Farida* 30, recounts how she was sexually abused by close relatives and friends before the age of 2. A situation of sexual harassment and abuse she has endured throughout her childhood into her early adult years. Chiboy* 14 was just reunited with his family after he was kidnapped by a trusted adult male who used him as sex toy. Sinmbi*, a 7-year-old pupil was raped by her 33-year-old teacher. Upon learning about the search to arrest and charged to court, the teacher escaped and stayed away for over one year. These are the sad realities of incidences of gender-based violence (GBV), also referred to as sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), which describes any harmful act of sexual, physical, psychological, mental, and emotional abuse that is perpetrated against a person’s will and that is based on socially ascribed gender.
Issues of GBV in Nigeria
Nigeria is a nation of over 200 million people with over 250 ethnic groups. Recently, the country experienced a sharp rise in emergencies related to conflicts between pastoral communities, especially in parts of the north. In addition, much of the country has experienced negative impacts of climate change, food shortages, poverty, and economic volatility, and an under-resourced social protection sector. These features have exacerbated issues of GBV in northern Nigeria, which has further been compounded by the presence and activities of Boko Haram. In fact, United Nations estimates that around 2.5 million people have been displaced from their homes due to violence in the region, and 7.9 million people (of which 80% women and children) depend entirely on humanitarian aid for survival. Further, this figure does not capture the number of conflict-related displacement due to the activities of bandits and pastoralists.
This blog is part of CDA’s From Where I Stand series, designed to listen to people most affected by aid as they explore and amplify their leadership experiences, stories, and lessons for the aid sector.