The Federation of Female Lawyers (FIDA), on Wednesday, stressed the need for institutions and communities to be proactive and develop policies that prevent every form of Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) and ensure perpetrators are dealt with according to the law.
The National President of FIDA, Ms Rhoda Tyoden, made the call at a news conference in Abuja to mark the start of the 16 Days of Activism on Ending Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Against Women and Girls.
The 16 Days of Activism Against GBV is an international campaign to challenge violence against women and girls.
The campaign runs every year from Nov. 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to Dec. 10 December, which is Human Rights Day.
The activism days has “Orange the World: End Violence Against Women NOW!” as its theme for 2021.
Tyoden, while decrying the increasing number of reported cases of GBV in the country, described it as “a clear gross violation of fundamental human rights.
“GBV is one of the most extreme expressions of unequal gender relations in our society,
accordingly it remains a critical factor for the optimum contribution and development of women and girls in our society,” she said.
She further regretted that women and the girl-child were subjected in many climes to live and survive in domestic settings that threatened their existence and proper development.
She added that “the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown showed more than ever that women are the most disadvantaged in the society, as it fueled an exponential increase in VAWG through domestic and physical abuse, rape, psychological abuse, Female Genital Mutilation, early marriage, among others.”
She quoted World Health Organisation (WHO) report as indicating that globally, one in three women had been subjected to either physical and/or sexual violence by intimate partner or non-partner at some point in their lifetime, maintaining that “the statistics is worrisome and cannot be ignored.
“We acknowledge that the theme is apt and appreciate the emphasis on ending the violence NOW. All persons are born free, equal and must be respected and protected.
“Women and indeed girls must be kept safe from all forms of violence,” she stressed.
She proffered new tools in the prevention and elimination of VAWG, stressing the need for increased awareness and advocacy efforts; Sharing knowledge, intervention strategies and innovations.
She said institutions and communities must therefore be proactive and develop policies that prevent and deal with abuse to act as deterrent.
She noted that “there is urgent need to address the gendered impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women and girls in West African Commonwealth countries.
“Legislators and the executive members of governments should act fast in ending violence against women and girls in the region.
“This call remains a desideratum as the rate of violence still escalates, and is still at an all-time high due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on women and girls which is fueled by patriarchy and misogyny. These must all be stopped now, “she stressed. (NAN)