While both men and women can be victims of violence, violence against women, often at the hands of men, is a unique category of violence that relies on the historical and current unequal balance of power between men and women, boys and girls.
The shame around experiencing domestic violence can be felt across societies. The stigma has made it difficult for women to speak out. One reason many women who experience domestic violence have been afraid to speak out is because they feel ashamed.
A study recently commissioned by the ministry of women’s affairs and social development and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Nigeria with support from the Norwegian Government found out that 28% of Nigerian women aged 25-29 have experienced some form of physical violence since age 15.
The study also reports that 15% of women experienced physical violence within 12 months preceding the survey Further, the level of exposure to the risk of violence varied based on marital status, and that “44% of divorced, separated or widowed women reported experiencing violence since age 15, while 25% of married women or those living with their spouses have experienced violence.
The most common acts of violence against women include sexual harassment, physical violence, harmful traditional practices, emotional and psychological violence, socio-economic violence and violence against non-combatant women in conflict situation.
Abuse is a life changing experience that can change your life completely. But so is speaking up. When it comes down to it, an abuser robs you of your voice and your ability to speak for yourself. Claiming your voice back can be a difficult, downright terrifying process. But our words have power, as do our stories. There are so many people out there who have stories to tell. Speaking up is the first step to ending this, to fighting back against a society that does not want to deal with issues like domestic violence.