The Women’s Optimum Development Foundation, on Saturday, stated that the harsh economic realities bedeviling the nation have partly influenced the high rate of sexual and gender-based violence.
The foundation also noted that the effects of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic had made some men lose their ‘breadwinner’ status.
This was disclosed in a space on X (formerly Twitter) as organised by the Wole Soyinka Centre on the theme, ‘Activism against Gender-Based Violence.’
The chairperson, International Foundation of Women Lawyers Nigeria, Lagos-Epe Zone, Olufunke Oduwole, said, “The economic hazards resulting from post-COVID is high in Nigeria, regardless of your social strata. Many relationships or marriages have experienced violence.”
Oduwole noted that culturally, African families have been raised to live in a society where men are the providers of their families.
She added that, however, the effects of the economic hardship have played down this role, which consequently, has partly led to domestic acts of violence in many homes.
“For us, GBV could be about relationship or marriage. But before any physical scuttle starts, there’s bound to be a psychological effect,” adding that the rate of violence has increased over time.
Oduwole also stated that victims of domestic and sexual violence can reach out to FIDA whenever related issues occur, adding that the foundation is easily accessible.
She noted that the media has key roles to play in GBV, part of which is a responsible reportage on related incidents and thus, allowing relevant organisations to be aware of the matter to take action.
Oduwole disclosed that people fighting in the cause of GBV should not just “talk the talk, but walk the talk.”
Concluding her speech, the FIDA chairperson said it had reached a point where GBV should be declared a national emergency, “I think GBV has reached a rather alarming level in our country.”
On his part, a consultant on Human trafficking migration and policy development, Dr. Godwin Morka, said that economic hardship had caused much pressure on men.
Morka also attributed sexual violence and trafficking to some parents who lure their female children into prostitution.
He noted that likewise, some Nollywood movies have made young men believe that moneymaking has become an overnight miracle due to the severity of some movies that promote internet fraud and ritual making.
The consultant said for the society to become sane and reduce the level of SGBV, parents, religious leaders and relevant stakeholders have key roles to play in the society.
He also noted that in some communities and schools, young girls have been subjected to sexual violence, and then they have nowhere to report to.
Therefore, he advocated that the awareness of SGBV should be tailored towards the grassroots.
Hence, the awareness level against SGBV should be raised to the bar, Morka noted.