Dr Kemi Dasilva-Ibru is the founder of Women At Risk International Foundation (WARIF) to help victims of sexual abuse.
In this episode of Heart of the Matter, she talks with Wale Adefarasin, on the solutions WARIF is bringing, to rape crimes in Nigeria. She also talked about what consent means.
On rape in the African society
Rape in our society is very real, though we quote data such as one in four but when you speak to enough people, you’ll find out that these numbers are even more. Women sadly in our communities are not encouraged to speak out when they have had this awful encounter.
The trauma is far reaching, it’s beyond the physical trauma to the woman’s body. It’s trauma to her mind, her spirit. And if we say that a woman is the very fabric of the home, and you take away that her sense of self, trust and safety, there’s no doubt, you will see the ripple effect that that will have not just in the home but in the community.
What consent is
Consent is when a woman of consenting age which is 18 in Nigeria says yes, she’s a willing participant in the act. No means No when she says no, regardless of her age. It is also rape if she says yes and is under 18 because she is considered a minor and it is certainly rape if she’s asleep, drunk or unconscious.
About WARIF centre
It’s a rape crisis centre in Yaba. It’s a medical facility that’s working. Free to all women that have experienced similar encounters. We have in-house medical staff that can offer immediate medical treatments as well as the tests that needs to be carried out in cases such as this. The forensic medical examinations for the judiciary and the courts, HIV tests to make sure that’s not a concern as well as pregnancy tests.
We also offer psycho-social counselling ….which is extremely important. we ensure that these women are spoken to by qualified social workers and they are given follow-up appointments that are usually necessary like this.
And the third aspect that we do at the centre is social welfare. We are not in an environment where social welfare is readily available and many atimes, these poor ladies are forced to make poor choices because of the constraints of the environment they find themselves in. so we are able initiate conversations with them to establish what their needs are and to offer them accommodation or shelter if indeed that perpetrator is that father or that mother that they’re living with. We offer them legal aid because many atimes the perpetrator goes free because they had no access to legal aid in this environment.
We also offer vocational skills so that we can then empower then financially so they can then make the right choices that they need to make.
She speaks on the work they do in the video below