The shrill screams of a woman echoes down Johnson Street…the family next door pays it no attention; it had practically become routine. When they initially moved onto the street, they used to run next door to offer the urgent aid such a sound elicited, only for the Madam of the household to open the door with fresh blood dripping down her inner leg, ghastly bruises across her face, tears streaming across the open, fleshy wounds – to say, “Everything’s fine; I just fell down the stairs. Thanks for your concern.”
The reaction of the family next door mirrors the response of the majority of today’s society to violence against women – “it’s none of my business” – which is such an erroneous attitude to harbor. Recent global statistics indicates that 35% of women worldwide have experienced either intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime (WHO). Just to ensure everyone that is reading this understands this statistic comprehensively – intimate partner violence refers to behavior by an intimate, or even an ex-partner, that causes physical, sexual or psychological harm. The scenario painted above subtly indicates signs of physical, sexual and psychological harm – Madam was visibly injured, however she had been psychologically damaged into thinking that telling others her relationship related woes would not help her situation; and so she continues to suffer in silence, which is the case of so many woman across the world, educated or not.
Sexual violence is one of the most consequential forms of violence against women and also is the most frequent form. Any form of forceful sexual intercourse, whether by a stranger or by a partner – is rape. Sadly, many women do not ‘count’ forceful intercourse by their partners as rape, but their psychology does. What they may not know is that the more they tolerate such incidences, the more terrible the consequences will be. Children born into families rife with violence tend to suffer from a range of behavioral and emotional disturbances – as well as learn such violent behaviors and continue the cycle in their relationships, either as the beater or the victim.
The costs of sexual violence against women are enormous and have ripple effects throughout society and with such a high rate of occurrence; I believe it’s time for society to take a stand against such a horrific happening. It’s time the nation remembers its women and protects them as the valuable citizens that they are – which is exactly what NiMSA (Nigerian Medical Student’s Association) is doing in conjunction with IPAS and other global organizations.
You can do your part by joining in the awareness program on social media using #NiMSAAgainstGBV and #VAPP and enlighten your followers/friends about Gender Based Violence.
Be the change you want to see!