In recent times, hardly can one read a newspaper headline without reading about a case of gender based violence or the other. In 2015, Nigeria passed the comprehensive Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act 2015, which aims to eliminate all forms of violence in both the private and public spheres and includes the right to assistance for victims of violence (Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development 2015). Despite all the legislation and effort to curb this menace, there exist a huge gap of gender based violence yet to be bridged.
A survey published by NOIPolls in July 2019 suggested that up to one in every three girls living in Nigeria could have experienced at least one form of sexual assault by the time they reach 25. In 2018, some of the key findings of Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey are as follows
- Among women age 15-49, (31%) have experienced physical violence and 9% have experienced sexual violence; 6% of women have experienced physical violence during pregnancy.
- 36% of ever-married women have experienced spousal physical, sexual, or emotional violence. The prevalence of one or more of these forms of spousal violence was higher in 2018 than in 2008 (31%) and 2013 (25%).
- 29% of ever-married women who have experienced spousal physical or sexual violence have sustained injuries; 26% reported cuts, bruises, or aches, and 9% reported deep wounds and other serious injuries.
- More than half of women (55%) who have experienced physical or sexual violence have never sought help to stop the violence; only 32% have sought help, approximately the same percentage as in 2013 (31%). Women’s own families are the most common source of help.
However, there are various organisations that focus on combating gender based violence in Nigeria and victims of such acts of violence can access them for professional help and assistance. Here are a few of such organisations where victims of gender based violence can seek help;
WARIF was founded in 2016 by Dr. Kemi DaSilva-Ibru, a gynaecologist, WARIF is an “anti-sexual violence” non-profit based in Lagos. As part of its initiatives, WARIF provides health education and community services for survivors of sexual violence in Nigeria. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit Nigeria, WARIF launched a “COVID-19 Response in Rural Communities Initiative” to provide support to women in rural areas who may be victims of sexual violence. You can call their 24 hours confidential helpline on (234)-809-210-0009, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Cece Yara Foundation is a child-centered non-profit organization established in 2016 to prevent child sexual abuse and to provide access to care, information, protection and emergency intervention for children who have experienced sexual abuse or who are at risk.The foundation rescues children from their abusers, provides post-trauma counseling and if needed medical care, education and legal support. The foundation provides a 24-hour toll-free helpline for any Nigerian child to report abuse and receive counseling (Calls 0800 800 8001), SMS or whatsapp 09085692623,Send Email: email@example.com.
DSVRT is a collection of professional service providers and officials that respond as a group and in a timely fashion to the various needs of domestic and sexual violence survivors by providing legal, medical, emergency assistance, Counselling and psychological and psycho social support. It is to encourage and create unprecedented level of collaboration among professionals working to end sexual and Gender Based Violence.To report Sexual and Gender Based violence, please call DSVRT on 0813-796-0048, 0906-288-7843, or dial *6820#.
The Mirabel Centre was established in 2013 by Itoro Eze-Anaba, a lawyer instrumental in lobbying the Nigerian government to pass a bill outlawing domestic violence, the Mirabel Centre was the first Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) in Nigeria. It specialises in free and comprehensive medical, counseling, and aftercare services for survivors, as well as free tests and medication. Mirabel Center has treated and supported more than 1,100 survivors of rape and sexual assault since it was launched. To seek for help from Mirabel Center call 08155770000.
Women Empowerment And Legal Aid, an organisation based in Nigeria, aims to break down barriers that hinder gender equality and to put an end to the abuse and violence against women and girls in Nigeria. Since 2009, the organisation has provided legal aid, training, and advocacy to end discrimination against women and promote their empowerment. The organisation is a staunch advocate of women’s rights in Nigeria. Contact WELA on +234 (705) 580-2420 or visit 25 Adekunle Fajuyi Way GRA, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria