By Gid Ahanonu
About 250 million women worldwide were married before the age of 15 as 700 million women were married as children while girls who marry before the age of 18 are less likely to complete their education.
The stark statistics were reeled out recently by Prof (Mrs) Ihuoma P. Asiabaka, Director, Institute of Women, Gender and Development Studies, Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO).
The occasion was the 2015 International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
In her welcome address, Prof (Mrs) Asiabaka said the “event provides individuals and groups an opportunity to mobilize and call attention to the urgent need to end violence against women and girls.”
She added that the “crests and consequence of violence against women last for generations” but added that” violence against women and girld is not inevitable, prevention is possible and essential”
She advocated for the engagement of many sectors and stakeholders in community mobilization to change social norms through school interventions, targeting staff and pupils.
She expressed gratitude to the FUTO authority headed by Prof C.C. Asiabaka for approving and financially supporting the programme.
In her paper titled, “Preventing Violence Against Women, the way forward,” the guest lecturer, Bar (Mrs) Chinweze Chika E. defined violence as “the exercise of physical force by an animate or inanimate object usually affecting or instanced to effect injuries or pains which may be emotional or physical.”
On the way forward to eliminate violence against women, the lecturer urged all to obey all acts and conventions aimed against such violence against women and girls as well as expunging traditions obnoxious to humanity.
The chairman of the occasion and the Vice Chancellor, Prof. C.C Asiabaka, represented by Prof. F.O.U. Ogwala advocated for co-operation among all to eliminate the anti-social vice through creating awareness of the issue.
He urged the students to help in spreading the news and urged the males among them not to beat up their wives and the girls not to over-shadow their husbands when they marry.