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Say NO to violence against women – UNESCO

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By Mercy Kelani

IDEVAW is commemorated in remembrance of the Mirabal sisters.

The United Nations General Assembly, on December 1999, adopted Resolution 54/134 which assigns November 25 as International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. To commemorate this day, there is usually an annual 16 days of activism against gender-based violence – an international campaign – which runs from November 25 till December 10 – Human Rights Day. The observance of the annual 16 days of activism began in 1991 by activists at the inaugural Women’s Global Leadership Institute and is continually under the coordination of the Center for Women’s Global Leadership.

With the death of three sisters – Patria Mercedes Mirabal, Maria Argentina Minerva Mirabal and Antonia Maria Teresa Mirabal – brought about the commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. These sisters fought tirelessly to end the dictatorial rule of Trujillo but were murdered in the Dominican Republic on the orders of the Dominican ruler Rafael Trujillo on November 25, 1960. To mark the anniversary of their deaths, women’s rights activists observed a day against violence since 1981.

Violence against women hinders equality and achievement of women’s rights.

The global theme for Year 2022’s 16 days of activism against gender-based violence is “UNITE! Activism to end violence against women and girls.” The campaign is an avenue for the organization of strategy by individuals and communities across the globe to raise awareness for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls. In a bid to support the initiative of this civil society, there is a call by the United Nations Secretary-General’s UNiTE by 2030 to End Violence against Women campaign (UNiTE campaign) for global actions to boost awareness and ensure advocacy efforts.

One of the most recurrent human rights violations around the world is violence against women and girls and is largely unreported as a result of stigma, impunity or shame. Violence could be in sexual, physical or psychological forms such as intimate partner violence; sexual violence and harassment; human trafficking; child marriage; and female genital mutilation. Violence against women is an obstacle towards the achievement of equality, development and Peace and adherence to women and girls’ human rights.

Violence in Nigeria is largely owed to the country’s patriarchal nature.

In Nigeria, the major causes of violence against women are discrimination and inequality usually in form of Domestic Violence. There is a cultural belief in Nigeria, which is socially acceptable, that women can be hit as a medium of discipline. Although the Nigerian government take legal proceedings for the prosecution of men who abuse women in any form in many states, there is no reduction in the percentage of violence against women. These acts of violence are usually in the form of rape, torture, beatings, acid baths, molestation, corporal punishments, battery, and eventually death.

Nigerian women mostly face physical violence at the hands of family members, loved ones or the society with likely reasons for assault including financial issues, frustration, drunkenness, rejection of sexual advances, and relationship inequality – when the woman earns more than the husband. In social context, violence in Nigeria is largely based on its patriarchal society which uses violence as a means of wife chastisement. This act violates the fundamental human rights of women thereby making the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) difficult.

UNESCO organizes a presentation of the scope of violence against women.

On this occasion, there is usually an organization of exhibition for the presentation of the scope and depth of the violence against women across the globe including other initiatives that address the topic of violence against women by UNESCO. The exhibition begins on November 23 with an extension of it all through the 16 days of activism. To raise awareness and ensure advocacy, there will be a group picture of members of staff of UNESCO saying NO to violence against women with the use of umbrellas.


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