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EU-UN engages journalists on gender-based violence

European Union-United Nations (EU-UN) Spotlight Initiative has engaged media professionals on possible ways of eliminating violence against women and girls in Nigeria.

At a two-day media engagement in Ibadan on Monday, participating journalists were charged to position themselves as advocates against gender-based violence in the society.

EU-UN Spotlight Initiative revealed that 43 percent of Nigerian girls marry before the age of 18 while 17 percent of them do so before they clock 15 years. About 20,000 new cases of obstetric fistula occur every year because of child marriages in the country.

According to the Initiative, violence and other forms of harmful practices against women and girls were on the rise in the country despite campaign against the phenomenon.

Read also: Nigeria leads on number of global pneumonia child deaths – UNICEF

In a remark, UNICEF child protection specialist, Sunbo Odebode, noted that violence against women and girls was a silent killer that had taken the lives of many victims through physical, psychological or mental-related health issues.

She lamented that violence against women and girls in Nigeria was yet to receive full legal support, as some of the victims prefer to be in abusive relationships than face the ridicule of abandoning the relationship.

“The social context of violence against women and girls is based on the traditional patriarchal structure that defines gender. It is the belief in Nigeria being a patriarchal society that women are subordinate to men and when married, they surrender to their husbands,” Odebode said.

“Women do not have a say in decision making; issues concerning their lives are decided upon and determined by others, usually men and older women, in the family and violence is prevalent in the society,” she said.

James Ibor, human rights activist, while speaking on confronting the political and social challenges around violence against women and girls, advocated for special laws to protect women and girls against violence while child protection committees at the rural areas should be strengthened.

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