Violence against women is quite pervasive. Studies have shown that globally, domestic violence accounts for nearly one quarter of all recorded crimes.
Women have been subjected to various forms of violence ranging from rape, battering, trafficking, and most sadly murder.
Recently a certain woman was gruesomely murdered and dismembered by one Kazeem whom she went to for spiritual consultation. How so easy it is for some men to commit these violent acts on women! Almost like the female specie is such a disposable item that can be folded and disposed at will.
Domestic violence affects women in Nigeria irrespective of age, class, educational level and place of residence.
Sometimes I am left wondering if the Nigerian law and custom should be blamed. Over centuries our traditions and belief has categorised a woman as an object to be acquired by men therefore making them a secondary being to the menfolk. This is very central to why women are often treated badly, like they almost not as human as the men.
Gender-based violence is perhaps one of the most terrifying illustrations of inequality between male and female. Violence against women is entrenched in the family, institutionalise by the social structure and driven by patriarchal arrangement.
Sadly, there is no specific or direct national law that protects the right of women against violence in Nigeria. Even where the law exists, they are inadequate or limited in scope because of the undue burden placed on the victims to discharge the burden of proof.
Most of the times some of the laws are masked in provisions that are gender biased and sometimes the women victims are not aware of the existence of the laws.
A nursing mother of two month old baby, Mrs Toyin Adeyeye was beaten up by policemen at Ado Ekiti check point recently because she refused bribing the officers at check point while driving with her mother. The policemen who did this refuted the allegations and claimed she was being disrespectful to them by gripping their uniform when an argument ensued.
Though this mentioned incident is assault, not domestic violence related, the scary part is this, a man that can so openly assault a woman without any doubt will be violent towards the wife, sisters or any female relative.
This officer, if he has a wife or female relative and he treats them well, am very sure he would not have done what he did. He did what he did to the full glare of the public because that is his way of communicating anger towards women. What a weak man he is.
Accusations and counter accusations. But does it really matter? when the institution as the Nigerian Police Force who are supposed to be on the fore front of the campaign against violence on women, against hitting a woman for any reason at all let alone a nursing mother, when the police are the ones doing the abuse themselves, then what is the fate of women in Nigeria?
As far as these particular policemen were concerned, this nursing mother deserves to be thoroughly beaten for disrespecting them.
Measures should be taken to increase the number of women police officers to ensure their availability in the police for gender-violence related investigations. This will not only bring into place a better understanding of the problem, but will encourage women to come forward and make reports.
Domestic violence is a serious social, economic and psychological problem that is rampant in Nigerian society. It has profoundly destructive consequences for Nigerian men, as well as women and children.
To end this problem is our collective responsibility. The state must reform the laws and back up the process with a national awareness campaign against all forms of domestic violence.
Domestic violence also needs to be removed from the purview of civil law and made a criminal offence to stop this shameful idea of always calling it a “husband and wife matter”. The courts need to be strengthened to treat domestic violence cases with dispatch. Religious leaders should be encouraged to spread the campaign on violence against women in their congregations.
Violence against women right now is at an alarming rate! It’s time for everyone to rise against this menace. Don’t say it doesn’t affect you. Because one way or the other it affects everyone directly or indirectly, psychologically, emotionally, economically, socially and otherwise both men and women alike.
Let us all join hands to #SayNoToWomenViolence.
Written By Frank Iyke