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Report of the Eight Twitter Chat with Saudatu Mahdi, Secretary General, Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA)

In continuation of its enlightenment programs against the fight of the novel Coronavirus, the Centre for Information Technology and Development has today 23rd of April, 2020 held another series of its twitter chat with Saudatu Mahdi, Secretary General of Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative on Tackling Domestic Violence in the Context of Lockdown. The choice of the topic is necessary looking at how the number of domestic violence is raising on daily basic. CITAD believes that discussing this topic at this critical time when everyone is at home which may likely make the number of domestic violence to grow will help significantly in reducing and finding solution to it.

Malam Saudatu Mahdi who has decades of experience and working in the area of women’s rights took time to explain to the audience at the twitter chat what domestic violence is, who can be a victim, what prompted it and offered many solutions during the chat. Explaining who are the most targeted in domestic violence, Malam Saudatu said mostly the victims are “female spouses, children, wives, house help (male or female). And the perpetrators can be male or female BUT most times it is the male” When asked about the  proper solutions to the menace the guest advised that the victims should be encouraged to be speaking up about their experiences, reporting to trusted family members, police and NGOs.

The guest took time to explain the topic of discussion and responded to most of the questions asked by the participants.

Discussions:

@ICTAdvocate: Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, we are glad you are all joining us for today’s discussion on “domestic violence in the context of lockdown”. We are joined by an acclaimed development expert, researcher and women’s right advocate, Haj. Saudatu Mahdi (@SaudatuMahdi) @YZYau

  1. While the ‘stay-at-home’ order serves to protect families from the disease, it has the tendency to worsen sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) against women and girls. @SaudatuMahdi @YZYau @kamalkano @a_sabo12 @isahcitad @Ashshaza1

#StaySafeNigeria

#StayAtHome

#COVID19

  1. Experience from other countries, like China, shows a corresponding rise in the number of women reporting increased incidences of domestic violence @SaudatuMahdi @YZYau @a_sabo12 @nissimase @Mairo_Ado @HariraWakili @MaryamH2382

#StaySafeNigeria

#StayAtHome

  1. Tensions arising from the economic impact of the lockdown such as reduced income and financial difficulties

are contributing to this surge. @SaudatuMahdi @YZYau @NDI @NDIWomen @womenintech @Mairo_Ado @HariraWakili @isahcitad @kamalkano @kblawanty

#StaySafeNigeria

#StayAtHome

  1. Nigeria is currently working to contain the spread of the Coronavirus as well as implementing its responses to the impact of total and partial lockdown across the country. @SaudatuMahdi @YZYau @NDI @Mairo_Ado @HariraWakili
  2. In response to the potential risks&challenges of violence against women, Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA), Women’s International League for Peace&Freedom, Women’s Advocates&Research Documentation Centre (WARDC) recommended as follows @SaudatuMahdi
  3. Designate and strengthen Gender Desks and family support units within police departments and other department of governments @SaudatuMahdi @YZYau @nissimase @HariraWakili @Mairo_Ado @NDI @NDIWomen @MssZeeUsman @ZainabNasirAhm1
  4. Ensure that the family support Unit and Gender Desk are provided with effective telephone hotlines that persons with disabilities and vulnerable citizens can report domestic violence or any other gender-based violence and get immediate help @SaudatuMahdi @YZYau @nissimase

#COVID19

There is tendency for worse situation of SGBV there is need for massive awareness campaign online and hotlines to report cases so that organization can come to their rescue.

ladies and gentlemen, as this Twitter Chat on “Domestic Violence in the Context of Lockdown” continues, kindly share your experience of violence against women here, are you the victim, someone you know, etc. Do share your experience here please @SaudatuMahdi @YZYau @nissimase

Haj. Saudatu  Mahdi (@SaudatuMahdi) is the Secretary General of Nigeria’s leading women’s rights advocacy organization, Women Rights Advancement & Protection Alternative (WRAPA) (@WRAPANG). We have some thoughts to share with you before our guest responds to our questions @YZYau

There have been stories of violence against women particularly during this lockdown season,today we create an opportunity for every1 to air their thoughts,we have the Secretary General of Nigeria’s leading women’s rights advocacy org. @WRAPANG, Haj. @SaudatuMahdi with us @YZYau

Experience sharing is way to address problems, feel free to share your thoughts on violence against women during this lockdown season, you can equally send a message and we will treat your identity as confidential @SaudatuMahdi @YZYau @Mairo_Ado @NDIWomen @zahrayzy @Rahma_sadau

Good afternoon every one. I hope we are all keeping safe@ICTAdvocates

Good afternoon Ma, thank you for the good work you have been doing. @YZYau @isahcitad @nissimase

The reasons for the rise of domestic violence in the lockdown are consequent on economic and psychological tensions.@ICTAdvocates

Ma, how can one deals with domestic violence amidst total lockdown?

