Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Stop the Violence!

Charles Akhimien

Stop the Violence!
“He ripped off my skirt and pressed a dagger to my neck. He said he would kill me if I screamed. The others held my legs apart while he then defiled me. I felt like I was going to die......After him, the others with him took it in turns, doing it over and over again. After a while, all I kept praying for was death. Surely death would be better than this!”

This is the personal account of a 16 year old Nigerian girl who was gang-raped by some university students. Tales such as these are becoming increasing commonplace all over the world, as violence against women is on the rise. It is now commonplace to see, read and hear about acts of violence against women, in various forms, perpetuated almost on a daily basis. This scourge is endemic in communities and countries around the world, cutting across class, race, and age, religious and national boundaries.

Most of these acts of violence against women are perpetuated in the home where women are supposed to feel most safe. For many, ‘home’ is where they face a regime of terror and violence at the hands of somebody close to them, somebody they should be able to trust. These victimized women suffer physically and psychologically. They are unable to protect themselves and even their children for fear of further repercussions. Their human rights are denied and their lives are stolen from them by the ever-present threat of violence.

What is the reason for violence perpetuated against women?
There is no one single factor to account for violence perpetrated against women. Several complex and interconnected social and cultural factors have kept women particularly vulnerable to the violence directed at them, all of them manifestations of historically unequal power relations between men and women. Factors contributing to these unequal power relations include: male belief in their inherent superiority, socioeconomic, cultural and even religious factors.
But by far the most important factor in predicting domestic violence against women is parental influence. Parents should know better and teach their young boys to respect girls even at an early age. Although the male sex is undoubtedly stronger physically, that doesn’t translate to superiority.

Women also owe it to themselves to protect themselves against violence. This is by no means easy because domestic violence for example, is usually compounded by certain factors such as the presence of children. Domestic violence is one of the most chronically underreported crimes. But women must realize that they cannot under any circumstances endure any form of mental, economic, emotional and physical abuse from their husbands in the home. They must speak out and seek help.

Violence against women is the most egregious infringement on human rights in the 21st century. In a world of so much sophistication and technological advancement, as well as scholastic erudition, violence against women is an anachronism. To eradicate violence against women for good, it should be taken just as serious as racism is taken.
My mother always used to say “women are like flowers”. Indeed women are flowers that need to be handled and treated delicately. Thus protecting a woman is chivalrous and is the decent thing to do.

Dr. Charles Immanuel Akhimien is a young medical doctor from Benin City, Nigeria. He is the winner of the World Environment Day 2013 blogging competition and the official blogger for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). A prolific writer, he writes for various organisations. Organising events is his first love however, and he is a social media aficionado. He is also a huge Greek mythology buff, and he thinks that anyone who hasn’t read any book of the Harry Potter series hasn’t lived just yet. He is addicted to Manchester United Football Club, and Athena is his favourite goddess.