BELIEVE SURVIVORS TO END THE CIRCLE OF VIOLENCE: TAKE ACTION
Today November 25, 2021 the 16 days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence begins and will end on December 10, 2021 under the Global Theme presented by the UN Secretary General UNITE Campaign: “Orange the World: End Violence Against Women Now”
As we commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, we should note that 1 in 3 women have been abused in their lifetime. The COVID- 19 pandemic, humanitarian crises and incessant conflicts have fostered increase in the number of reported cases of violence against women and girls. Indeed, this pandemic in a pandemic will continue unabated if we do take action individually and collectively.
While pervasive, gender-based violence is not inevitable. It can and must be prevented. Stopping this violence starts with believing survivors, adopting comprehensive and inclusive approaches that tackle the root causes, transform harmful social norms, and empower women and girls. With survivor-centred essential services across policing, justice, health, and social sectors, and sufficient financing for the women’s rights agenda, we can end gender-based violence.
The West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP- Nigeria) kicks off the 16 days of Activism by sharing stories of survivors to end the vicious circle of violence and encourage all to take action.
1: Human Trafficking Fuels Violence Against Women
A single mother Happiness Udoka ((not her real name), left home in Abia State to Lagos State at the age of 21 in a bid to make money to fend for her daughter and sick grandmother.
While in Lagos she met a woman who promised to give her a better job in Senegal. She was deceived with pictures of other young girls making lot of money, wearing nice clothings and riding flashy cars.
As enticing as it looked Happiness Udoka agreed to travel to Senegal with the woman, in 2020. She was disguised to look like a Muslim woman and given a baby. The whole set up was to make her appear like the mother of the child, and to stop her from changing her mind while they journeyed for 7days to Senegal on land.
On arrival at Senegal, Happiness was taken to a house made of wood and nylon which served as a local brothel. The job the woman had for her was to commercialising her body for money. According to her, in a day she slept with over 10 men to meet up to the daily target of 10,000 CFA which she remits to the women fondly referred to as “madam”.
This continued for a period of 10 months till Happiness became sick. Most of the men that had sex with her did not care about her health status and she could not save up money to go to the hospital for medical care. The only option available to her was to run away and seek help to return to Nigeria. Apart from the health risk, she was exposed to, she suffered extreme physical and mental abuse.
She was fortunate to meet a young women who introduced her to Eco Women Initiative, and through the help of the Association of Nigerian Female Students and Roost Foundation she was brought back to Nigeria. Today she is currently undergoing rehabilitation by Roost Foundation and she will be economically empower to have a better life.
*Name has been changed for protection and privacy of the survivor.By:
Ezugwu Christiana . O
Eco Women Initiative