Zainab Gbobaniyi is a lawyer and advocacy trainer with Women for Women International.
- Economic violence: when a woman gets married, any property she owns belongs to her husband. If she gets divorced, she cannot take with her. Even an unmarried woman, when her father dies, will not get any inheritance. Even though women do most of the farm work, they can’t access their earnings. Land is so important here, so when women are excluded from owning and inheriting it, the cycle of poverty continues. On average, the women we serve are earning just $0.35 per day when they start our training.
- Physical and sexual violence: There is a common belief that a man should beat his wife to correct her, it is seen as normal.Our constitution is silent about spousal rape; whether a woman wants to have sex or not, her husband can force himself on her. Men will target young girls out selling goods at the market. If a girl is raped, people will say, ‘why did you wear that dress? It was your own fault!’ A third of Nigerian women have experienced VAW, with one in five subjected to physical violence.
- Child marriage: 44% of girls in Nigeria are married before they are 18, and in the marginalised, rural communities where we work in north-central Nigeria, this number is often much higher. When girls are married and have children at a young age, before their bodies are fully developed, there is a high risk of vesico-vaginal fistulae – this is a big problem in the communities where we work.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, graduates of our programme are organising 'Community Forums' to educate and engage local leaders on women's rights issues, and find solutions to the major barriers women face.
We are committed to helping those women who have survived sexual violence in war. This week we have an amazing opportunity. A fantastic group of supporters have agreed to match, pound for pound, every donation made during the week of 25th November – 3rd December 2019.
For women survivors of war, peace is not just an aspirational ideal, but a series of urgent, practical goals that they are working hard to make a reality.