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Globally, violence against the female gender has amplified especially since the aftermath of the 2020 covid 19 pandemic which came with a lot of restrictions on movement and social distancing dictates across the world. Adopting UNIFEM’s Report (2022), harmful actions directed towards a female, in a bid to dehumanize her due to her gender is gender-based violence.

According to Williams (2021), violence against women in Sub-Saharan Africa especially in Nigeria is contextually defined as physical, sexual, and psychological subjugation a man subjects a woman to, which is relatively domestic in nature. It can therefore be underlined as severe abuse of the woman’s human rights, while she undergoes life-threatening trauma. Notably, a trauma in this stance entails emotional, social, and psychological alienation of the woman from the rest of the world, such that she is helpless and prone to depression and might consider suicide. Gender-based violence could therefore be sexual, physical, psychological, or social which connotes the woman being marginalized or through social exclusion (Christenson, 2019).

Globally, about 736 million women and girls aged 15 years and above have been subjected to gender-based violence, while 35% of women have experienced either sexual or physical violence from their intimate partners. Also, 38% of women murdered globally have been by their partners (Jeff, 2022). Extant has confirmed that 1 in every 7 women has experienced GBV in their lifetime (CARE, 2018). It is necessary to note that women are at higher risk of violence than men. These females do not get the needed help from state and non-state actors.

In Nigeria, Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) in a report highlighted that from January 2018 through July 2022, there has be nothing less than 5,623 cases of gender-based violence reported in North-Eastern regions like Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa states. This denotes that Nigeria as a country has defaulted in its functionality in defending the female gender (Sanni, 2022).  One reason why victims prefer to keep these sad experiences to themselves is stigmatization from the male gender which thrives in Nigeria. Females are stigmatized for fear of what people would say and what their reportage of the culprit could result in (KPMG, 2017). Speaking up is then a difficult task for victims because they would be at greater risk when they speak up.

One of the ways of addressing the issue therefore is to create ways and platforms for victims to speak up and get heard through litigation succor victims could exploit just like the VAPP law instituted by former President Goodluck Jonathan. Since the adoption of the VAPP law, political commitment and willingness is lacking on the part of political actors and current leaders. Hence, why the menace thrives.

Another recommended way is for all forces (police, navy, army, and air force) to give measurable slots for women such that females can have the same gender to run to when in need of justice, as justice is one thing lacking in Nigeria for victims. A conducive atmosphere that is safer for victims to report incidents of violence and abuse aside from police stations and women’s affairs should be created for awareness among others. 

The VAPP law was instituted as a redress for the increased rate of wife battering and female molestation in Nigeria on May 25, 2015, to checkmate as well as censor the excessiveness of men in mishandling women (Nwazuoke, 2016). To date, only a few states have enforced these laws and only a few court proceedings have used the VAPP law as a yardstick as well. Children who have been abused witness their culprits going scot-free with no punishment at all, as that applies to adult women also.

It has also been noted that in some cases when a victim is silent or tries to hide violence, it is sometimes a defense mechanism or a way of absorbing a perpetrator’s guilt most especially if the perpetrator is an intimate partner. Whatever the reason, this problem can no longer be ignored, we can longer sweep it under the rug. The silence is stifling and it is never going to be okay to be silent, no longer should we encourage silence. The time has come to break the culture of silence, shame, denial, and blame. Enough is enough, it has to end now.

Conclusively, it is very obvious that a lot still needs to be done, all hands need to be on deck; our legal framework needs improvement, we must provide support for victims/survivors of sexual and gender-based violence, schools should include gender sensitization in their curricula and teacher training programs. Everyone including traditional rulers and religious leaders should adopt a zero-tolerance stance when it comes to Gender Based Violence.

Written by

Susan Oluwatosin Michael
Director For Women, Peace and Security

Reference List

CARE, J. (2018). Counting the Cost: The Price Society Pays for Violence Against Women, files/files/Counting_the_costofViolence.pdf.

Christenson, H. (2019). Violence Indicators and Tracker in Africa: PWAN, Available Online:

Jeff, I. (2022). Statistics on Gender-Based Violence across the world. Available online:

KPMG (2017). Too Costly to Ignore: The Economic Impact of Gender-based Violence in South Africa, Available on: costly-to-ignore.pdf.

Nwazuoke, A. (2016). A Critical Appraisal of the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act, 2015. Journal of Law, Policy and Globalization, 47(1), 69-76. Accessed on:

OnyekaIheako, U. (2015). Domestic Violence and its Predictors among Married Women in Southeast Nigeria. International Journal of Science and Research. 8(1), 562-569

Sanni, K. (2022, October 25) ‘Stop Gender-Based Violence’: 5,623 cases of sexual, gender-based violence recorded in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe— Report: Premium Times

UNDP Report (2022). Gender-Based Violence Factsheets: January 2020 – July 2022 (Accessed: December 6, 2022).

UNIFEM Report (2022). Portal on Women, Peace and Security. Available online:

Williams, O. (2021). Prevalence and human factors associated with intimate partner-based violence among married women in an urban community in Lagos State, Nigeria. African Journal of Reproductive Health, 9(1), 91-100.

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