The Ambassador of France to Nigeria, Emmanuelle Blatmann, has decried the high rate of gender-based violence in Nigeria, disclosing that 22 per cent of women in Nigeria had been victims.
She disclosed this on Friday at a breakfast debate to celebrate 16 days of activism against gender-based violence at the French Institute of Nigeria, Abuja.
The celebration, which takes place each year from November 25 to December 10, allows activists to address gender-based violence (GBV) and “Investing to prevent violence against women and girls” was chosen as the theme for 2023.
“Historically, discussions around GBV have often focused primarily on violence against women, and rightly so, given the prevalence of this violence.
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“Today, in Nigeria, 22% of women have suffered physical and/or sexual violence between intimate partners during their lives despite the legislative framework in force,” the French envoy said.
She noted that GBV is not just a women’s problem but a human rights issue.
“In this sense, GBV is not a women’s subject but it is a subject that must be taken up by everyone. The most striking example remains the economic impact of GBV. The IMF estimates the global cost of violence against women (public, private and social) at $1.5 trillion,” she added.
The ambassador however acknowledged that men could be victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and other forms of gender-based violence as well, adding that societal expectations and stereotypes around masculinity could prevent men from reporting or seeking help when they are victims of violence.
During the debate, panellists called for more support centres across the country to help address gender-based violence.
There should be massive investment in programmes that empower women financially as that is the only way they can compete favourably in society, according to Michael Adeniji, Program Director of the Child Protect Network and a panellist at the programme.