The Cross River Government says violence against women has continued to rise in the state, in spite of the adoption of the Violence Against Person Prohibition (VAPP) Act.
Ms Nancy Nsor, Director, Women Development, Ministry of Women Affairs, said this when she spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Calabar on Wednesday.
Nsor said that the ministry was deeply concerned about the pervasive violence against women in the state.
“Gender Based Violence (GBV) which is assuming a geometric increase in recent times is hindering national productivity, as it is occurring among people in the productive age group.
“Its persistence has become more glaring amid COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Inspector General of Police reported that 717 rape cases were reported within the first five months of 2021, this excludes other forms of violence and harmful practices women and girls faced daily.
“Without the effective and efficient collaboration with religious and traditional institutions, we cannot see survivors in those areas where this is happening and then target the end to violence against women and girls,” she said.
Nsor added: “GBV in Nigeria is almost accepted as a fact of life in some cultures that perceive women as the property of their husbands.
“Many women die annually or have their reproductive organs permanently damaged through genital mutilation practice.
“Some cultures encourage denying women and girls access to education, land or inheritance.” she said.
Nsor said that women must seek knowledge to maximally unleash their potential as gender equality would guarantee a level playing field devoid of all forms discrimination.
She said while the state government would create institutions to address the root cause of GBV, there should be a stronger national response that can support survivors of violence.
“Those who turn a blind eye to violence against women, saying it is a private matter, should know that they are accomplices,” she said.
Forty-six out of every 100 women, age between 15 and 49 in the South-South, have experienced physical violence at the age of 15, according to the 2018 Nigerian Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS).
This is higher than the national average of 31 out of 100 women.