Itoro Eze-Anaba is a lawyer, who has been actively involved in the promotion and protection of women’s rights in Nigeria.
In 2000, she drafted the first ever Domestic Violence Bill in Nigeria. It was while she was advocating for the passage of this bill into law that she met a girl who was being sexually abused by her father.
She had also heard a lot of stories of how minors were raped by their fathers, uncles and other adults but didn’t know what to do.
Luckily, she was invited by the British Council to attend a seminar on gender based violence. It was there that she visited the St Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre and saw how sexual assault victims were treated.
When she got back to Nigeria and wrote her report, her recommendation was that a sexual assault referral centre was needed in Nigeria, however, the challenge was in funding.
She was tempted to let go of the idea but the story of that girl whose father was molesting her kept tugging at her heart.
Years after, she got funding from the Department For International Development, and then, she founded Mirabel Centre.
The Mirabel Centre was opened in 2013 as the first Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) in Nigeria. It provides high quality medical and psychosocial services to survivors of sexual assault and rape.
She named the center after the four sisters who fought against the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo, who was a President of the Dominican Republic. In 1960, three of the sisters were assassinated, but the memories of the great work they did was immortalized by United Nations General Assembly who designated the date of their deaths, 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
Watch her talk about the amazing work they do at the center in the video below