November 25, 2019, may have come and gone, yet its echoes continue to resound in the global environment. At the United Nations (UN), the annual 16 Days campaign, which commences from the 25th day of November, through December 10, mobilizes not only the governments and public alike, it is also enthroning an atmosphere of hope and bright future, devoid of violence against women.
Although the theme of this year’s UN commemoration, “Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands against Rape!” strictly highlights the need to end the “rape culture” that is entrenched in our society, we must not forget that its focal point is on outright elimination of gender-based violence (GBV) or violence against women and girls (VAWG),which has become a global pandemic . Whether in situations of conflict, peace, or in our homes, rape is a fraction of Violence against women which study has revealed, affects 1 in 3 women in their lifetime.
Like rape which started gradually and suddenly became a terror that has sniffed away sleep from the eyes of the mighty, as both adult and young females are daily exposed to its menace irrespective of their locations, femicide; the killing of women, is soon becoming another dimension of violence against women which the world government and the society at large need to nib in the bud before it becomes a bug.
While the world was yet urging actions to end violence against women, on November 25, Rivers State was agog with the news of the corpse of a young lady discovered in a well of water at Rumuosi in Obio/Akpo Local Government Area of the State.
The young lady, simply identified as Miss Charity Ohaka, was allegedly murdered and her body thrown into a well by unknown persons.The body of the lady who until her death was said to be a popular money lender in the area was discovered in the well few days after she went missing.
This is in addition to an inexplicable killing of the Kogi People’s Democratic Party (PDP)’s women leader; Salome Acheju Abuh, right in her house, and the brutal attack unleashed on the Social Democratic Party (SDP)’s gubernatorial flagbearer, Barrister Natasha Akpoti, in Lokoja, the state capital before the recent gubernatorial election held in the Confluence State.
Of course we cannot be said to have forgotten so soon, the serial killer story that has been on the news for the past few months. For reasons of killing women and girls in hotels in Nigeria, hotel owners in PortHarcourt are now under statutory obligation to install closed- circuit television (CCTV) in their respective hotels, to be able to track the activities of killers.
Jean-Luc Mounier, a French journalist and research engineer, quoting a non governmental organisation, Féminicides par compagnons ou ex, (Femicides committed by partners or exes) reports that as at September 7, a total of 102 women have been killed in France since the beginning of this year.
For this reason, more than 250 anti-femicide posters were posted in the streets of Paris since the end of August. A peculiar feature of this new trend of violence against women as is observed in France, is that it is mostly perpetrated by victims’ partners or spouses.The names of these women — and dozens of other victims — have been meticulously recorded on the cobblestoned wall of Jardin Denfert, a convent-turned-art collective in Paris’s 14th Arrondissement (district) on the French capital’s Left Bank.
Jean reports that since August 30, dozens of women gather there every afternoon in a bid to engage people with France’s femicide problem. Women who want to pay homage to the victims had launched the campaign to”make passers-by and public authorities react”.
Ofcourse, the action of these women has actually paid off. Rebecca Amsellem, a women’s rights activist, penultimate Monday, spoke to France 24 about measures the French government had announced to step up fight against the scourge of domestic abuse. Yet, the NGO reitetates that “Since the government announced its plans to tackle domestic violence on July 6 and the measures having been put in place on September 3, 26 women have been killed.
Despite worldwide mobilizations led by survivors and activists in recent years through movements, violence, especially the ones perpetrated against women continues to be normalized and embedded in our social environments. From the trivializing of rape, victim-blaming, the objectification of women’s bodies in movies or TV, the glamorization of violence in ads, or the constant use of misogynistic language, Violence against women and girls has attracted undue prominence across the globe.
France’s share of this world’s ugly cake differs from the experiences of other countries in this regard and so is the various governments’ attitude towards its arrest.
How about men that had poured hot water or acid on their spouses as sheer expression of misogyny. The ones that use hot pressing iron on patners or female house maids as punitive measure for minor offenses. The list is inexhaustive. Many of these acts go unnoticed and undocumented especially the ones that didn’t culminate to death and the victims were expected to raise alarm. Their lack of courage to speak out for fear of further victimization and public’s stigmatization have not helped matters.
It is not only devastating for survivors of violence and their families, but also entails significant social and economic costs. In some countries, violence against women is estimated to cost up to 3.7% of their GDP – more than double what most governments spend on education.
It knows no social or economic boundaries and affects women and girls of all socio-economic backgrounds. Thus, this issue needs to be addressed in both developing and developed countries. Failure to address this issue would entail a significant cost for the future.
Numerous studies have shown that children growing up with violence are more likely to become survivors themselves or perpetrators of violence in the future.
We may not all be activists, or share the same opinions on other issues, but we can be united in the battle against GBV. It’s an issue that touches all of us, it could happen to anyone; to you, or someone close to you. We all have a role to play. It is petinent that we all be part of the efforts to end all forms of violence against women. This femicide must stop.
By: Sylvia ThankGod-Amadi
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