Can Technology Help To Eliminate Violence Against Women In Nigeria?

Violence against women is a worryingly prevalent phenomenon in every society, and it takes many forms - physical, sexual or mental harm; or even extreme cases of verbal abuse.

The Wold Health Organization's prevalence figures indicate that about 1 in 3 (35%) of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime.

Research also indicates that one in four women in Nigeria undergo some form of violence.

This violence against women is often downplayed or considered “normal” because of the prevalence of patriarchy in Nigerian society. Cases of rape, domestic abuse, sexual molestation and other forms of violence are usually not reported to law enforcement authorities or made known to the public for the fear the victim would be stigmatized or would have to go through another round of torture.

The few who have come out the speak on their experiences have received considerable amount of exposure from the media, and they are often vilified and ridiculed in the process.

In 2015, Nigerian illustrator and Twitter sensation Sugabelly claimed she got infected with HIV after the son of late Kogi State Governor, Abubakar Audu and his friends had raped her severally when she was younger.

Also in 2015, Rose Zannu, a hairdresser in Lagos, published Facebook photos of herself before and after her husband had beaten her because she refused to get pregnant. In the same year, 13-year-old Bayelsa resident Ese Oruru was allegedly abducted by an older man who transported her to Kano state, married her without the permission of her parents and impregnated her.

In 2014, Over 200 schoolgirls were kidnapped from the town of Chibok in Borno state by Boko Haram. Some of these girls have been killed, some have died during childbirth, and a few managed to escape.

Incidents like these highlight the need for interventions to safeguard the lives of women. Chimehack is one such intervention, hoping to use tech to make a difference for women in Nigeria.

Now in its third year, Chimehack is a two-day hackathon that will bring together hackers, experts and non-profit leaders to create tech-driven solutions focused on driving gender equality all over the world.

The Nigerian edition of Chimehack 3 will be held in partnership with Chime for Change, Global Citizen, Facebook and Co-Creation Hub Nigeria. It is leveraging on social media to find solutions that will focus on reporting and eliminating violence against women and girls.

The hackathon begins on August 26, 2016, and you can be part of it by submitting an idea on how reporting and eliminating violence against women can be made better, and also by registering to participate in the hackathon, which will take place at the CcHub in Yaba.

The sad reality is that women continue to bear the brunt of domestic and gender-based violence in our society, and as long as they don't feel safe enough to report to authorities, they will continue to cover it up so as to avoid stigmatization and protect their families.

Hopefully some of the solutions that come out of Chimehack 3 will make a difference for women not only in Nigeria but elsewhere in the world as well.

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