Gender Based Violence Role of Government and Citizens Using Ekiti State As A Case Study
By Bright Ogunmodede
Gender based violence form part of breach to fundamental Human Right. This set of right was not recognized in Act of National assembly, State Laws and International instrument.This situation change when the lnternational community and some States in Nigeria, Ekiti State inclusive acknowledged that genders cannot fully enjoy fundamental Human right without specific reference to their right. However, Ekiti genders are confronted with the challenges surrounding the clash between their status under National Legal instrument, Edits State laws and our customary Law. There is need to look into gender – based violence in Ekiti State, Law passed and signed on the protection of gender-based violence, role of government and citizens.
Gender based violence is a common phenomenal in our society and Ekiti State is not left out. The protection, fundamental human right and subsequently the right of genders was alien to ancient African culture which did not recognize nor regard all human being as persons in law and this gave more rooms for gender- based violence. Women specifically did not enjoy full legal status; their status were lay between that of a serf and an infant with a legal restriction in our traditional and cultural setting women are regarded as weaker vessel or inferior. This status is ascribe to a girl child at birth and when a women give birth to a female child the father has little or no regard for the child this amount to gender based violence ab initio. Women rights are an integral part of human right guarantee the inherent dignity of women but are also relevant to the struggle against poverty. Women face structured disadvantage in many if not all countries in the world, although Ekiti State has covered this field by enacting Gender- Based violence (Prohibition Law 2011). Without mixing words gender is the face of being male and female especially when considered with reference to social and cultural differences, not difference in biology issue of class and race.
Gender Based violence is the meeting extreme expression of unequal gender relations in the socicty. It is the act of violating human rights and a global health issue that cut across boundaries of economic health, culture, religion, age and sexual orientation Also, Ekiti Gender-Based Violence (prohibition) Law 2011 defined Gender-Based violence in the following tems in interpretation and definition section as:
(i)Violence that affects a person or group of persons disproportionately because of their sex.
(ii) All acts of violence which impair or nullify the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedom under general international law or under human right conventions as discrimination.
Gender-based violence affects women, ladies and girls the most, whenever gender- based violence occurs, it is a serious or major obstacle for the achievement of “Gender Justice creating menace to public health and it’s a critical barrier to achieve sustainable development, economic growth and peace in our society.
“Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) defines: Gender based violence as any harm or suffering that is perpetual against women, man, girl or boy and that has a negative impact on the physical, several or psychological health, development or identity of the person. The cause of the violence, power in equalities and gender based discrimination”
Moreso, gender – based violence is a violation of Fundamental Human right such as:
(i) Right to life
(ii) Right to liberty and security of person
(iii)Right to equal protection under the law
This is reflected in international agreements such as the convention on the eliminations of all forms of discrimination against women, the declaration on the elimination of violence against women are emphasized in the United Nations fourth world conference on women in Beijing 1995, gender – based violence is preventable.
There are various form of gender based violence and they are highlighted below
(i) Any act which attempts or result in degrading people physically, psychologically,
economically or emotionally.
(ii) Threats to commit or act liable to result in physical abuse, which includes: slapping
beating, burning, chocking, kicking, stabbing, straggling, threats with an object or weapon murder and traditional practices which are harmful to health and well being.
(iii)All acts of domestic violence perpetrated by intimate partners and family members.
(iv)Psychological abuse which includes any behavior that make another person feel
constantly miserable, humiliated, ridiculed, afraid, littery or depressed or to feel
inadequate or worthless.
(V) Economic abuse which includes such as the denial of funds, refusal to contribute
financially denial of food and basic needs controlling access to health care and employnment.
Other factors that cause Gender Based Violence such as:
Rape: This is unlawful carnal knowledge of woman/man or girl/boy without their consent or if consent is obtained by force or by means of threat or intimidation of any mean of false fraudulent representation as to the spouse.
Sexual Assault: This has cause persons to engage in a sexual activity by threatening or placing that person in fear, engaging in a sexual act if that person is incapable of declining participation in or communicating to engage in that sexual act.
