UNICEF: Perpetrators of violence against children in Nigeria are parents, teachers, caregivers

UNICEF: Perpetrators of violence against children in Nigeria are parents, teachers, caregivers

United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)

The United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, has identified parents, teachers, caregivers and neighbors as the main perpetrators of violence against children in Nigeria.

The World Children’s Rights Agency, speaking yesterday, in a keynote speech through its Child Protection Specialist, Dr. Olasunbo Odebode, lamented that the perpetrators of violence against children were generally people known to them.

While it also noted that 36 percent of married women experience gender-based violence in the country, UNICEF also noted that
the perpetrators of violence against women are their spouses and intimate partners.

The event was a webinar on the theme “The role of the media in promoting responsibility to end violence against women and girls”, organized by the Spotlight Nigeria Initiative.

Odebode said that at least 36 percent of women who have ever been married have experienced one form of violence or another from their spouse.

It revealed that women and girls were circumcised before the age of five in some parts of the country, raising the national prevalence to around 20 percent, adding that 19 percent of girls in Nigeria were married before the age of five. 15 years.

“31 percent of women between the ages of 15 and 49 have suffered physical violence, 9 percent of women have suffered sexual violence, women and girls with disabilities are twice as likely to be raped in any form.

“36 percent of ever married women have experienced physical, sexual or emotional violence from their spouses, 6 percent of women have experienced physical violence during pregnancy and 1 in 4 girls has experienced sexual violence” , said.

She listed the factors driving violence against women and girls to include them; Negative sociocultural norms, low status of women and children, especially girls, harmful practices, culture of silence, taboo and shame, low educational and economic status.

United Nations Resident Coordinator Mr. Edward Kallon, expressing concern about the massive increase in violence against women and girls at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, urged media professionals Communications and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to continuously work to break the culture of violence against women and girls in Nigeria.

“It is a threat that we cannot understand, but there are intricate issues that we must understand better; Mental health, poverty, and socio-cultural issues that need to be addressed.

The media play an important role in shaping public discourse to shape the narrative around violence against women and girls. Assume leadership in educating the realities of the implications and responsibilities of gender violence in this regard ”.

UNICEF Representative in Nigeria Peter Hawkins, who charged the Nigerian media with highlighting the role of men in ending violence against women and girls in the country, called on women to break the silence, tell their own stories and emphasize that they are the victims and not the problem.

“The shocking statistics and stories have to prompt us to do something very important and special to change the sculptural. We need to highlight the issues against violence against women and girls, break this culture of silence that prevails in homes, communities, villages and throughout the country.

“There is no forum where men can discuss these issues of sexual abuse. they hid it in their houses and black areas of their villages.
The media can highlight the debate and behavior change that is required, hold men accountable, and encourage men to discuss issues and bring them to light.

“It is necessary for women to feel safe to tell their stories, that they know that they are not the only ones and that they are the victims and not the problem, and make known what is happening.

Garba Shehu, Senior Special Advisor on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, who called on the Nigerian media to sensitize men and boys to the effects and consequences of violence against women and girls in the country, called on the UN to support Nigeria with the deployment of technology and jurisprudence necessary to address and end once and for all the threat of violence against women.

While noting that implementing the strategy of naming and shaming the perpetrators of such acts would deter many from participating in such activities, he frowned at the widespread use of the Internet to broadcast cases of child abuse and violence live, even as he noted that content that threatens national security, intimidates, harasses or affects the safety of women and children and vulnerable is unacceptable.

“If the media chooses to draw attention to rapists of women and girls, a lot of changes will take place. The fear of exposure is even more effective than even jail time, as witnessed in some places. The media can help by focusing on the victims who must be protected, but the offenders who must be named and shamed.

“We have many laws and legislations in this regard, but many of these laws have not gone far enough either and have not been very consistent in keeping Nigerian girls, boys and minorities safe. Organizations like the UN will do a lot of good to help us improve and strengthen our jurisprudence on the law and most importantly, the deployment of technology as part of the solutions.

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