Home OPINION COMMENTARY Acting Like Fools Cannot Stop Gender Abuse, By Akin Rotimi, Jr.

Acting Like Fools Cannot Stop Gender Abuse, By Akin Rotimi, Jr.

The recent statements credited to the Minister for Women Affairs, Mrs. Uju Kennedy-Ohaneye, during an engagement with State Commissioners for Women Affairs, are deeply concerning, especially in the light of the prevalence of gender-based violence in our society.
While promoting peace in the home is important, the suggestion that women should avoid confrontation with their spouses as a means to prevent violence, overlooks the complexity of the issue.
Advising women to “keep your mouth shut” and “act like a fool” in response to potential abuse does not address the root causes of violence and can further perpetuate damaging stereotypes. It is important to address gender-based violence by promoting respect, equality and mutual understanding in relationships.
Many victims of gender-based violence have been known to be submissive and quiet spouses, yet ended up being beaten up and even killed. This underscores the fact that violence is often a result of the abuser’s behavior and not the fault of the victim.
It is important to highlight that Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) and domestic violence have been on the increase, and we must never support a narrative that a survivor of gender-based violence must have caused it. Such narratives only serve to blame the victim and further perpetuate harmful prejudices.
I hold conservative views shaped by my Christian faith and culture as a Yoruba man about gender roles. It is, however, important to note that the Bible, taken in context, never provided for the subjugation nor abuse of women, nor does our culture undermine the place of honour and value of women in our society. Again, the importance of mutual respect and understanding in a marriage cannot be over-emphasised. It must however, not be used as an excuse for violence or abuse.
I urge the Minister and all stakeholders to engage in constructive dialogue and action to address gender-based violence, encourage victims to speak out, and ensure the safety and well-being of all individuals.
In this regard, I welcome other suggestions of the Minister, especially on the need to expedite the administration of justice in cases of GBV, and democratizing access to legal aid and support.
NOTE: This statement is made in my capacity as a Member of the House of Representatives, in line with a pact with my people to promote gender equality as well as the protection of women and girls.
Rep. Akin Rotimi, Jr.
Ekiti North 1 (Ikole/Oye), wrote in this piece from Abuja.

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February 29, 2024

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