Violence Against Women: Act of Gender Based Violence that result in or is likely to result in physical sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women including threats of such acts coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty.
Ekiti State is not left out in Gender Based Violence even from the perspective of our cultural and traditional practices which are harmful to women such as female genital mutilation, attempting or aiding the mutilation of a woman or girl -child genitals, denying a woman of economic benefits without just cause, Causing any woman to isolate herself from family and friends, forcing a woman or girl into prostitution, slavery or trafficking sexually exploiting or enslaving a woman or girl and abandoning wife or child without any means of subsistence.
Role of Government in Gender-Based Violence
- Enactment of Law: It is important on the part of the goverment to enact law purposely and to cater for Gender-based violence in Ekiti State. This law will serve as a prohibitive measure against any citizen of the state that involve in gender-based violence and no person shall engage in any form of gender based violence.
2 Offences and Penalty: The enacted law must spell out offences and penalty to be melted to any person who engage in gender based violence and such person is liablie on summary conviction to a fine or a term of imprisonment of not less then two years or both. In addition any person who attempts to commit any of the offences under the enacted law should not go unpunished or be reprimanded. Any person who take part in the commission of the offence and upon conviction should be liable to imprisonment of minimum of two years or a fine of reasonable amount of money or both fine and imprisonment. Any person who commits the offence of rape which is a capital offence should be sentenced to life imprisonment. The Judicial arm of govemment needs to play a vital role by inflicting a fine or prison term on the offender it needs to play a vital role by inflicting a fine or a prison term on the offender in the case of gender based violence, even to pay compensation to the victim as the court deem fit to such order.
- Lodging of Complaint: This is another important role of govemment to curb gender based violence in Ekiti State, a victim or witness of gender-based violence or any person with information about gender based violence should have a victim of such violence is a child, he or she may be assisted by next of kin or guardian to lodge a compliant on such violence. Government should make a provision for a bureau or a agency with appropriate protection officer, a social officer, or health care giver to lodge a complaint to about any form of gender based violence where intervention is in the interest of the victim, also in a situation where the victim is not able to lodge a complaint a member of the victim family or guardian should be allowed to lodge complaint on behalf of the victim.
- Free Medical Treatment:– This is another vital role needs to be play by the government to give free medical treatment to the victim by allowing the victim to see a medical practitioner and the medical practitioner shall help the victim in the following ways:
(i) By screening for domestic violence.
(ii) By documenting her bills in the medical record.
iii) By safe guiding evidence.
(iv) By providing counseling services.
(v) By making referrals to appropriate social and legal service.
The Role of Citizens
Every citizen has fundamental role to play in combating gender- based violence in Nigeria particularly in Ekiti State. As part of fundamental right entrenched in 1999 constitution as amended (2011) in chapter (iv) section 34 ( 2) (c) (i) provide as follows;
“Normal communal or order civil obligations for the well being of the community”
This constitutional provision bestow a duty on every citizens to render service or services to combat any act of violence in our nation and based on this premises every citizens has statutory rights to report any act of gender based violence. Ekiti state Gender based violence (Prohibition) Law 2011 also provides in section 10(a) of the law that;
“Any person other than a police officer may arrest without warrant any person if that order person commits an act of gender based violence in the presence of the person.”
Also the law provides in section 10 (b)
“A person other than a police officer may arrest without warrant, Another person where the person has committed an offences of gender based violence.”
However, as the world progresses the international community realızed that gender based violence must be curbed in fullest, in totality and is an abuse to fundamental human right. As a result of this, Ekiti state government has played a vital role in combating gender based violence in Ekiti state that accentuate the gender based violence (prohibited law 2011) was enacted, This is a legacy, fundamental and a pointer on the part of the state government to have a full flesh law that protects gender based violence which is a difficult task and the citizens are not left out to combat gender-based violence due to the constitutional provision and Ekiti State gender based violence (prohibition) law.
Ekiti state government has been playing a leading role and being in front burner in Nigeria in protecting and advocating against gender- based violence in Ekiti State. With this it has being a key factor that Ekiti State government regards gender based violence as a descrepance.
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