A United Nations Women report revealed that forty-eight percent of Nigerian women have experienced at least one form of violence since the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Verbal abuse and denial of basic resources were the most common forms of VAW reported (23 per cent) since the pandemic began; denial of communication (21 per cent) although these may have been the result of measures taken to limit the spread of the pandemic, such as lockdowns, curfews, and social distancing. Similarly, 16 per cent reported sexual harassment and 15 percent reported physical abuse,” the report stated.
The report titled ‘Measuring the shadow pandemic: Violence against women during COVID-19’ also revealed that 45 percent of women from the countries where the research was conducted have been exposed directly or indirectly to at least one form of violence.
The research was conducted in 13 countries namely Albania, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Morocco, Nigeria, Paraguay, Thailand, Ukraine.
Exposure to violence was highest among women in Kenya (80%), Morocco (69%), Jordan (49%), and Nigeria (48%). Those in Paraguay were the least likely to report such experiences, at 25%.
According to the report, about one in four women is feeling less safe at home while existing conflict has increased within households since the pandemic started. When women were asked why they felt unsafe at home, they cited physical abuse as one of the reasons; others were hurt by other family members or that other women in the household were being hurt.
Additionally, women also felt more prone to violence outside their homes, with 40 per cent of respondents saying they feel less safe walking around alone at night since the onset of COVID-19. About three in five women also think that sexual harassment in public spaces has gotten worse during COVID-19.
The report showed that although women were exposed to violence before the pandemic, there was an exponential increase in the number of women exposed.
According to UN Women, the report launch kicks off this year’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, from 25 November to 10 December, themed, “Orange the World: End Violence against Women Now!”
In 2020 reported cases of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence peaked, which led to the declaration of a state of emergency on SGBV.
Meanwhile, the Lagos State Domestic and Gender Violence Response Team reported a total of 3,193 cases of gender-based violence between January and December 2020 alone.