Ever since women gathered in Beijing, in 1995 to deliberate on issues of concern to the women in general, issues on gender-based violence has gained much prominence in newspaper, magazines and books.
While some people suggest that the issue is being over flooded, others justify its constant publication, until the desired attention is attracted.
Gender-base cases have remained unbearably persistent in spite of the many voices raised against it. Rather than assuming the posture of a monster rejected by the public, it is perpetrated as a development welcomed and encouraged by the society.
By the day, different faces of this ugly monster emerge; ranging from physical, sexual, or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, be it in private or public life.
According to a recent UN Fund for Women’s (UNIFEM) report on violence against women, the physical harm ranks highest. The report states that on the average, at least six out of ten women have been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused by an intimate partner in the course of their life time.
In Nigeria in particular, there has been increasing reports of sexual abuse of infants and young girls, with ages ranging from two to sixteen years, in places such as homes, schools, and places of worship.
Following this trend, the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs Josephine Anenih, has joined millions of activists calling for an end to injustice against womanhood.
In her recently launched campaign tagged “Sixteen Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence Against Women”, the minister described the plight of the woman as a pathetic one she moans: “the story of violence against women is a sorry one; across the world, women remain vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.
Mrs Anenih, highlights the inadequacy of appropriate penalties to deter perpetrators of this inhuman act as a basic challenge in eliminating gender-based violence. According to her, it has been observed that there are obstacles in the enforcement of extant laws, procedures which make it extremely difficult for women to get relief from existing legal instruments.
Corroborating the point raised by the minister, some concerned citizens explained that “in Nigeria, most law enforcement officers, especially the police, traditionally treat cases relating to domestic violence against women differently from other violence crimes only to blame their poor response on the dearth of relevant laws to back up their intervention:, hence, painting a picture of a weak legal system in this regard.
Dr. Abiodun Ogundoyin of the engender project, a non governmental organisation, explains that the police’s nonchalant disposition to cases of domestic violence is predicated on the premise that it is some what regarded as a family problem which the police often try to avoid and whenever they handle such cases, they often resort to blaming the molested woman inspite of her victimisation, adding that “even in countries with strong legal systems, law enforcement institutions have historically responded to domestic and sexual violence with bias, neglect and mistreatment” .
However, Mrs Oby Nwankwo, Executive Director, Civil Resource Development and Documentation Centre (CRDDOC) does not view the Nigerian legal system as weak in dealing with violence against women.
She insists that the 1999 constitution has specific provision on fundamental human rights, including right to life, dignity of human beings and right not to be subjected to cruel inhuman and degrading treatments.
She added, “the criminal code prohibits unlawful assault occasioning harm and indecent assault. These various forms of assault do not exclude those perpetrated at home by persons such as husbands or in-laws- Nwankwo highlighted some laws enacted by some states House of Assemblies prohibiting some gender-base violence ranging from girl-child marriage and female circumcision as well as obnoxious widowhood practices etc.
However, inspite of all these machineries put in place to check the excesses of the perpetrators of these heinous acts on womanhood, Mr Osemhenjie Desmond, a programme officer in the Nigerian Office of (UNIFEM) still sees no succour in sight as women and girls continue to suffer molestation in the society.
All the same, stopping violence against women remains a moral imperative and all hands must be on deck to combat this heinous crime.
250,000 Women Suffering From VVF
No fewer 250,000 women are battling Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF) in the country.
However, only 3,000 of that number are fortunate enough to be attended to annually.
This was revealed by Board Chairman, North-East Development Commission (NEDC), Maj-Gen Paul Tarfa, during the flag-off of Free Fistula Repair Campaign Project (FFRCP) by the commission in collaboration with the Borno State Government, yesterday.
VVF is an abnormal fistulous tract extending between the bladder and the vagina that allows the continuous involuntary discharge of urine into the vaginal vault.
VVF patients are usually underage/child-brides, who develop the condition mostly after childbirth.
However, experts list the causes of VVF to include abdominal surgery (hysterectomy or caesarean section); pelvic, cervical, or colon cancer; radiation treatment; bowel disease like Crohn’s or diverticulitis; infection (including after an episiotomy or a tear you had when you gave birth) and traumatic injury, such as from a car accident.
Meanwhile, in his goodwill message at the ceremony, the NEDC Board Chairman, Maj-Gen Paul Tarfa, represented by the Board member North-West zone, Hajiya Asmau Mai-Eka Muhammadu, said only 3,000 of the 250,000 VVF victims get attended to.
According to Tarfa, “Statistics indicate that there are about 250,000 women awaiting repair in Nigeria, out of which only 3,000 are fortunate to be attended to annually.
