Harsh economy pushing women into transactional sex, child marriage — Group
A group under the auspices of Baobab for Women’s Human Rights has lamented that the present economic circumstances in the country are increasing women’s and girls’ vulnerability to negative, copying mechanisms and harmful practices such as transactional sex and child marriage.
Executive Director of the group, Bunmi Dipo-Salami, who made this revelation yesterday, in Abuja, during an interactive session with the media, with the theme: ‘Let’s end violence against women and girls now,’ said women who were reliant on daily wages were mainly victims when the Covid-19 pandemic started in 2019 due to economic decline.
According to Dipo-Salami, over 30 million Nigerian women experience violence, regretting that the statistics are more than the population of five African countries when put together.
She explained: “Gender-based violence is one of the world’s most prevalent human rights violations, taking place every day, many times over, in every corner of the globe. Current estimates show that one in three women will experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, perpetrated in private and public arenas by an intimate partner, family, neighbours, employers, instructors, supervisors, colleagues, religious and cultural leaders, or strangers.
“According to 2021 estimates from the World Health Organisation (WHO), almost one-third of women aged 15-49 years worldwide have experienced some form of violence, whether physical, psychological, sexual, emotional, or economic harm, at the hands of their partner.
“Data from a survey by the National Population Commission with support from UNICEF and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately six out of every ten Nigerian children experience some form of physical, emotional, and sexual violence before the age of 18 years.”
According to Dipo-Salami, the increase in domestic violence during the pandemic has adversely impacted women in the world of work, lamenting that it has become a major barrier to women’s participation in the world of work.
“This makes it more important than ever to prevent and develop adequate policy and institutional responses to domestic violence in all spheres. The WHO, COVID-19 has increased the risk of domestic violence against women as lockdowns reduced the chances of support or escape, social distancing, added to the isolation imposed by abusers, stress and anxiety from the pandemic may have caused abusers to feel they have less control and thus trigger violence.”
Noting that GBV has significant social and economic repercussions, not just for the survivor, She maintained that the menace also impacts the communities and the entire country negatively, adding that poor emotional and mental health will likely lead to lower productivity among working women and higher dropout rates among schoolgirls.
The director advocated for the full and immediate adoption of the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act of 2015 into law by the governments of Lagos, Kano, Katsina, Borno, Gombe, Yobe, Zamfara, Imo, Rivers, Kogi, Kebbi, Plateau, Cross River, and Taraba states respectively.