Violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread violations of human rights. It further intensified during the Covid19 with  increasingly alarming rate of sexual violence during the lockdown and curfews.  It was further tagged as the "Shadow Pandemic" ravaging the world amidst the Covid 19 health crises by United Nations Women Executive Director 

Global estimates published by WHO indicate that about 1 in 3 (35%) of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime.  Yet to date, only two out of three countries have outlawed domestic violence, while 37 countries worldwide still exempt rape perpetrators from prosecution if they are married to or eventually marry the victim. Furthermore, 49 countries currently have no laws protecting women from domestic violence.

This year marks the 25th Anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the most visionary agenda for advancing women’s rights everywhere, of which Nigeria is a signatory. The COVID-19 pandemic has dampened what should have been a year of reflection on the progress made and strategising on concrete actions to address urgent issues such as gender-based violence. 

Here are just 5 ways we all  can make a difference, safely and impactfully in ending Gender Based Violence.

1. Start Conversations to end the Silence Culture

Violence against women and girls is a human rights violation that’s been perpetuated for decades. It’s pervasive, but it’s not inevitable, unless we stay silent. Igniting the fire is a step in awareness.


2. Always take a Stand against rape culture

Rape culture is the social environment that allows sexual violence to be normalized and justified, fueled by the persistent gender inequalities and attitudes about gender and sexuality. Naming it is the first step to dismantling rape culture.

Every day we have the opportunity to examine our behaviours and beliefs for biases that permit rape culture to continue. Examining our various definition of masculinity and femininity, and how our own biases and stereotypes influences our decision. Collectively, we can all take action to stand against rape culture.

3) Listening to and believing survivors

When women share  their story of violence, they take the first step to breaking the cycle of abuse.

It’s on all of us to give the safe space for women's  needs to speak up and be heard.I t’s important to remember that when discussing cases of sexual violence, a victim’s sobriety, clothes, and sexuality are irrelevant.The perpetrator is the sole reason for assault and must bear the responsibility alone. Calling out victim-blaming and countering the idea that it’s on women to avoid situations that might be seen as “dangerous” by traditional standards.

Survivors of violence are speaking out more than ever before, and everyone has a role to play to ensure they can have justice.

4)  Understanding consent

Freely given, enthusiastic consent is mandatory, every time. Teaching people that rather than listening for a “no,” make sure there is an active “yes,” from all involved. Adopting enthusiastic consent in our various life and talking about it.

Phrases like “she was asking for it” or “boys will be boys” attempt to blur the lines around sexual consent, placing blame on victims, and excusing perpetrators from the crimes they have committed.

5. Shame Perpetrators

Women most times suffers from victim blaming, society shaming and talking point after experiencing violence. In our society today, we talk about how many women were raped like statistics not how many men rape women. We talk about how women can protect themselves from rape not how men should stop raping women.We call men who rape or harm women DOGS but dogs don't harm/rape. We must ensure that perpetrators of violence against women are shamed and ridiculed collectively while justice is duly served to the victim.


Conclusively, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic threaten any progress that has been made in tackling gender-based violence. Nigeria must ensure that its recovery from the pandemic promotes a more gender inclusive society, where women and girls’ rights are protected and their opportunities promoted, so that the progress made in the last 25 years was not in vain. Ending violence against women is everyone’s business and you have a role to play.