By Annabelle Dream
Any act that is done against a person’s will based on gender norms and relationships where power is not equal can be referred to as sexual and gender-based violence (#SGBV). Those of us, who already had an idea about SGBV, will know that it includes physical and sexual violence. It does not just end there; emotional or psychological violence and been denied resources or access to certain services are also sexual and gender-based violence. Threatening someone is seen as violence as well as coercion into doing things we never wanted to do.
A lot of people out there think that the female gender is the only victim of SGBV. That is not true. The female gender makes up the highest percentage of SGBV victims, but victims of SGBV include men and boys. Due to the high number of SGBV against #women, people tend to forget that men are victims too. There are groups in the general population that are at high risk of sexual and gender-based violence. These groups include children, adolescent girls, and female heads of household, female workers, older persons, and individuals with disabilities.
Perpetrators of sexual and gender-based violence can be anyone, and this includes persons from the host communities, as well as humanitarian actors and other groups as well. Law enforcers sometimes abuse their power and commit SGBV on individuals. For example, there was an incident in Enugu state where the police while making an arrest, confiscated a lady’s phone in a phone repairs shop; when the lady came to claim her phone, the officer-in-charge asked her to have sex with him before he would return her phone to her.
Sexual and gender-based violence is an extreme violation of the human right and it also inflicts serious harm on its victims. Some of these victims suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and several other mental health problems as a result of this violence. Most of these victims lack the resources to treat themselves and have to live with these health problems for the rest of their lives.
Seeing the adverse effects of SGBV, we should all join forces and fight sexual and gender-based violence. There are lots of things we can do to help eliminate SGBV in any society and some of them are as follows:
· Sensitive the general public on the need to promote #gender equality and prevent SGBV;
· Encourage the formation of a community-based network that will help prevent and fight SGBV;
· There is unity in number, we need to work with partner organizations to help create a safe space for potential victims;
· Teachers should be trained on SGBV to educate the students on SGBV;
· Provide training for law enforcement agencies; etc.
These are some of the few ways we can fight SGBV. Let us not keep our mouths shut when we see SGBV, let us encourage victims to open and let us all come together as one in the fight against SGBV.