Gender-based violence (GBV) or violence against women and girls (VAWG), is a global pandemic that affects 1 in 3 women in their lifetime.
Though the numbers are staggering 35% of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence. Globally, 7% of women have been sexually assaulted by someone other than a partner. Globally, as many as 38% of murders of women are committed by an intimate partner.
200 million women have experienced female genital mutilation/cutting. This issue 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 countries up to 3.7% of their GDP – more than double what most governments spend on education. In Niger state, 3 of every woman have witness GBV be it sexual, physical, or intimate partners violence, this was based on our survey in 2019.
Failure to address this issue also entails 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. One characteristic of gender-based violence is that it knows no social or economic boundaries and affects women and girls of all socio-economic backgrounds: this issue needs to be addressed in both developing and developed countries.
Decreasing violence against women and girls requires a community-based, multi-pronged approach, and sustained engagement with multiple stakeholders. The most effective initiatives address underlying risk factors for violence, including social norms regarding gender roles and the acceptability of violence.
In 2020, during the lockdown, where all family members are home doing nothing but to be with their families and loved ones, this increases the level of violence witnessed by our women and girls as most perpetrators are idle looking for the next victim. During the lockdown, some partners subjected their wives to sex objects while some really turned their wives into punching bags as they transfer aggression of locked at home which is naturally against all their wishes.
This also triggered some acts of violence that have been witnessing by some partners that only going to work in the money and coming back at night is patching, some partners cannot stay up to two hours without finding faults that will lead to the exchange of hands, punches amongst other.
Some women are willing to report the case or seek medical attention to make their health in good shape but the societal norms and total dependence on their husband or male guardian have stalled their action of seeking medical attention or approaching the issues from the legal angle.
This is what made Global Promoters for community initiatives to think of empowering identified women and girls to infused them into a support group and take them through skills acquisition in various fields ranging from soap making, production of bleach, izal, room freshener, making of some pastries such as bread, peanut amongst other.
The first batch identified women and girls as been taking through the production of soap and bleach at Suleja Local govt being the pilot LGA in the state as the successes will be replicated in other LGAs. Over 30 victims undergo this training that was conducted at Suleja Primary Health Care department, Suleja.
The support group created has been the coordinating entity in the LGA coordinating the monthly meeting and see how they can be of help to others. The support group will also identify more victims to be enrolled in the skill acquisitions program after making some findings.
Indeed, our approach is really working as many women want to be independent on their as they also want to have financial freedom. They also believe if they could put what was impacted in them to use, they will be able to stand financially and share their testimony with others to have a violence-free society.
GPCI are also in need of more support to repackage its program as a start-up kit needed to be given to this victim to make them produce enough product that will be able to bring more income for the victims.
We are also seeking strong collaborations from partners to enable us to target housewives that could not even come out and speak up on the level of violence they are undergoing, so they could hide under the housewife programme.