In observance of the 2021 International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and the accompanying 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, the Transparency Information Technology Initiative (TransparencIT), launches a Legal Support Network for Victims of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) in Northern Nigeria to bridge the gap between persons seeking legal services for SGBV cases and lawyers or law firms willing to provide these services.
The emerging evidence indicates a rise in violence against women and girls in Nigeria, especially rape cases during the COVID-19 pandemic and other conflicts. According to Amnesty International’s Report on Access to Justice for Women and Girls Survivors of Rape, there was an upsurge in cases of rape in Nigeria following the lockdown imposed to tackle the spread of COVID-19 in 2020. In June 2020, Nigerian police said they had recorded 717 incidents of rape between January and May last year. In April 2020, Nigeria’s Minister of Women Affairs Pauline Tallen said at least 3,600 cases of rape were recorded during the lockdown, while the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) received 11,200 reported cases of rape over the whole of 2020. These alarming figures doesn’t include the hundreds of cases that go unreported each year.
The perpetrators of this heinous act, who are often close to the victim, do not see their violent behaviour as a crime, but perceive it as normal and blame the victim for provoking their violent and abusive behaviour. We believe that diligent prosecution and punishment of offenders, without fear or favour, will substantially reduce the rate of gender-based violence and deter others from perpetrating the offence.
This new project aims to create awareness on SGBV and provide judicial intervention as a commitment to access to justice for women and girls who have been abused and to help them overcome their ordeal.
TransparencIT will be working collaboratively with lawyers, sexual assault referral centres, governmental and non-governmental organizations in providing support to the victims of SGBV. The organization reaffirms its commitment to defending the rights of women and girls to live free from violence and attain their full potential.