). Children were also found to be at the receiving end of domestic violence in Nigerian homes as 79 percent stated that domestic violence against children was prevalent.
Furthermore, 54 percent reported they have personally suffered or know someone who suffered some sort of domestic violence and of this proportion, 75 percent revealed that the victims were majorly women and majority of the respondents who gave this assertion were females. The Nigerian Senate, during one of its plenary session on Tuesday, May 23rd 2017, expressed concern over the incessant rise in sexual assault and domestic violence reported against women and children. While presenting a motion titled “Urgent need to investigate the alarming rate of Rape and Sexual Assault against Women, Children and Vulnerable people across the Country”, Sen. Bala Ibn Na’allah noted with dismay, that the steady increase in the reported cases of sexual and domestic violence against women calls for a quick redress and he further stressed that perpetrators constitute a threat to society’s security. He also cited relevant statistics released by the Lagos State Government and publications by the Human Rights Watch, which buttressed that majority of such cases, were often never concluded nor able to secure fruitful convictions of accused persons.
In conclusion, data has shown that violence against women is quite prevalent and is found in every strata of the Nigerian society irrespective of age, class, tribe or education. No region in Nigeria is spared although the degree of violence varies from one culture to the other. For instance, some cultures in Nigeria allow child marriage which leads to the girl-child bearing children before her body is fully developed whereas in some cultures, it is allowed for women to be physically abused by their husbands as a way of correcting them. There are also cases of young girls being frequently sexually abused and defiled, sometimes by very close relatives and those that are supposed to protect them.
Violence against women is a violation of human rights that cannot be justified by any political, religious, or cultural claim and this unwholesome act has led to the deformity and in extreme cases death of many women in Nigeria. Hence, there should be sustainability in the struggle against acts of violence on women by regularly. Government, civil society organisation (CSOs) and all other stakeholders should combine efforts in educating the society, especially the male gender through seminars and workshops, revealing the evils of violence against women, combined with gender equality training and community-based initiatives that address gender disparity. Finally, laws and policies protecting the rights of women should be properly enforced in response to the phenomenon of domestic violence.
This press release has been produced by NOIPolls Limited to provide information on all issues which form the subject matter of the document. Kindly note that while we are willing to share results from our polls with the general public, we only request that NOIPolls be acknowledged as author whenever and wherever our poll results are used, cited or published.
NOIPolls hereby certifies that all the views expressed in this document accurately reflect its views of respondents surveyed for the poll, and background information is based on information from various sources that it believes are reliable; however, no representation is made that it is accurate or complete. Whilst reasonable care has been taken in preparing this document, no responsibility or liability is accepted for errors or fact or for any views expressed herein by NOIPolls for actions taken as a result of information provided in this report. Any ratings, forecasts, estimates, opinions or views herein constitute a judgment as at the date of this document. If the date of this document is not current, the views and content may not reflect NOIPolls’ current findings and/or thinking.