DR SALAMI ADVOCATES FOR PUBLIC HEALTH APPROACH IN ADDRESSING GENDER BASED VIOLENCE

BY INUSA NDAHI, MAIDUGURI
The Founder/Coordinator of Sisters, Caregivers Project Initiatives (SCPI), Dr Tijani Salami said to properly eradicate the menace of Gender Based Violence (GBV), there is the need to use public health intervention approach which will educate, inform and empower women in the communities change their Behaviors, attitude and knowledge both in the victims and the culprits and as well change inequality skewed against women in the society.
Dr. Salami disclosed this in an interview with our Correspondent yesterday.
He said GBV is violence is directed against a person because, that person gender or violence that affects persons of a particular gender is disproportionately, adding that Violence against women means gender-based violence that can result in physical harm, sexual harm, psychological, economic or any suffering to women.
To this end, the Public Health Expert said, domestic violence usually can present in the form of physical, sexual, psychological or economic violence that occur within the family, domestic unit or intimate partners.
He revealed that in European Commission, about 22% of all women who have had partners from age 15 have experienced physical or sexual violence, while in Nigerian context, GBV remains a challenge that has constrain women autonomies and opportunities significantly.
“The Nigeria Demographic Health Survey (NDHS) 2013 indicates that 28% of women in Nigeria aged 15-49 have experienced some form of physical or sexual violence. Unfortunately, the situation is getting worse, and there is little response from public health perspectives.
“Most of the victims are ashamed to speak out, especially children and adolescents because of intimidation, fear and stigmatization. Part of the solution to this menace is the public health intervention approach which will aim to educate, inform and empower women in the communities.
“An approach that will incorporate GBV at the community health and faith-based organizations in the communities will be far-reaching in changing Behaviors, attitude and knowledge both in the victims and the culprits and as well change inequality skewed against women in the society.” Salami stated.
To stem the tide, the SCPI Founder insisted that most of the socio-cultural norms and practices such as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), sexual assault, forced and early marriages must be abolished from the affected societies in order to accord dignity to the women folk.
He stressed that while FGM is now on the decline, other GBV practices have not changed across the continent, esoecially in Nigeria despite many campaigns against GBV.
He however cautioned that little will be achieved until there is a holistic program that addresses gender inequalities and anti-sexual ideologies that are embedded in the socio-cultural norms in the society.

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