By Precious Nwosu
The lady stared hard at the police station’s entrance, contemplating if she should go in. It took the effort to get there, and honestly, she wasn’t sure it was worth it—what if they didn’t believe her, asked her for evidence that she didn’t have, and then called her a liar? This was the last place she wanted to be.
Last week, she wasn’t this bundle of mess. No, she didn’t have a cloud of doom hanging over her, didn’t have a recurring nightmare of “that night,” and didn’t (as a temporary way to escape) use a lighter to burn her thighs since the Monday of the unfortunate incident; none of that. She was just a civil servant living alone until….well, she became a rape victim.
In an estimate of the prevalence of violence against women, conducted by WHO on behalf of the UN interagency working group on the issue from 2000 to 2018 across 161 countries and regions, it was discovered that 1 in 3 women, or 30% of women worldwide had experienced physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner, non-partner sexual violence, or both.
That 30% of women, unfortunately, have an increased risk of developing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), including detachment, self-blame, and everything else the woman described in the scenario above is experiencing. And all these are detrimental to one’s mental health.
Nobody should live their life that way.
However, support groups, trained medical professionals (therapists), and loving family and friends are suggested ways survivors can get by. Fortunately, non-governmental organizations in their own little way are trying to be all of this to survivors.
So, for Women’s Month, Adventures is taking out time to appreciate these allies in the form of women’s rights organizations and NGOs that are extending their hands to women in domestic violence homes, those helping survivors of sexual assault call out their abusers and be a therapist for them to offload their hearts on, and to those who also provide shelters for survivors to stay in while they work to get their lives back on track. These organizations through their actions seem to be saying I’m here—you don’t have to worry.
They are African NGOs, and they include:
“It is our primary social responsibility to ensure that all young girls and women live in a society free of rape and sexual violence.” – Dr. Kemi DaSilva-Ibru, Founder, WARIF.
The sole objective of WARIF, a nonprofit created in 2016, is to provide a secure environment for women and girls. It was created as a result of the increase in rape, sexual assault, and human trafficking against young women and girls throughout Nigeria and Africa.
Via various social media outlets, they raise awareness of the impact and negative effects of this harm on girls and women, demonstrate their opposition to gender inequity, and call out to those who have experienced sexual violence of any type to render help to them. They also have an established offline center in Lagos as a free service facility.
The founder has received recognition for her dedication to protecting the safety of women time and time again, most recently from the Lagos Governor’s office.
Below is the WARIF Confidential Toll helpline: 0800-9210-0009
Aduke Alakija founded The International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), a non-governmental organization made up of female Nigerian attorneys, in 1964. Its main responsibility is to defend, uphold, and promote women and children’s rights in Nigeria. It has branches in the 36 States of Nigeria.
In an interview with the chairperson of the state branch in Ondo, it was collated that they take on cases of domestic violence and assault, work with law enforcement agencies to facilitate investigations, and represent them in court. And with concerns for their mental health, would direct them to appropriate agencies for psychosocial or medical support.
And in her words, “We offer awareness campaigns on various topics affecting women, girls, and children generally.”
Below is the FIDA-Ondo Toll helpline: 07063365199
“Kivulini” in Swahili means “in the shade”. This backs the cause behind the organization which is to provide a haven for victims of domestic abuse. Six Tanzanian women who were also impacted by the pervasive violence against women started this group in 1999. Their goal is to eliminate the violence against women from its root in local communities, and alter the attitudes and actions that support it. With active awareness and enlightenment of the effect of domestic violence against women and girls they aim to prevent, rather than find solutions, to it.
It is Kenya’s nonprofit founded in 1995 and through its Access to Justice and Women’s Right Initiative, they provide free legal support to 400 women who need it each year.
Just like other organizations mentioned, it aims to curb violence against women at any level including domestic abuse and sexual assault.
The Musasa Foundation based in Zimbabwe, operates from five (5) regional offices: Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru, Mutare, and Masvingo.
They seek to eradicate domestic abuse, particularly violence against women. And this they do by arming domestic abuse survivors with the knowledge and abilities necessary to look out for them. They also offer counseling services to women and legal assistance to victims of domestic violence. The One Stop Care and Counseling Center was established by the Foundation and its partners.
Musasa’s Contact: (04) 706284, 706152
By using hashtags like #EndRapeCulture and #EndPeriodPoverty on their various social media platforms, an NGO of feminists under the age of 30 from Zambia express their intolerance for sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). They aim to end gender-based violence and inequality via their voices and actions, and they will do everything in their power to support women and safeguard girls. A march on March 4th, 2023, was organized by them to draw attention to the rising harassment and cyberbullying that women and girls experience.
The organization’s work is driven by the conviction that women’s rights are inalienable, integral, and indivisible from all other human rights and fundamental freedoms.
They can be contacted via Email or any of their social media sites.
Norsaac is one of Ghana’s top organizations fighting to stop gender-based violence (GBV) against women and young girls, despite also having a youth-focused mission. They promote sexual and reproductive health and rights, gender equality, economic empowerment, and social protection based on human rights. The aim is to facilitate social transformation in all of Ghana.
Norsaac’s Contact line: +233-(0) 50 130 3003