Mrs Oluwatoyin Adeleke, a Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) activist, says only two percent of girls aged between 15 and 19 who are victims of violence seek help.
Adeleke spoke with our reporter on Monday in Ilorin against the backdrop of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
This year’s theme is “Invest to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls.”
The rights activist, who is also the CEO of Olive Community Development Initiative, an NGO, quoted UNICEF as saying that one in every 20 adolescent girls aged 15 to 19 had experienced sexual violence.
According to her, sexual violence is one of the most violent forms of abuse girls and women can suffer.
Adeleke also pointed out that there was a 56 percent rise in GBV cases in Nigeria between March and April 2020 during the COVID-19 lockdown in 24 states.
“The report showed that the South Western Zone had the highest number of cases compared with the North Central Zone,” she said.
She warned that the consequences of GBV were both long- and short-term, adding that these included economic, physical, mental, and sexual reproductive health problems.
“These in turn affect their children and cause huge social and economic costs for the families and society at large.
“It leads to pregnancies and complications during childbirth.
“GBV also has economic consequences. It can limit women’s ability to participate in the workforce,” she said.
Adeleke lamented that child marriage, female genital mutilation, trafficking for sexual exploitation, and female infanticide were prevalent.
CDI, according to her, promotes the rights and empowerment of women, girls, or youth through partnership and capacity building to ensure social justice.
She listed some of the services rendered by her organisation to include counselling, social support, empowerment, legal aid, and welfare support, among others.
The activist appealed to all stakeholders to partner in reducing the burden of GBV to the barest minimum.