Recent data compiled by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons highlights an alarming increase in male victims of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).
The agency’s director general, Fatima Waziri-Aza, disclosed this information during a workshop held in Abuja, supported by the FORD Foundation.
Emerging Patterns of Violence
Waziri-Aza pointed out concerning instances such as near-physical violence, fathers forcibly removing their children from their homes, and men being driven out of shared residences.
This shift in dynamics was underscored as she emphasized the changing landscape of reported cases involving male victims.
Legal Protection for Male Victims
Assuring male victims that the law is on their side, Waziri-Aza revealed that in 2023 alone, the agency received 15 complaints detailing similar situations.
She highlighted the significance of men breaking the silence and reporting incidents, challenging societal norms that may have normalized such behavior in the past.
Changing Attitudes and Reporting Trends
Traditionally, complaints related to SGBV primarily focused on women. However, Waziri-Aza noted a shift in this trend, acknowledging that men are now more willing to speak up about their experiences.
This shift signifies a rejection of past attitudes and behaviors that were once tolerated but are now considered unacceptable.
Varied Complaints and Legal Safeguards
The complaints received from men range from physical violence by their partners to women isolating fathers from their children and pushing husbands out of shared homes.
This emerging trend underscores the importance of recognizing that men and boys also face SGBV issues, and existing laws are in place to protect them.
Stakeholder Collaboration and Advocacy
The workshop served as a platform for stakeholders to enhance collaboration, understanding their distinct roles and responsibilities in addressing SGBV issues.
Discussions centered around strategies to intensify advocacy efforts and prevent the occurrence of such incidents.
Agency’s Response and Reporting Dynamics
Waziri-Aza provided insights into the agency’s response, citing that in the Federal Capital Territory alone, approximately 2,400 cases of SGBV were reported last year.
While the figures for January to October indicate a comparable level, she emphasized a positive trend— the decreasing culture of silence, evidenced by the rise in reported cases.
In conclusion, the workshop played a crucial role in fostering collaboration among stakeholders and shedding light on the evolving landscape of SGBV, particularly the increasing recognition of male victims and their rights to legal protection.