AN ADVOCACY FOR PUBLIC HEALTH APPROACH

Gender-based violence(GBV) is defined as violence directed against a person because of that person gender or violence that affects persons of a particular gender disproportionately (European Commission, n.d.). Violence against women means gender-based violence that can result in physical harm, sexual harm, psychological, economic or any suffering to women.

Domestic violence usually can present in the form of physical, sexual, psychological or economic violence that occur within the family, domestic unit or intimate partners. About 22% of all women who have had partners from age 15 have experienced physical or sexual violence (European Commission, n.d.).

THE NIGERIA CONTEXT

In Nigeria, GBV remains a challenge that has constrains women autonomies and opportunities significantly. The Nigeria Demographic Health Survey (NDHS) 2013 indicates that 28% of women in Nigeria aged 15-49 have experienced some form of physical or sexual violence. Unfortunately, the situation is getting worse, and there is little response from public health perspectives. Most of the victims are ashamed to speak out, especially children and adolescents because of intimidation, fear and stigmatization. Part of the solution to this menace is the public health intervention approach which will aim to educate, inform and empower women in the communities. An approach that will incorporate GBV at the community health and faith-based organizations in the communities will be far-reaching in changing Behaviors, attitude and knowledge both in the victims and the culprits and as well change inequality skewed against women in the society

 


 

ADDRESSING  THE INJURIOUS SOCIO-CULTURAL NORMS CAN STEM THE TIDE     

Socio-cultural norms can be defined as a set of rules or expectations of behaviour and thoughts based on shared beliefs within a specific cultural or social group. It may be unspoken, norms that offer social standards for appropriate and inappropriate behaviour that govern what is and not acceptable in interactions among people (WHO, 2009)

Various researches in Africa have identified socio-cultural factors as influencing the Gender-based violence, practices such as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), sexual assault, forced and early marriage has an association to socio-cultural practices. While FGM is now on the decline, other GBV practices have not changed across the continent. Indeed, many campaigns are now ongoing in Nigeria, particularly on GBV. However, little will be achieved until there is a holistic program that addresses gender inequalities and anti-sexual ideologies that are embedded in the socio-cultural norms.

It is therefore pertinent to identify socio-cultural norms that endanger the right of women and address them from all platforms

 


 

ADDRESSING GENDER INEQUALITY A PERFECT SOLUTION

The European Institute for Gender Equality defined gender inequality as a legal, social and cultural situation in which sex or gender determine different rights and dignity for women and men. It is  reflected in the unequal access to or enjoyment of rights, as well as an assumption of stereotyped social and cultural roles. GBV is one of the most severe forms of gender inequality, posing a fundamental barrier to the equal participation of women in social, economic and political spheres (World Bank, 2009).

There are cross-continental agreements among experts and researchers on a strong relationship between GBV and Gender inequality. In recent time, we have witnessed a tremendous rise in cases of GBV across the states in Nigeria while gender inequality remains unaddressed. If socio-cultural norms are skewed against the women and girls at the level of family, communities, and the nation such can affect the knowledge, attitude and behaviour towards women and girls. The resultant effect of such inequality against women will cause dislocation in terms of education, economy and politics. While government at all tiers and other NGOs are struggling to overcome GBV in our society but practical and tangible steps are little on the ground to change behaviour and attitude towards gender inequality at the grass-root level

Therefore, to win the war on GBV, we must have pragmatic steps that involve Community-based and Faith-based organizations that address gender inequality 

DR TIJANI SALAMI
MBBS, MPH