Violence against the girl child is one of the most ubiquitous human rights violation in all societies, that has brought about long lasting physical, psychological and emotional damage to its victims.
What is its origin? Well, that's very simple. This human rights abuse is the result of harmful traditions like Female Genital Mutilation, social norms and stereotypes that aim at portraying men as strong, aggressive and important, and women as weak, submissive and insignificant, one that should only be seen and not necessarily heard, one whose human rights don't matter.
It is very disheartening to realize that this is present in every continent, every race and every social and economic class, and this problem has lasted so long in our society because, the girl child is often neglected and not supported socially in the society.It is also prevalent in some workplaces and schools, where the girl child has to go through gender discrimination and sexual harassment, and also in some families where the girl child is forced to marry men who are far more older than them, and also assume the role of women, including reproductive responsibilities, whilst they're still children themselves.
Is there a solution? A way forward? Well, yes. Aysha Taryam said, "If we are to fight discrimination and injustice against women we must start from the home for if a woman cannot be safe in her own house then she cannot be expected to feel safe anywhere.". We really need to speak out about violence in our homes. As we know, the family is the basic unit of the society, on which the basic building blocks of values and moral are built upon, but when harmful cultures and traditions like breast ironing, Female Genital Mutilation, sexual assault, battery, forced marriage, marriage by abduction and so on, are being promoted in the family, the children (both male and female) grow up with such harmful mentalities( boys are made to believe that girls don't have human rights so, they can treat the girl child anyhow they like, and an inferiority complex is instilled in girls), and they in turn promote these harmful cultures. Boys, young men should be engaged as agents of change in the fight against violence against the girl child by instilling in them good values and morals, when they're younger, and also making them aware of the reasons why they should respect the human rights of the girl child, and not take advantage of them just because they are stronger and more aggressive. People who assault and abuse the human rights of women and girls should be duly punished, and the victims of these violations should be reached out to and supported by counseling or any other way possible.
There is only little achieved when the fight against violence against the girl child begins from the home, as compared to, when it is extended to the society, nation and world at large. Joe Biden said, "When violence against women is no longer societally accepted, no longer kept secret; when everyone understands that even one case is too many. That's when it'll change.". The expulsion of violence against the girl child is only possible when we sensitize the populace on the dangers of harmful traditions, passed on as "cultures" from generation to generation. This can be achieved by involving respectable community and family heads in the fight against violence against the girl child, as more people tend to listen to what they say.
The government also have important roles to play in this fight. Stronger legal regimes have to be formed to fight against violence against the girl child. I'm not talking about just making laws. I mean... anyone can make laws. What really matters is the implementation and enforcement of these laws. Laws protecting the human rights of the girl child in schools and workplaces should be made and enforced, and prosecution and punishment of offenders should be adhered to, no matter the person involved.
The girl child has been used and I still being used during conflicts and humanitarian situations to make a point. They are usually raped, threatened, sexually assaulted and exploited, trafficked and used to get ransom by kidnappers, terrorists, ritualists,etc. I can vividly recall the announcement of the abduction of the Chibok girls by Boko Haram in 2014. It is sad to know that more than 100 girls out of the 276 girls abducted, are yet to be rescued, even after seven years. And what were their experiences? They were brutally beaten, almost starved to death, threatened with death, forced to convert to Islam and forced marry the Boko Haram fighters. This is clearly an example of human rights violation. There are still many more out there who are still in need of our help, and we can render this help by supporting those who are prone to dangerous situations that can lead to sexual exploitation,etc. Skill acquisition and empowerment programmes should be organized to equip the girl child with skills that give a life of better prospects.
Patrick Stewart said, "Violence against women is learned. Each of us must examine- and change- the way in which our own behavior might contribute to, enable, ignore or excuse all such forms of violence. I promise to do so, and to invite other me and allies to do the same". I believe that the very first agent of change is ourselves as individuals. If we stop ignoring, aiding and abetting this crime, along with the collective efforts of the community, society, nation and the world at large, I'm sure that violence against the girl child will no longer exist in our world.