In Nigeria, 28% of the women within the ages of 15 to 45 years experienced physical violence*, according to the United Nations, “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.”
The violence against women comes in many forms such as; domestic violence, honor abuse, rape, genital mutilation and abuse in custody of the authority, irrespective of the form of abuse, the victim is left in physical and mental agony, in most cases suffering in silence for fear of stigmatization.
Records have shown that 18% of the women in Nigeria experienced physical or sexual violence, with the majority of 19% of the women in the urban areas reported while 18% of rural women also fall victim*. However, these abuses are grossly under-reported based on how rampant they occur and based on the closed nature of the homes in the case of intimate partner violence.
20% of the women and girls in North Eastern Nigeria have experienced physical violence between the ages of 15 and 45, 17% experience such violence from their partners or husbands. These abuses are compounded by the silence which leads to drug abuse, alcoholism and even prostitution. The effects of such violence cannot be quantified as it does not just affect the victim but psychologically affect her children (if there are).
Cases of rape and sexual violence against women in custody also grossly under-reported perhaps being ghost crimes that are shrouded from the public with virtually no institutionalized outfit for proper rehabilitation, counseling and support of the victims.Because incarcerated women are largely invisible to the public eye, little is done when the punishment of imprisonment is compounded with that of rape, sexual assault, groping during body searches, and shackling during childbirth. Women are often coerced into providing sex for “favors” such as extra food or personal hygiene products, or to avoid punishment. There is little medical or psychological care available to inmates.**
The violence against the girl child is further compounded by custom which supports Female Genital Mutilation, according to reports provided by Nigeria Population Commission, over 1million Nigeria girls are circumcised, this results to a higher rate of maternal mortality and depression.
CPPLi tries creating a environment for the victims to voice out and share their experiences, as it will go a long way in ameliorating their plights and bringing an end to the impunity by unmasking the perpetrators to prevent them from further abuse.
CPPLi strives towards providing counseling support and guidance towards accessing essential services, health and justice. By creating avenues for peer learning, free communication that is void of stigma. A psycho-social support environment is created where victims feel safe and cared for. CPPLi seizes the opportunity to provide the victims with additional information of family, sexual and reproductive health.
CPPLi also embarks on advocacy visits to traditional heads, Community Based Groups and perpetrators of FGM, providing information on its effects and a need for its end.
* Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey