International Day For Elimination of Violence Against Women is annually observed every 25th of November, to raise awareness against all forms of violence against women and girls.
Violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations in our world today. It is an extreme form of discrimination against women and girls.
Violence happens everywhere, at home, school, on the streets, at the workplace with multiple impact from immediate physical or psychological injuries to long term mental or physical complications, including death. Gender-based violence also has economic implications. It retards the development of a safe, peaceful, healthy and productive society.
According to the 2016 United Nation’s data from 87 countries including our country Nigeria, 19 per cent of women between 15 and 49 years of age said they had experienced physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner in the 12 months prior to the survey. In the most extreme cases, such violence can lead to death.
Another extreme case of violence against women is Female Genital Mutilation. Though this harmful practice has declined to a large extent, but it is still being surreptiously observed in some of our communities. We need to totally put an end to this violent and obnoxious traditional practice.
Within crises affected communities, women and girls are often disproportionately at risk to the effects of those crises. They are most likely the ones to lose their means of livelihood, face heightened risks of gender-based violence such as sexual violence, early marriages as well as human trafficking due to displacement and breakdown of the normal structures of protection and support in such communities.
However, violence is not inevitable, it can be prevented. It requires a holistic approach where no female will be left behind. The theme for this year’s observance is “Leave no one behind”. This is aimed at igniting public consciousness on the need to bring about change and create a world free from violence for all women and girls.
Research has shown that achieving gender equality helps in preventing conflict and high rates of violence against women. I will not hesitate to appreciate my dear husband, His Excellency, Chief Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, for running a gender friendly government.
I further appeal to all relevant stakeholders, media personnel, organizations, traditional and religious leaders, even our fathers, husbands and brothers to recommit themselves towards supporting the massive campaign and sensitization against all forms of violence meted out to our women and girls. God bless and keep you and your families.
From Her Excellency,
Justice Eberechi Suzzette Nyesom-Wike,
The Wife of Nyesom Ezenwo Wike CON.
The Governor of Rivers State.