Mitigating Rape and Violence Against The Female Gender: Prospect and Solutions By Haj Fatima Umar Shinkafi
Sexual violence against women and girls is deeply rooted in centuries of male domination. Let us not forget that the gender inequalities that fuel rape culture are essentially a question of power imbalances. UN Secretary-General António Guterres
Why we must mitigate violence against women;
Violence against women and girls (VAWG) is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations in our world today. It is an expression of power and less gratification. Quite intriguing, many cultures discuss it, yet the absurdity still goes unchecked thereby further aiding this dastardly act. Of course, our silence over the years has made rapists and rape apologists thrive. When the society is shying away from discussing and addressing issues of such importance, the end result becomes scary and injurious.
In general terms, rape and gender based violence manifests itself in physical, sexual and psychological forms, encompassing:
Intimate partner violence (battering, psychological abuse, marital rape, femicide);
sexual violence and harassment (rape, forced sexual acts, unwanted sexual advances, child sexual abuse, forced marriage, street harassment, stalking, cyber- harassment);
human trafficking (slavery, sexual exploitation) and female genital mutilation.
Painfully, this remains largely unreported due to the impunity, silence, stigma, culture, religion, money, intimidation, bribery, shame and anecedotal or circumstantial evidence mostly due to lack of credible witnesses and forensic evidences/analysis which consequently results in low convictions.
To further clarify the Declaration on the mitigation against women, violence against women is; “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.”
To deter the reoccurrence of this ugly act, we must consider the following recommendations;
School sensitization of student & youths in the harm involved in the shamefull act of rape.
Orientation to men and women on red flags
End stigmatization of victims by supporting them and timely provision of proper counseling. Also, securing more convictions that are evidence based.
Trained Forensic experts — DNA collection and matching of attackers by trained experts
Effective adherence to the constitutional provisions as it relates to rape and violence against the female gender. Such constitutional provisions must be enforced and perpetrators of rape must be Dealt with to the fullest extent of the law. More so, every state must domesticate existing laws against rape and gender based violence.
Conclusion: Unfortunately, 1 in 3 women and girls experience physical, mental, emotional or sexual violence in their lifetime, most frequently by an intimate partner. Hence, it is pertinent we take decisive steps to mitigate the alarming rate of rape in our country .
Sadly, 1 in 2 women killed worldwide by their partner or family in 2017; while only 1 out of 20 men were killed under similar circumstances.
As always I pledge, to support and take a stand against gender based violence. Our silence is a stamp of approval on gender violent crimes and reprehensible act of rape and abuse. My condemnation of such acts is unequivocal. Its time to speak out loud against this cancer and excise it from our lives and society by any means necessary within the ambit of the law.
Our collective silence is culpable.
Haj Fatima Umar Shinkafi is the Executive secretary
Solid Minerals Development Fund, Zamfara State