The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has called for a generational movement that will accelerate efforts to end gender-based violence, child marriage and female genital mutilation FGM.
The call comes 25 years after the historic Beijing women’s conference, which tasked countries to engender positive actions that will advance the rights of women and girls.
According to recent research, about 19.9 million girls have experienced FGM in Nigeria.
While 43% of very young girls are married before their 18th birthday, another 17% are forced into marriage before they turn 15.
This national index which experts estimates is on a continuous rise points to the fact that violence against women and girls is still common, despite significant gains in education globally.
The UNICEF Nigeria Representative in a statement explained that 1 in 4 Nigerian girls have suffered sexual violence, yet, very few seek professional help, preferring to keep their abuse secret.
He said only 2 percent of girls aged 15–19 years who ever experienced forced sex sought help from professionals.
“But sadly, after 25 years, the world is still a very violent place for girls and women. But there are things we can do to change this – and we need to do them urgently. We need to invest in protection services and support programmes that give survivors of violence an opportunity to speak up and to heal,” said Peter Hawkins.