Dr. Natalia Kanem, Executive Director, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), says the body is prepared to help Nigeria to rehabilitate Chibok girls, who were kidnapped and abused by jihadists for years.
She said the girls were still trapped in psychological trauma after their ordeal.
She made the remark when together with other delegations from the UNFPA, UN and EU, joined the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Women Affairs to mark this year’s “16-days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence” campaign, in Abuja, Nigeria.
The campaign is on the theme: “Orange the World: End Violence against Women Now!”
Condemning violence against women and girls, Dr. Kanem, who is also the UN-Under Secretary-General, described the act as one of the most prevalent crimes within the human society, which knew no boundaries.
One in three women globally would experience physical and sexual abuse in her lifetime, she said, adding that gender-based violence undermined dignity, health, security and the autonomy of victims.
It also disturbed mental health, caused unsafe abortions leading to fistula, and sexually transmitted infections among others.
Recent data shows that young women under age 35 are subjected to predominant sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), she said.
Dr. Kanem said although SGBV existed for years, the world especially children living parts of their lives on the internet as a result of COVID-19, had had their situations worsened.
“A world of gender equality where a girl grows up, feels safe to fulfil her full potential is what we seek to achieve by 2030,” she added.
The UN-Under Secretary-General said 85 per cent of women globally, reported experiences of digital violence, adding that meanwhile, they had the right to live free from violence everywhere, live in autonomy and fulfil their full potential.
“We must dismantle these systems and norms of SGBV both online and within communities and help women and girls to work towards developing their potentials.
“We need to get to a point where victims will not be afraid to come out to tell their plights to seek help,” she said.
Dr. Kanem lauded persons with disabilities who publicly made the world aware of those left behind for consideration.
Madam Dame Pauline K. Tallen, Nigerian Minister of Women Affairs, reiterated the need to condemn SGBV, adding that, “Nigeria will not rest until it brings the perpetrators to book”.
She said since the outbreak of the COVID-19, two in three women experienced a form of SGBV or knew a woman or girl who had experienced one before according to a report.
She said Nigeria currently had 972 pending SGBV cases in court, out of which 160 were fatal.
The report also says that only one out of 10 victims reported cases of SGBV to the Police, she said, adding that 43 per cent of girls in Nigeria married before attaining age 18 as a result of forced interventions.
Madam Tallen explained that women who were uneducated tended to have less knowledge about the laws and their rights regarding sexual and domestic violence, a situation that affected the criminal justice system.
“A huge number of women are dying in silence. You cannot allow the girl child who is the mother of tomorrow to be destroyed and tortured like this,” she noted.
Explaining the colour for combatting SGBV which is ‘Orange’, the Minister said it was chosen because of its bright and optimistic nature, to restore hope in victims of SGBV and its blend of red and yellow colours to bring life to those who had lost it.
She called on all individuals and entities to collectively work together to condemn SGBV every day especially as the world observed the UN’s 16-days of activism from November 25 to December 10, 2021, to create more awareness towards the need to eradicate SGBV.
On the night of April 14 to 15, 2014, 276 mostly Christian female students aged from 16 to 18 were kidnapped by the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram from the Government Girls Secondary School at the town of Chibok in Borno State, Nigeria.
After seven years of being kidnapped, some of the girls have been reunited with their families in varied ways.