@ICTAdvocatesDealing with DV in this lockdown relates to improving the quality and frequency of communication within the family. It also takes being humane to each other and responsibilities/tasks sharing  @ICTAdvocates

This is very important, are there stakeholders that you think should specifically hear this? @SaudatuMahdi

Ma, some feel ashamed to speak to others about this issue as you stated earlier, so apart from communication, what other measures do u think one can take to prevent himself/herself from DV?

Other methods may include professional counseling for both parties. You also could use peer learning by sharing with a good friend or sister. Silent actions may include changing routines and spending less or more time with each other @ICTAdvocates

Well before the pandemic the statistics and reportage show very high incidence profiles of domestic violence. @ICTAdvocates

Women are stressed by the increase in managing the family tensions and chores. Social expectations don’t support male help in domestic responsibilities @ICTAdvocates

In short managing the family space is what NGOs and Government initiatives need to focus on as a priority after the palliatives.@ICTAdvocates

The result is severe emotional drain on women who also  access little or no form of support from government or NGOs. For many the struggle is balancing time, rest and resources in the crises. @ICTAdvocates

Though you partly responded to this question but we would like to still ask: having been studying domestic violence for years, what do you think is the major cause of the domestic violence @SaudatuMahdi? @YZYau @JibrinIbrahim17 @nissimase @sagiru_ado @ChiromaHope @hamzaish

Domestic violence is mainly an issue of power dynamics between men and women or indeed between the weak and the strong @ICTAdvocates

Is there a way to ensure that one does not suffer or maltreated? Recognizing that this narrative has been there for long?

Being maltreated is not the decision of the victim. What is however good is for the victim to be on the alert to recognise the red flags for ill treatment and avoid or mitigate them by speaking out and seeking help. @ICTAdvocates

How disturbing is violence against women this lockdown season @SaudatuMahdi? @YZYau @GlobalFundWomen

Looking at how domestic violence was before the lockdown and the inability of the security and appropriate authorities to deal with issue, so how can we deal with it now when we almost don’t have anyone to report to, Ma?

There are still avenues to report. NGOs and Government organizations have increased call numbers to receive reports. Social media platforms are also there.  The media is also helping in giving voice for WRAPA and others to raise awareness.@ICTAdvocates

Hello, @SaudatuMahd. My is a question Pls. In Nigeria even before the lockdown, a large number of women reported their abuse to family and friends while not many decided to go to the police to file a report why? and what are the way forward? Thanks @ICTAdvocates

Haj. @SaudatuMahdi, can you give us a picture of domestic violence in Nigeria since the lockdown commenced in many states couple of weeks ago? @YZYau @nissimase @mukhtars_s

DV is on the increase. This is drawn from reportage by women directly to WRAPA and other gender and human rights organizations. The National Human Rights Commission report also affirmed also affirmed it.

@ICTAdvocates

Haj. @SaudatuMahdi, @mukhtars_s is saying: in Nigeria even before the lockdown, a large number of women reported their abuse to family and friends while not many decided to go to the police to file a report why? and what are the way forward? @YZYau @sagiru_ado @nissimase

The issue has been one of gradual change. There is a difference. In the last 20 years many victims or survivors would not report for fear of stigmatization. In communities with a culture of silence it has taken time to increase confidence to report@ICTAdvocates

Domestic Violence in the context of COVID 19 is a reality for so many reasons

@ICTAdvocates

Who are the major victims of domestic violence-women, children, men, who specifically @SaudatuMahdi? @YZYau @ChiromaHope @a_sabo12

#StaySafeNigeria

#StayHome

#StaySafe

@ICTAdvocatesDealing with DV in this lockdown relates to improving the quality and frequency of communication within the family. It also takes being humane to each other and responsibilities/tasks sharing  @ICTAdvocates

This is very important, are there stakeholders that you think should specifically hear this? @SaudatuMahdi

Ma, some feel ashame to speak to others about this issue as you stated earlier, so apart from communication, what other measures do u think one can take to prevent himself/herself from DV?

Other methods may include professional counseling for both parties. You also could use peer learning by sharing with a good friend or sister. Silent actions may include changing routines and spending less or more time with each other @ICTAdvocates

There are also risks of the double jeopardy for women suffering DV in the lockdown to speak up. Many lack communication gadgets and facilities to get help or access services or resources.@ICTAdvocates

DV is on the increase. This is drawn from reportage by women directly to WRAPA and other gender and human rights organizations. The National Human Rights Commission report also affirmed also affirmed it.

