gem MEDIA, through our non-profit arm – the gem INITIATIVE has launched a mobile app on Tuesday called Cupid.
One of the most valuable features of the Cupid app is a functionality called Abby’s Line. While the Cupid app looks like just any other relationship app, it’s also a potentially lifesaving domestic violence alert system in disguise because the Abby’s Line has a ‘Help’ button that gives users the ability to send free, preloaded text messages that alert the user’s chosen trusted contacts and local authorities about a violent or potentially violent situation with their abuser.
This was done to give some measure of privacy and protection to women who are by and large, the ones on the receiving end of domestic violence due to the stigma attached to the issue. Anyone can use the Cupid App as a silent help at hand to quickly get out of trouble.
In February 2016, Oyelowo Ayediran was reportedly stabbed to death by his wife, Yewande Ayediran, a lawyer, in Ibadan when she heard her husband had a son outside wedlock.
In May 2016, Ronke Bewaji Shonde, a woman in her mid-30s was allegedly beaten to death by her husband, Lekan. Ronke lived with her husband and 2 kids in Egbeda, Lagos state and that was where she was beaten to death by her husband.
On May 26th, 2016, 46 year old Roselyn, a mother of five was found dead with her throat slit open in her Oshodi apartment. Information had it that her husband, Jafar had serially assaulted his wife and on countless occasions, accusing her of infidelity despite the fact that Roselyn had been the bread winner of the family for over ten years.
Although there’s insufficient data on the rate of domestic violence in Nigeria, recent figures from the Domestic and Health Survey showed that domestic violence cuts across all socio-economic and cultural backgrounds. 28% of all women, almost a third of all women in Nigeria have experienced physical violence. In a country of 160 million with a female population of about 70 million, this puts at least 23 million women at risk! It should be noted that these are only reported cases. Much more go unreported.
On children, the effects include poor concentration in school, aggression, disobedience, pessimism about the future, dropping out from school, depression, early marriages to escape the family home and much more. There is an increased risk of children becoming victims of abuse themselves and a strong likelihood that this will become a continuing cycle of violence for the next generation.
Also, marriage appears to be an endangered institution today. While there are insufficient figures here in Nigeria, 40% of marriages end within 15 years. The younger a person marries, the more likely it is that they will get divorced. Adults without full formal education and who have a low household income are more likely to be divorced as well. Christian couples are not exceptions either as they are just as likely to get divorced as their secular counterparts.
The Cupid app is a one-of-its-kind mobile application that gives couples access to creative, poetic ready-to-send text messages that would help them express their innermost feelings easier. It’s a proudly Nigerian app and the first of its kind as well because enables couples send creative preloaded messages not just in English, but in Pidgin English and various Nigerian languages.
We are collaborating with the Office of the Public Defender, Lagos State Ministry of Justice, and the Domestic Violence Response Team in respect of issues relating to domestic violence. In future, we hope to expand in order to handle cases of child abuse as well. We also need Non-Governmental Organisations in matters of domestic violence, churches, financial institutions and other relevant bodies to partner with us in ensuring that women are adequately protected from the ills of domestic abuse. More than ever before, there is an urgent need to participate in putting an end to cases of women subjected to violence in their homes and relationships without recourse.
Strong marriages and healthy relationships are associated with economic growth, reduced poverty, lower crime rates and an overall progressive society. With the Cupid App and Abby’s Line, we can ensure that relationships become stronger, see to it that fatalities are reduced and hopefully eradicated as we shine the light on domestic abuse and refuse to be silent bystanders; in line with one of our mission to contribute positively to a healthier society.