By AJIRIOGHENE ADOGA
In our world today, technology has given us an opportunity to understand the depth of societal problems, where it is most prevalent and how to tackle the problems effectively. An example is the eradication of polio in Africa. Can technology play a role in dealing with sexual violence against women? Global statistics today reveals that 1 in 3 women have suffered physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. Further statistics reveals that 38% of women are murdered by their spouses. A plethora of issues contribute to the perpetration of sexual violence in different contexts which needs to be examined in order to proffer sustainable solutions to the problem.
Studies have revealed that illiteracy plays a major role amongst victims and perpetrators of sexual violence, childhood trauma due to violence in the home, personality disorders suffered by the perpetrator, alcohol abuse, unemployment of women, cultural practices, gender discrimination. It is evident that gender inequality and norms are responsible for sexual violence against women. One of the ways that many countries have dealt with this issue is by providing psychosocial and psychological support, social and economic programs. Based on the causes listed above, it will be imperative for governments to improve on the system of education. If education is made free or affordable for all, young girls and women will be safer in their communities as they will learn about their rights and can learn to defend themselves while the young boys and men will understand how to treat girls and women in their communities. Many non-governmental organisations (NGO)s play a huge role in supporting victims of sexual violence and are able to educate and support victims effectively. If the government is able to provide support for these organisations through funding more ground can be covered.
Another area that can be dealt with as a preventive measure is the cultures and traditions that seek to harm women. Certain cultural practices permit the use of sexual violence as punishment for “shameful behaviour”. To deal with this problem, religious, community leaders and influencers can come together to discourage men in the community from participating in such behaviour. They can include an incentive for whistle blowers who report perpetrators to the authorities. This will encourage women who may ordinarily choose to protect the perpetrators to speak up. Women will need technical training for them to have a source of livelihood which they can survive on if they decide to leave the abusive situation. If a society is able to educate it’s people on the value of women in the workforce, economy and homes there will be increased respect for women and treatment in all spheres of life should improve for women in such a society. There needs to be systems in place for women who experienced sexual violence at a young age, the governments can make provision for therapy in order for these women to overcome their traumatic experiences. There also needs to be due process followed in order to deal with the perpetrator according to the law.
More so, a weak judicial system can never give justice to victims of sexual violence and may lead to the imprisonment of falsely accused suspects, hence it is important for the judicial system to be transparent and able to give justice to victims. Medical practitioners also have a role to play in protecting women who
have experienced sexual violence. They can administer medication that flushes their system and protects them from diseases like HIV/AIDs and other STD’s that may be transmitted as a result of the abuse. Free long-term care can also be provided for victims that require therapy. No single institution has the monopoly of care for victims of sexual violence. A sector that can potentially develop a sustainable solution to sexual violence against women is the IT sector. The use of smart phones to check heart rates and other health tracking features on applications can be used to monitor if a woman is being harmed. The government can sponsor programmes with the aim of developing tech solutions to sexual violence against women.
By and large, It is important that members of various sectors from health, education, economic, religious, legal, IT and security all play a role in ensuring that victims of sexual violence can move past their trauma and live normal productive lives. To this end, the most sustainable panacea for sexual violence against women is not an all-encompassing solution but a process that can be improved upon as the case may present itself. Thus, there is a need for institutions to work with the government and NGO’s to ensure that victims receive adequate support for recovery.