Nigerian women in the medical profession have strongly decried the prevalence of domestic violence in Nigeria, describing it as very alarming and a national crisis.
These women, under the auspices of Medical Women’s Association of Nigeria (MWAN), Lagos State chapter, made the condemnation at their 2016 annual general and scientific meeting which took place recently in Lagos where the dangers of social vices such as rape, gap teething, skin bleaching among others were also highlighted.
The President of the state chapter of MWAN, Dr. Modupe Abiola, who spoke to THISDAY on the sideline, said in discussing this year’s theme which is ‘Domestic Violence: The Role of Medical Women in Curbing this Menace’, the medical women aim to look at the role the association and the society at large can play in helping to check the societal menace.
According to her, “Our main topic was suggested by the fact that domestic violence has become extremely common; it has always been with us, but we discovered that it is on the increase possibly because it is not often reported.”
She stated that a bill was recently signed into law by the government as the right of persons both men and women regarding the issues of domestic violence which was hitherto overlooked and unacknowledged, “so we feel that as medical women, we have a part to play concerning the citizens in order to curb this menace to the barest minimum. However, according to statistics, the numbers of women who have been violated are more than the men.”
Abiola further declared that “as a body, MWAN recognises and condemns the impact of this pandemic in Nigeria, hence the need to address our role as medical women in reducing domestic violence completely.
“In addressing it, the federal government has to play its part by making laws and implementing it for the people. Also, women have a major role to play in taking care of men starting for teen age. Any teen who you wants to avoid this pandemic has to start from the family. We need to bring up our men to be responsible and respectful even from childhood, to know the worth of women, and this is why we are talking about it. It is not that men are not violated, but we are dealing with as an issue here. In terms of ratio, it is particularly with one gender than other. As medical women, we have tried to reach out to people when we visit prisons, schools and other place preaching against domestic violence.”
In his remarks, one of the keynote speakers at the occasion, the Commander of the 445 Nigerian Air Force Hospital, Air Force Base, Ikeja, Lagos, Air Commordore Benjamin B. Okunola, noted that domestic violence is now a global phenomenon and a threat to humanity which transcends families from all races, gender, social, religious economic and academic background, adding that it is common in advanced country.
He posited that domestic violence has a lot of consequences on individuals, family members, the society and the country at large, and that most victims are usually dependent on the aggressor, hence they are voiceless and usually live in fear and depression.
“It could begin with shouting at the victim, then verbal abuses, thereafter beatings and in extreme cases, it could result to murder. Therefore, domestic violence is a national menace that must be checked by the society,” Okunola maintained.
While advising the women to intensify the fight against domestic violence in the country by lobbying the state and federal governments to domesticate relevant international legal and institutional framework relating to the menace, the speaker also urged them to press it on government to take responsibility for the treatment and rehabilitation of victims of domestic violence.
“You could also encourage them (the victims) to report the cases to relevant authorities in other to seek redress and justice. Prosecution of offenders will serve as deterrence to other persons, as some victims of domestic violence carry psychological and emotional scar of their abuses for life, which we must prevent,” he concluded.