Covid-19 and Girls' Safety- What can we do?
Shola, why are you still sitting down? We have been asked to go home"
Tope, I want to wait a bit longer for nightfall.
Is he still touching you? .... Answer me...... What will you do now that we have been asked to stay at home because of this coronavirus? Shola, talk to me now..............
Do you know that there are thousands of Shola out there? This Stay at home period should have been a time of family bonding and happiness, yet it is a time of sorrow, abuse and violence for them. In Nigeria, one in four girls has experienced sexual violence before the age of 18 and about 31.4 percent of girls first sexual encounter has been rape or forced sex.(PATA)
While the whole world is battling to prevent the COVID-19 pandemic, the lockdown has given room to high increase in domestic violence and maternal mortality as many girls and women have lost access to safe spaces, vital health services and social support. The Executive Director of United Nations Population Funds (UNFPA) Dr Natalia Kanem, warned that the coronavirus outbreak has “severely disrupted” access to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and gender-based violence (GBV) services “at a time when women and girls need these services most”.
Also, this period has increased economic stress on families and has exposed children, particular girls, to greater risk of exploitation, child labour and gender-based violence.
We must ensure that All LOCKDOWN measures should be accompanied by programmes that support protection and safeguarding of girls and women from gender-based violence. They should be #Safe during this period