As the United Nations (UN) marks international day of elimination of violence against women on Thursday, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Women’s Rights and Health Project (WRAHP), has reminded government on the need to urgently pay attention to the issue of violence against women.
Bose Ironsi, Executive Director WRAHP, told Daily Independent on Wednesday that the issue of violence against women should call for national emergence, maintaining that serious action plan should be put in place by government. She pointed out that a situation where government had continued to pay lip service was no longer acceptable.
Ironsi said that globally, December 5 had been dedicated by the United Nations as International Day for elimination of violence against women and the government should be able to make remarkable improvements in that area. She said that a situation where a woman was killed in Kogi State because she was a politician was not acceptable.
She stressed that if the issue was not nipped in the bud, Nigeria would begin to raise children that would take violence against women as a cultural norm.
“The legal process of getting justice in Nigeria is very long for somebody who is abused or violated. When the victim or survivor gets to the police, they would complain of lack of resources. A woman who was raped could face up to 10 years seeking justice, and sometimes the victims are tired. I would advocate for free legal services for all gender-based violence, because you discover that sometimes these victims don’t have the resources to prosecute the cases and that is why some of them find it difficult to report some cases of abuses.
“Special courts across the country should be designated for gender-based violence, and they should provide free legal services. Shelters should be provided for victims to escape the scenes of violence even if it is temporarily. Our women should know that separation does not mean divorce for some victims who would be afraid of leaving the homes for fear of being seen as committing sin. Faith based organizations should also join in enlightening their people. Culture supporting violence against women should be done away with. Sensitisation should also get to rural areas because that is the environment where you have so much unreported cases of abuses,” she said.