The General Secretary of the Christian Council of Nigeria, Dr Evans Onyemara has said the increase in gender-based violence is largely due to increase in armed conflict, humanitarian emergencies and natural disasters.
Onyemara, who spoke at the event to 16 Days of Activism: Ending Violence Against Women and Girls in Abuja, said that sexual and gender-based violence not only undermines the safety, dignity, overall health and human rights of the abused. It also affect public health, socioeconomic well-being and security of communities.
In his words “The harmful practices of child marriage and female genital mutilation prevalent across the country, trafficking in women, girls and children have resulted in heightened vulnerability manifested in stigmatization and rejection by families and communities.”
According to him, “There is a common trend to see women defenders routinely targeted with harassment, hate speech, discrimination, dissemination of personal or intimate information, defamation and other forms of online violence to silence and punish their public participation in social media.”
He stressed that gender inequality, injustice and gender-based violence have to end, therefore, all citizens and duty bearers of Nigeria, including organizations and network groups should not give up in the fight for equity.”
To achieve the goal, he noted, there is an urgent need to dismantle the connections between religion and culture that relegate women to the private sphere, where violence most frequently occurs.
Also, the Country Director of Christian Aid Nigeria, Mr Temitope Fashola said data gathered from abuses is alarming adding that there is a lot of misinterpretation of the scriptures where they have disallowed women from public participation.
He said the country needs to make women participate fully for growth at all levels.
He further called on the federal government to prioritize the protection of women human rights activists, also urged that the perpetrators of such act be squarely dealt with for proper balance in the system.