“12,000 new cases develop every year with large numbers coming from the North-East due to the insecurity and increased poverty, which further hindered access to health care.
“It is, therefore, important that all efforts are made to bring succour to this vulnerable group of women to enable them pick the pieces of their lives, by offering them a new lease for meaningful existence within their respective communities.”
The wife of the governor, Dr. Falmata Zulum, flagged off the fistula repair project (FFRCP) at the Conference Hall, State Specialist Hospital in Maiduguri.
It was also revealed that 100 women victims have undergone successful corrective surgery at the hospital.
Assemblies Of God Women Move To Check Hypertension Prevalence
As the women of Assemblies of God, Ikwerre -South District, aka Canaan City, converged for a three-day religious summit in Alakahia, Port Harcourt, the need for a careful living to check the prevalence of high blood pressure, otherwise called hypertension, has been reechoed. This is part of the obligations of the management of the women department at the district level, at improving the wellbeing of its members.
Hypertension is a health condition in which the force of the blood against the artery walls is too high. Usually, it is defined as blood pressure above 140/90, and considered severe if the pressure is above 180/120.
Addressing participants at the conference, recently, Dr Okpako Ebruphiyo highlighted age, black race, family history, overweight and sedentary living as risk factors for hypertension and cautioned them against the intake of alcohol and table salt as such ingredients are not only capable of provoking high blood pressure, but could exacerbate its existence in the body.
The medical expert who emphasised the imperative for body relaxation as a measure against stress, called for regular exercise, regular medical checkup as well as intake of less carbohydrate with more vegetables. Referring to hypertension as a silent killer, she warned that a careless attitude towards it would lead to stroke, aneurysm, heart failure, weakened and narrowed blood vessels in kidneys, thickened, narrowed or torn blood vessels in the eyes. Others include metabolic syndrome, trouble with memory or understanding and dementia.
Hypertension is the most common modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in both men and women. The prevalence and severity of hypertension rise markedly with age, and blood pressure control becomes more difficult with aging in both genders, particularly in women. According to research, hypertension is less common in women, compared with men, in those younger than 65 years of age, but is more common in elderly (65 years and older) women than men.
As a primary risk factor for cardiovascular disease, keeping blood pressure under control is vital for preserving health and reducing the risk of these dangerous conditions.
By: Sylvia ThankGod-Amadi
Want Your Marriage To Work?
Everyone you marry has a weakness. Only God does not have a weakness. So if you focus on your spouse’s weakness you can’t get the best out of his/her strength.
Everyone has a dark history. No one is an angel. When you get married or you want to get married, stop digging into someone’s past. What matters most is the present life of your partner. Old things have passed away. Forgive and forget. Focus on the present and the future.
Every marriage has its own challenges. Marriage is not a bed of roses. Every good marriage has gone through its own test of blazing fire. True love proves in times of challenges. Fight for your marriage. Make up your mind to stay with your spouse in times of need. Remember the vow: For better for worse. In sickness and in health be there.
Every marriage has different levels of success. Don’t compare your marriage with that of any one else. We can never be equal. Some will be far, some behind. To avoid marriage stresses, be patient, work hard and with time your marriage dreams shall come true.
To get married is declaring war. When you get married you must declare war against enemies of marriage. Some enemies of marriage are:
Ignorance, Prayerlessness, Unforgiveness, Third party influence, Stinginess, Stubbornness Lack of love, Rudeness, Laziness, Disrespect, Cheating etc. Be ready to fight to maintain your marriage zone.
There is no perfect marriage. There is no ready – made marriage. Marriage is hard work. Volunteer yourself to work daily on it. Marriage is like a car that needs proper maintenance and proper service. If this is not done it will break down somewhere exposing the owner to danger, or some unhealthy circumstances. Let us not be careless about our marriages.
God cannot give you a complete person you desire. He gives you the person in the form of raw materials in order for you to mold the person into what you desire. This can only be achieved through prayer, love and Patience
Getting married is taking a huge risk. You can not predict what will happen in the future. Situations may change so leave room for adjustments. Husband can lose his good job or you may fail to have babies. All these require you to be prayerful otherwise you might divorce.
Marriage is not a contract. It is permanent. It needs total commitment. Love is the glue that sticks the couple together. Divorce starts in the mind and the devil feeds the mind. Never ever entertain thoughts of getting a divorce. Never threaten your spouse with divorce. Choose to remain married. God hates divorce.
Every marriage has a price to pay. Marriage is like a bank account. It is the money that you deposit that you withdraw. If you don’t deposit love, peace and care into your marriage, you are not a candidate for a blissful home.
So today let us pray for our marriages.
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