One in three women experience violence in their lifetime, across all social status, class, race, country or age group.

More than a third of women worldwide have experienced either physical or sexual violence at some point in their lives in Nigeria. Research indicates that the cost of violence against women could amount annually to around 2 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP). This is equivalent to $1.5 trillion.

In a populous country like Nigeria with over 180 million people where 60% are female, cases of domestic violence are rampant. Many women and children exposed to violence in Nigeria are also victims of physical and emotional abuse, and are at serious risk of long-term physical and mental health problems. They have also been reported cases of rape, trafficking, kidnapping, suicide caused by domestic violence.

Domestic violence manifests itself in physical, sexual and psychological forms, encompassing intimate partner violence (battery, psychological abuse, marital rape, femicide); sexual violence and harassment (rape, forced sexual acts, unwanted sexual advances, child sexual abuse, forced marriage, street harassment, stalking, cyber-harassment); human trafficking (slavery, sexual exploitation); female genital mutilation; and child marriage.

To break this cycle and to reduce the cases of domestic violence in the generations to come, we have to implement programmes that are effective and help violent perpetrators get the knowledge and help they need to not create the next generation of violent individuals in their children.

Rehabilitation programmes that emphasise self-reflection, self-control, empathy, and which build resilience, can allow them offer their children love, concern and tenderness instead. That way, even in times of economic strain, people will have the psychological understanding and coping skills to avoid turning to violence. The collective efforts of all stakeholders will contribute enormously to reducing this epidemic in our country.

To commemorate this year's International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the United Nations urged people to "stand in solidarity with survivors and survivor advocates and women’s human rights defenders who are working to prevent and end violence against women and girls".

"Our duty is not only to stand in solidarity with them but also to intensify our efforts to find solutions and measures to stop this preventable global scourge with a detrimental impact on women’s and girls’ lives and health," it said.

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