Borno State Commissioner Of Women Affairs Urges Stakeholders To End Gender Based Violence, Make Society Safe For Girls, Women

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Borno State Commissioner of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Zuwaira Gambo has called on policy makers, parents, institutions, NGOs, CBOs, CSOs, individuals and other organizaions to emabark on campaign to end gender based violence against girls and women. This, she stated will bring about a safe society for girls and women.

She noted that rape has a globally common phenomenon and act that has been attached to power, culture and beliefs in the society which require specific attention and political will to secure a safe and better society for survival of girls and women.

The State Commissioner stated this yesterday at a 16 day activism against gender based violence in the society with 2019 theme: “Stand Against Rape. Say No To Silence” which was organized by the Borno State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development in Maiduguri.

According to her, every November 25th – December 10th, the International campaign against violence on women and girls unites activists, governments, organizations and individuals across the world to raise their collective voices during the 16 Days of Activism Campaign on gender based violence.

“The Borno State theme for 2019 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence is tagged: s “Stand Against Rape: Say No to Silence”.

“This theme is adopted from the global theme: “Orange the World: Generation Equality Stand Against Rape”. She further clarified that for the 16 days period, agencies, individuals and organization will provide GBV (gender based violence) response and prevention services and will engage communities and other relevant stakeholders under this theme.

She added that the theme highlights that we need to break the silence around rape and end the culture of rape. There is the need to demand and implore policy makers, community members, parents, schools, and institutions to make the society safe for all, especially for girls and young women by highlighting and breaking the structural barriers that discriminate against women and girls.

“Rape as a very specific form of violence against women and girls is rooted in a complex set of patriarchal beliefs, power and control that continue to create a social environment in which sexual violence is pervasive and normalized.

“Behaviors commonly associated with rape include victim-blaming, sexual objectification, trivializing rape, denial of widespread rape, or refusing to acknowledge the harm of sexual harassment or assault.

“For centuries, rape has been used as a weapon of war-possibly the most brutal weapon of war. It is a method of torture, both physically and psychological, and is a crime, just like murder”, Zuwaira said.

The Commissioner maintained that in North Eastern Nigeria and especially here in Borno State, the present-day realities of women and girls have been largely shaped by the conflict arising from the insurgency where currently in North Eastern Nigeria, women and girls face violence at alarming rates. Reports in the month of September 2019 indicate that:

* 99% of all incidents of gender based violence for which survivors sought help were perpetrated towards women and girls. 82% of all incidents were perpetrated against adults, while 18% perpetrated towards children under the age of 18 years.

*24% of incidents reported were cases of sexual violence. Of the reported incidents of sexual violence, *2% were acts of rape. In only 35% of rape cases was a report made within 72 hours.

* Approximately 53% of the children that reported an incident of GBV reported a case of either rape or sexual assault and approximately 24% of child reports were a report of forced marriage.

* 77% of survivors reported that the GBV occurred in the contest of intimate partner violence, that is for any type of GBV, the accused perpetrator was either an intimate partner or a former partner.

* Irrespective of the types of GBV, 40% of reports were made more than 1 month after the incident occurred. And 20% of GBV incidents were reported within 0-3 days of the incident,” Gambo added

While the situation seems dire, it is important to recognize the tremendous roles played by the different partners jointly within the GBV Sub Sector under the leadership of the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development to respond to the needs of survivors as well as strengthen mechanism for prevention in the North East, Borno State inclusive.

Conclusively, she said the State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, in partnership with its partners under the umbrella of the Gender Based Violence Sub Sector; will conduct activities such community dialogues, outreach events, stakeholder engagements, door to door campaign across the State to call upon our leaders to demonstrate their concern and support by taking practical steps to end violence against women and girls, end the culture of rape and specifically STAND AGAINST RAPE.

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