Nigeria: 48% of Nigerian Women Experienced Violence Since Covid-19 Pandemic - UN Report

24 November 2021

Exposure to violence was highest among women in Kenya (80%), Morocco (69%), Jordan (49%), and Nigeria (48%). Those in Paraguay were the least likely to report such experiences, at 25%.

Forty-eight per cent of Nigerian women have experienced at least one form of violence since the COVID-19 pandemic, a United Nations Women report has revealed.

"Verbal abuse and denial of basic resources were the most common forms of VAW reported (23 per cent) since the pandemic began; denial of communication (21 per cent) although these may have been the result of measures taken to limit the spread of the pandemic, such as lockdowns, curfews, and social distancing. Similarly, 16 per cent reported sexual harassment and 15 percent reported physical abuse," the report said.

The report titled 'Measuring the shadow pandemic: Violence against women during COVID-19' also revealed that 45 per cent of women from the countries where the research was conducted have been exposed directly or indirectly to at least one form of violence.

The research was conducted in 13 countries namely Albania, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Colombia, Côte d'Ivoire, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Morocco, Nigeria, Paraguay, Thailand, Ukraine.

Exposure to violence was highest among women in Kenya (80%), Morocco (69%), Jordan (49%), and Nigeria (48%). Those in Paraguay were the least likely to report such experiences, at 25%.

According to the report, about one in four women is feeling less safe at home while existing conflict has increased within households since the pandemic started. When women were asked why they felt unsafe at home, they cited physical abuse as one of the reasons; others were hurt by other family members or that other women in the household were being hurt.

Additionally, women also felt more prone to violence outside their homes, with 40 per cent of respondents saying they feel less safe walking around alone at night since the onset of COVID-19. About three in five women also think that sexual harassment in public spaces has gotten worse during COVID-19.

Although women were exposed to violence before the pandemic, there was an exponential increase in the number of women exposed, the report showed.

According to UN Women, the report launch kicks off this year's 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, from 25 November to 10 December, themed, "Orange the World: End Violence against Women Now!"

Evidently, in 2020 reported cases of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence peaked, which led to the declaration of a state of emergency on SGBV.

Interestingly, one year after this declaration, cases have continued to increase.

According to the Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (2018), 30 per cent of girls and women between the ages of 15 and 49 reported being subjected to sexual abuse.

The Lagos State Domestic and Gender Violence Response Team reported a total of 3,193 cases of gender-based violence between January and December 2020 alone. The statistics are similarly dire across the rest of the country.

Groups have continued to advocate legislation and domestication of existing legislations that will protect young girls and provide justice for victims and survivors of such violence alike, yet some state governments have yet to do so.

16 Days of Activism

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an annual international campaign that kicks off on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until 10 December, Human Rights Day.

It was started by activists at the inaugural Women's Global Leadership Institute in 1991 and continues to be coordinated each year by the Center for Women's Global Leadership.

It is used as an organising strategy by individuals and organisations around the world to call for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls.

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