A Statistical Snapshot of Violence against adolescent girls states that “Every 10 minutes, somewhere in the world, an adolescent girl dies as a result of violence and this represents the most extreme and irrevocable continuum of the array of violence faced by girls on a daily basis, usually at the hands of those closest to them. This violence can be emotional, physical and sexual”.
This year’s theme coincides with the plight of our girls abducted by the insurgents in the North east, their pains, deprivations and diminished human dignity.
Being an adolescent could be challenging and difficult as it is a period where one is seen as both a child and an adult at the same time. An adolescent is a young person between the ages of 13 years – 19 years. It is a growth period from Childhood to adulthood, where there are a lot of both physical and psychological changes.
According to WHO, ‘’Adolescence is a period of life with specific health and development needs and rights. It is also a time to develop knowledge and skills, learn to manage emotions and relationships, and acquire attributes and abilities that will be important for enjoying the adolescent years and assuming adult roles’’.
Violence comes irrespective of age, the adolescent suffers from all forms of violence directly and indirectly. This has increased the use of drugs, alcohol and activities, mostly negative to suppress the pain and vacuum.
A child born today 11th October, 2017 will be an adolescent come 2030. There is need to create a responsive environment suitable for the adolescent now, and the adolescent in 2030. Empowering a girl child goes beyond the will and boldness to demand justice, but also life skills, improve critical thinking, and build self esteem. The girl child should be protected irrespective of her religion, social class, race and level of IQ.
Over the years, we have read of young women who are conquering the world as adolescents, but one that made the world to stand still was Malala Yousafzai. She said ‘’I raise up my voice, not so that I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard’’. It will take a girl child with strong resolve and determination to do what she is and has been doing. We must groom and raise young ambassadors who despite all odds will stand for the truth and seek justice.
With a legal framework like the Child Rights Act, that seeks to protect the girls from violence and promote their rights, it is imperative that structures be instutionalized to enforce it.
With the likes of Malala Yousafzai and determination, the girl child will conquer anything.
HAPPY INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE GIRL CHILD!!!
from: Hajiya Saudatu Mahdi (MFR)