A DETAILED EXAMINATION OF GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE AGAINST FEMALE STUDENTS AND THEIR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA UNIVERSITY (A CASE STUDY OF UNIVERSITY OF CALABAR)
1.1 CONTEXT OF THE STUDY
Over the years, the globe has encountered numerous barriers in its pursuit of growth, peace, and unity. In light of this, it is essential to emphasize that evidence of this is the escalating global crime rate, which includes rape. Gender-based violence (GBV) is prevalent despite being the least common human rights violation in the world. Many groups and nations are affected by the problem of gender-based violence, but its repercussions are broad.
Gender-based violence includes domestic violence, child marriage, female genital mutilation, partner violence, and sexual assault (Rape). This sort of violence affects both men and women, although it is more widespread among women and more documented, whereas it is underreported among men (Tade & Udechukwu, 2020).
On the other hand, rape culture depicts how rape victims are held accountable for their sexual assault. In the 1970s, American feminists established a culture of rape. Emilie Buchwald (1993) defines rape culture as “a sophisticated system of ideas that promotes male sexual aggression and condones violence against women.”
She continued by stating that rape culture exemplifies a society in which violence is considered appealing and sexuality is considered harsh. In her effort to raise awareness about rape culture, Emilie Buchwald noted that women continue to face threats of violence ranging from sexual comments to sexual touches and rape. In a culture of rape, both men and women concur that sexual violence is an unavoidable fact of life.
However, we recognize as inevitable the development of beliefs and attitudes that can change. Since ancient times, as a predominantly patriarchal country, Africa has had rituals and traditions that have perpetuated and advanced rape culture while paying little regard to the people who form the basis of these civilizations. This is demonstrated by the South African Nguni community’s performance of the Ukuthwala marriage ceremony.
In this practice, a young man or woman under the age of marriage would kidnap a lady or a girl and force her family to agree to the marriage. Ethiopia, Kenya, and Rwanda all adhere to a similar custom. Although many communities have made it unlawful for kidnappers to have sexual relations with the women they have abducted, the prohibition is not always enforced.
Women are routinely raped in order to coerce the bride and her family into marrying (WAWERU, 2018). In some African civilizations, female rape survivors are viewed as criminals and are routinely rejected in various ways, such as marriage to their rapists or even execution. In Somaliland, for instance, survivors of rape are forced to marry their assailants in order to avoid shame and humiliation within their families. However, in 2018, a landmark law was passed demanding that those convicted of similar offenses serve at least 20 years in jail.
In addition, it enhanced the penalties for those who fail to report such offenses. Human Rights Watch addressed the pervasive culture of rape in Mauritania in a recent report. In the study, women and girls reported being raped and the myriad obstacles they encountered in their pursuit of justice.
As a result of their humiliation, lack of fairness, and shame, many women had to muster the courage to discuss the sexual assault they experienced. One of the victims recalled being sexually abused by her father, whom she eventually fled, only to find herself in a relationship with a sexually abusive lover who promised to marry her. Despite this, the victim was arrested instead of the perpetrators (WAWEERU,2018).
In Egypt, rape is so carelessly treated that a prominent attorney stated on national television that raping women is a “national obligation.” Unfortunately, Nigeria has ignored the epidemic of rape for a long time. This is the result of engrained man-centered sex generalizations, societal conventions, religion, and media portrayals that view women as sex objects, restrict frank sex talks, and condemn women who strive to revolt against their subjugation.
Indeed, Nigeria’s long silence on a culture of rape should be broken, especially now that the victims, who are predominantly women, have the courage to speak up about their assault. According to published statistics, sexual and gender-based violence in Nigeria primarily affects women and girls (SGBV). Between 2014 and 2016, the Tamar Sexual Assault Referral Center (SARC) reported 641 rape victims and survivors, including 401 under the age of 18, 240 over the age of 18, and 183 under the age of 10.
Regardless, 629 of the 641 fatalities were female, 12 were male, and 24 of the female victims were disabled. According to a 2014 National Survey on Abuse Against Children in Nigeria, one in four girls encounters sexual assault during their adolescence, with over 70 percent reporting several incidences of sexual violence. According to the same study, around 24.8% of girls between the ages of 18 and 24 had a rape before the age of 18, with only 3.5% of the 5% who sought help receiving assistance.
According to the National Torture Survey conducted by Women’s Aid Collective (WACOL) in Nigeria, 65% of women in the country are victims of rape and sexual assault. According to a 2012 poll performed by the CLEEN Foundation, only 23 percent of rapes are reported to police and government authorities. Consequently, 77 percent of rapes go unreported.
