The Young African Women Congress (YAWC) Network has held an emergency meeting to discuss matters of domestic violence as they keep manifesting in the media on a daily basis. The meeting was to discuss rising matters and also find workable solutions for dealing with domestic violence across the continent. This was also at the backdrop of the painful death of a Nigerian gospel minister, Mrs. Osinachi Nwachukwu, who is believed to have died at the abuse of her husband and father of her four children.
Speaking at the meeting, the Chair of the YAWC Network Council, Mr. Daniel Osei Tuffuor pointed out some of the initiatives the organisation has taken in the past to help deal with issues of domestic violence, the major one being, ‘Stop Rape Campaign’ which lasted for weeks and led to the arrest and prosecution of some perpetrators. He also revealed a few challenges that the campaign encountered including victims and/or their families coming back to request that cases being pursued to ensure they as victims get justice, should be discontinued. He however, expressed optimism in the leaders to bring out feasible solutions that would save many women and girls from abuse.
All Chapter Presidents from all the countries where YAWC is represented also had the opportunity to share the situations in their respective countries and some measures taken by the government and civil society organisations and the police as well. It was, however, evident from their submissions that for quite a number of areas on the continent, domestic violence has been normalised and so there are few reports of such cases that actually come out in the public or media. In some instances, it emerged that even the police were not interested in handling cases of domestic violence because they did not consider them as serious issues.
These and many more have made it imperative to find lasting resolutions for a more secure continent.
Key among resolutions that emerged from the meeting involve a massive and consistent online campaign for a short period of time to sensitise the general public about the menace of domestic violence and its effect for building a formidable society. A call for articles from members of the Network that speak to the matter from different angles was also high on the agenda. These are nonetheless, short term actions to be effected immediately to mitigate the current issue of normalisation of domestic violence.
In the long run, there will be community programmes and grassroots mobilisation to help engage women and girls on a personal basis to really conscientize them. There will also be other initiatives to engage men and boys to remain protective of women and girls rather than being abusive.