No Excuse

Photo Credit: UN Women

16 Days of Activism against VAWG

In Nigeria, there's a law called the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act, made in 2015, to stop different kinds of violence against people. This law covers many types of abuse like physical, sexual, psychological, domestic, harmful traditional practices, and economic abuse.

However, the awareness about such critical laws remains limited, and the prevalence of various forms of violence, especially in a society where some regard only physical violence as actual violence, is concerning.

As the Creative and Team lead during the Speak Up and Heal campaign by AGE Network last year, I had the privilege of witnessing firsthand the profound impact of empowering individuals to share their experiences with gender-based violence. It was a deeply moving experience, listening to the courageous stories of survivors who found the strength to speak out.

Women shared their harrowing experiences of violence. It was a moment of both enlightenment and concern. While some women were relieved to receive information and support, others expressed mixed feelings. Some even normalized abuse due to societal norms, citing phrases like, 'Your husband is your head, just pray and endure.' This mindset perpetuates the normalization of abuse and the belief that they lack the power to protect themselves. It underscores why enlightenment and awareness are pivotal to break these misconceptions.

One striking moment during the campaign was when someone questioned, 'Do only women face violence?' It's important to acknowledge that men face violence too, but the prevalence against women remains significantly higher. The goal isn't to compete or assign blame but to stop the prevalence of violence for a healthier community.

This year's theme, 'UNiTE! Invest to Prevent Violence against Women & Girls,' #NoExcuse for violence, we are called to give no room for Alibis but for us all to #BeTheLight to end the nightmares of women and girls.

To mark the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, my team at Be the Light Initiative and I will be unveiling 'Success Requires No Alibis: 16 Days Against Violence,' a series where we'll share daily insights, stories, and actions aimed at combating gender-based violence on our social platforms @bethelightinitiative.

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