Generally speaking, rape victims do not receive proper treatment or medical care. According to WACOL’s inquiry and analysis, victims of rape rarely speak out because of shame, stigma from the broader public, mental anguish, and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs). WACOL added that, as a result of SGBV, the rate of HIV/AIDS among women has skyrocketed while it has steadily declined among men.
According to HIV/AIDS statistics from 2020 to 2016, the disease has increased among women from 51.7% to 53.3% while declining among men from 48.3% to 46.9%. Without a doubt, rape is a serious crime. Section 358 of the Nigerian Criminal Code specifies that a rape is punishable by life in prison, however Section 359 of the Criminal Code Panel states that an attempted rape is penalised by 14 years in prison. In contrast, laws have been enacted in Nigeria to combat the issue of rape.
The Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act of the Federal Capital Territory of 2015 is an example of such legislation (VAPP). The minimum sentence for rape is 12 years in prison with no fine, the highest is life in prison, and if the perpetrator is under 14 years old, the maximum is 14 years in prison. If the rape was committed in a group, each offender would receive a 20-year prison sentence.
Regardless of the circumstances, rapists should be publicly named, and rape victims should be compensated as the court deems appropriate. Despite the fact that this legislation has been established, there is a lack of effective enforcement and legal comprehension of parts of the rape offense, such as consent.
When there are no traces of wounds, broken hymens, or other evidence to support rape allegations, the alleged perpetrator may not be indicted, and the accused has a low likelihood of being convicted. In Nigeria, rape victims are assaulted each minute, each hour, each day, each week, each month, and each year. Women and girls in Nigeria are victimized by gender-based violence, including rape, therefore there is no safe refuge for them.
In Nigeria, a culture of rape has become pervasive. It is not a myth. It is now a normal component of a woman’s life. In addition, the majority of African nations lack anti-violence legislation, and those that do rarely implement it. The absence of prosecution, which adds to the rape culture, has also contributed to some of the most heinous cases of rape.
After the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1820 in 2008, assault and sexual violence were designated as “war crimes, crimes against humanity, or a manifestation constitutive of genocide.” While progress has been achieved in addressing some of these concerns, Africa still has a long way to go, especially now that there are new highways for the spread of rape culture and sufficient data indicating that sexual cruelty is still ubiquitous and new strategies are required to combat it.
1.2 DESCRIPTION OF THE PROBLEM
Nigeria has the largest population in Africa. Multiple examinations examining the prevalence of gender-based violence in the nation’s institutions indicate that the issue is pervasive. According to two recent studies, 15% and 27% of young women have undergone forced penile penetration and attempted rape, respectively, while 44% had been subjected to unwanted physical contact (tade 2020). In a separate survey done in Ondo State, western Nigeria, 27% of schoolgirls said that their teachers sexually assaulted them, while 79% of schoolgirls reported that male classmates sexually harassed them.
The majority of reports originate from institutions in the south of the country. Little comparative research has been conducted in the northern region of the country, which is culturally distinct from the south. Therefore, we undertook this study to examine Gender-Based Violence Against the Career Development of Female Students in Nigerian Universities. The findings may be used to advocate for gender tolerance and to inform and develop strategies and policies to avoid gender-based violence in higher education institutions.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY PURPOSE
Examine the reasons for gender-based violence at the University of Calabar.
Examine the impact of gender-based violence on professional advancement at Calabar University.
Investigate means of preventing gender-based violence at the University of Calabar.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following research questions guide the study’s purpose.
What are the root causes of gender-based violence at Calabar University?
How does gender-based violence impact professional advancement at the University of Calabar?
How may the University of Calabar prevent gender-based violence?
1.5 Importance of the Research
This research will contribute to the existing body of literature on this topic and serve as a resource for academics, researchers, and students pursuing future research on this or a comparable topic.
1.6 RADIUS OF STUDY
1.7 LIMITATION OF STUDY
Due to budgetary and time constraints, the study was restricted to the University of Calabar and a certain geographical region (the south south).
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Gender-Based Violence Gender-based violence refers to damaging acts committed against a person on the basis of their gender. It stems from gender inequity, power abuse, and negative norms. Gender-based violence (GBV) is a grave violation of human rights and a threat to life and safety.
Career Development: Career Development or Career Development Planning refers to the process by which an individual’s occupational standing may evolve. It is the process of making decisions that align personal requirements for physical or psychological fulfillment with chances for job advancement.