By Chukwunyere Nwosu, Abuja
The Association of Women with Disabilities in Nigeria (AWWDI) in continuation of a two-day training program on Sexual and Gender Based Violence for Self Help group leaders in Abuja, focused on the reporting of sexual and gender based violence against women and girls with disability on day two 20th April, 2023 at Work and Connect, Jabi, Abuja..
The Desk Officer FCT Sexual and Gender Based Violence Response Team, Ms. Ike Ngozi Jacinta during her presentation, started with a pre-test exercise to test the knowledge of participants on SGBV.
According to Ms. Ike, “Sexual and Gender-Based Violence is any form of violence between men/boys and women/girls, in which the females are usually the victim as a result of unequal power with the man. It can be physical, emotional, psychological or sexual in nature, and can take the form of denial of resources or access to services. It is a violation of human rights and inflicts harm on women, girls, men and boys. It denies the human dignity of the individual and hurts human development. SGBV is largely rooted in individual attitudes that condone violence the family, community and the state.”
In her explanation, “Gender Based Violence cuts across all boundaries of class of sex, age, ethnicity, religion, belief and disability. Although men also experience GBV, reports show that women and girls with disabilities face high levels of risks due to their disability.”
She added that SGBV can take place in homes, schools, shops, streets, places of work, lonely places and abandoned or uncompleted buildings. Sexual violence include forced marriage, Sexual exploitation/forced prostitution, rape, marital rape, child sexual abuse, defilement and incest etc.
She noted that according to the FCT SGVB report, brothers sleeping with their sisters or fathers sleeping with their daughters is prevalent and said it should be a research topic to know why this is happening.
Speaking on reporting SGBV, Mrs. Ngozi stated that it allows the survivors to access support to minimize the impact of the violence on their lives. However, research shows that most SGBV survivors do not report, because of the stigma or what the society will say about them. When they don’t report the case, they won’t get justice. Because they don’t report such cases, perpetrators go scot-free and even have the guts to continue with it.
Reporting SGBV allows survivors to access the medical psychosocial and legal services they need to minimize the impact of the violence on their health and allows the perpetrators to be held accountable.
Moreover, formal reporting of SGBV, for example to medical personnel, social welfare officers, legal officers or community leaders, allows accurate estimation of the prevalence of the violence. This enables proper resource allocation towards intervention to reduce SGBV and provide appropriate care to survivors.
There are some support systems in place to assist survivors, but the problem is that a lot of people don’t know about them.
In conclusion she said that channels of reporting SGBV cases to FCT Sexual and Gender-Based Response Team (SGBVRT) are through walk in, letter of complaint, a copy of FCT referral list, social media handles and hotlines – 08078111126, 07051445091, Aweyetu SARC, Bwari General Hospital, Protection Officers at Area Council, Shelter for SGBV Survivors, NAPTIP (07030000203), Nigerian Police Force, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) or Human Rights Commission.
The final session of the workshop was the experience of women with disabilities who were abused or violated in one way or the other from their ex-partners, family members and friends.