@ICTAdvocates

This is very important, are there stakeholders that you think should specifically hear this? @SaudatuMahdi

In domestic settings the weak are usually the female spouse, the children, the wife or the house help (male or female). The perpetrators can be male or female BUT most times it is the male @ICTAdvocates

Domestic violence is mainly an issue of power dynamics between men and women or indeed between the weak and the strong @ICTAdvocates

Is there a way to ensure that one does not suffer or maltreated? Recognizing that this narrative has been there for long?

Being maltreated is not the decision of the victim. What is however good is for the victim to be on the alert to recognise the red flags for ill treatment and avoid or mitigate them by speaking out and seeking help. @ICTAdvocates

Looking at how domestic violence was before the lockdown and the inability of the security and appropriate authorities to deal with issue, so how can we deal with it now when we almost don’t have anyone to report to, Ma?

There are still avenues to report. NGOs and Government organizations have increased call numbers to receive reports. Social media platforms are also there.  The media is also helping in giving voice for WRAPA and others to raise awareness.@ICTAdvocates

Can domestic violence ever be tackled? How, using what approach and what stakeholders are supposed to be involved @SaudatuMahdi? @YZYau @nissimase @NDIWomen @BBOG_Nigeria @AishaYesufu @aishatslim @eneobe @naijama @thesheetng @Jack_Vince77 @ojenny42 @Jennychisomblog @thebashirat

Key stakeholders are first the victim herself. Others are government and non-governmental service and support organizations. They are called first line response organizations, which include police, social welfare offices, hospitals, NGOs, CBOs & Community leader @ICTAdvocates

Other methods may include professional counseling for both parties. You also could use peer learning by sharing with a good friend or sister. Silent actions may include changing routines and spending less or more time with each other @ICTAdvocates

Reasons include abuse of the family leadership vested in men or those who are economically well. There is always a vulnerability that places one above the other. Is it the mother in-law targeting her son’s wife or the family head who relegates feeding the family?  @ICTAdvocates

It may well be the husband who transfers his frustrations from work or business to the innocent family members. @ICTAdvocates

There are still avenues to report. NGOs and Government organizations have increased call numbers to receive reports. Social media platforms are also there.  The media is also helping in giving voice for WRAPA and others to raise awareness.@ICTAdvocates

Is there a way to ensure that one does not suffer or maltreated? Recognizing that this narrative has been there for long?

Being maltreated is not the decision of the victim. What is however good is for the victim to be on the alert to recognise the red flags for ill treatment and avoid or mitigate them by speaking out and seeking help. @ICTAdvocates

Hajiya @SaudatuMahdi, we would like to take your general recommendations on ending/preventing violence against women particularly during this lockdown season @YZYau @ChiromaHope @a_sabo12 @ubiolanma

Overall, the need for better coordination in service provision, reportage of the incidences, and most importantly accountability/penalties for DV. Implementing legal protections, diligent prosecution, good evidence gathering and the right attitude towards victims @ICTAdvocates

We are also grateful to everyone for finding the time to participate in the chat. #StaySafe #StaySafeNigeria #StayAtHome @YZYau @isahcitad @nissimase @mukhtars_s @sagiru_ado @a_sabo12 @ChiromaHope

Gender advocates WRAPA, FIDA, WACOL,WARDC, PROJECT Alert, GAT etc and the National Human Rights Commission are working with members of the NASS for the passage of the Gender Equal Opportunity Bill. @ICTAdvocates

Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA) @WRAPANG, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom & Women’s Advocates & Research Documentation Centre (WARDC) have issued a policy advisory on prevention and ending gender-based violence @SaudatuMahdi @YZYau

Yes there has been progress. The Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act 2015 is in force. Nearly 15 Sates have passed it as it is or in modified versions. Other Sates are modifying the Penal Code to fill the gaps in gender specific provisions @ICTAdvocates

On behalf of our Executive Director, Engr. @YZYau and the entire @ICTAdvocates staff, friends&associates, we would like to immensely thank Hajiya @SaudatuMahdi, Secretary General of Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (@WRAPANG) for speaking in our today’s chat

Thank you to the CITAD Team and all participants for the opportunity to share with Nigerians who are truly concerned about the need to address Gender Based Violence @ICTAdvocates

In all it is the implementation pace and provision that will ensure these laws protect DV, SGBV victims. The need to finance the implementation to create documentation & referral systems, build and maintain shelters for urgent support & specialized training @ICTAdvocates

 

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