Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Few days into the 14 days initial lockdown of some parts of Nigeria as part of measures to contain community transmission of the dreaded coronavirus in Nigeria, a women group, Women Aid Collective (WACOL), has raised the alarm, drawing attention to a sharp rise in domestic violence, particularly against women and girls.
Founding Director of WACOL, Prof. Joy Ezeilo, in a statement released in Abuja on Friday said that available statistics indicated that the rise was caused by already bottled anger and other emotional issues among spouses or lovers.
Prof. Ezeilo, however, emphasized the importance of understanding that the most dangerous place for women in abusive relationships during the Covid-19 pandemic is their homes. “We envisage sharp rise in violence against these set of people as lockdown consequences of Covid- 19,” she said.
She added: “Can you imagine a situation where couples who can barely stand each other are forced to look at each other’s face 24 hours a day, seven days of a week and weeks undetermined?. It’s an unimaginable experience.”
She, however, advised people, especially those in abusive relationships, that during this pandemic period, they should as much as possible avoid altercations with their spouse and focus on things that could reconcile them.
She also suggested: “Victims/survivors of abusive relationships should identify the safest place in the house and hide if they feel threatened or are being abused or violated. Tolerance, endurance and love should be the slogan of all.
“In addition to that, avoid sharp objects during argument. Understand that this lockdown is temporary and you will get your space back when it’s over. People should find and engage in productive things while at home or in self isolation. For example, teaching your kids good values, online businesses and classes, embracing self-development opportunities etc.
“Most importantly, be at alert! Reach out to others in need in your own little way. Send supplies or financial assistance to such persons. Even a phone call or text message will go a long way this period. Look out for the vulnerable and the less-privileged people around and honestly care for them. Don’t forget, boldly and promptly ask for help when you need it.”