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  • Writer's pictureEnyenaweh Research

Taking a local perspective on measuring the impact of Gender based violence programs in emergencies

Updated: May 20, 2021

Global approximations as 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. This trend is reported in many cities of the world having cultural, religious and ancient norms, however the detrimental effects remain the same. Over the years gender based violence (GBV) have been used primarily to highlight the vulnerabilities associated with women and girls, chiefly because women undergo: sexual exploitation and abuse, child marriage, female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C), sexual harassment, dowry/bride price abuse, honor killing, domestic or (IPV) intimate partner violence (considered the main form of GBV against women), deprivation of inheritance or property, elder abuse, economic & emotional abuse among others still unpopularized, many others still silenced. Gender-based violence against men also exist, men and boys face high levels of bullying, physical violence (some perpetuated by even women, also referred to IPV), gang – rape, physical abuse from and during initiation into manhood, emotional, physical and verbal attack especially for actions that transgress from societal conceptions of masculinity

Within emergency settings, GBV especially on women is critically heightened, especially since laws and regulations are weakened, disrupted and unaccounted for. Displacement and separation of families and communities place women and girls at increased risk of violence and abuse and sexual violence may be used as a method of warfare to brutalize and instill fear in a civilian population – UNICEF (Gender based violence in emergencies, 2018). While several humanitarian agencies have ventured into IDPs with supports and relief aids, situations at camp sites remain the same. In 2015, Nigeria experienced some of its major insurgency attacks in its North – Eastern zones orchestrated by terrorist groups which has deprived inhabitants of spouses, children, livelihood means and a lock down of all state’s activities amidst government declaring it a “state of emergency”. This crisis has left over 1000 residents internally displaced while others seek refuge in neighboring countries, many other young women were kidnapped. In response, the government of the day set up camps to monitor and better protect inhabitants with military personnel as default camp managers and coordinators of benevolent assistance provided to campers.

Within the context of the Gender Analysis of the Nigerian Social Safety Nets Project (NASSP), North eastern conflicted states referred to are: Borno, Yobe and Adamawa because they bear the most impacts of the Boko Haram Insurgency. For any emergency setting, women continue to be instruments of violence and human right deprivation, however given conditions of exposure these rights are violated consistently. All women irrespective of race and color have the right to body integrity, security and freedom from torture, cruelty and/or degrading treatment according to (CEDAW) convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women amongst others. While violence against inhabitants have taken world attention, delivering protection, support and care to these victims especially women and children has been an ongoing task for humanitarian agencies. All forms of interventions in medical supplies, food, shelter materials, counselling and support interventions have been supplied to aid victims. However, early this year, shocking reports emanated from IDP camps in Borno state- Nigeria where women allegedly under the care of the military were forced to accede to rape in exchange for food.

Gender based violence in these locations include sexual exploitation and abuse by civilian militias, members of state government. Women’s need to provide food for their families opens avenues to their vulnerabilities, many are sexually assaulted while searching for income or as a means of exchange for food and resources. Several reports implicate perpetuators of GBV in camps as military personnel, vigilante groups and even camp managers. A safety audit conducted identified the precedence concerns of displaced women as domestic violence, rape and denial of resources. (Refugees International Field Report).

Obstacles have also been reported in reaching these women especially because issues of sexual nature are highly sensitive, under reported and even when reported received slow responses from governmental agencies, this may be as a result of low knowledge and even lower financing for these kinds of issues. However, despite increase in the number of programs administered, there remains progress towards complete resolve, which begs the need for a review of program impacts. Interventions towards GBV especially in low accountability settings must be tailored to fit the vital needs of affected victims, interventions should support resilience, recovery processes, clear reporting order and safe spaces for discussion in pursuit of lasting solution for members of these communities Evidences are low concerning programs effectiveness and impact.

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