While the statistics are not 100% accurate, many surveys and studies conclude that 1 in every 5 Nigerian women has been raped; about 50% have been sexually assaulted, while 70% have been sexually harassed.
Stand to End Rape Initiative (STER) was started 4 years ago by Oluwaseun Ayodeji Osowobi. She realized that victims of rape and sexual violence had nowhere to go for medical and psychological support.
She decided to make sure that victims do not face the trauma alone without some help. That was how STER was born.
What STER does is provide medical support and counseling to victims of rape. STER also educates the public about consent and dismantles the myths about rape, and patriarchal notions of women’s bodies being commodities that men can access any time they want it.
STER also strives to end gender inequality and other factors that are responsible for (sexual) violence against women and girls.
Since inception, STER has provided support to 350 victims in more than 40 communities across Nigeria.
In honour of their fourth anniversary, here are 4 things you should know about rape.
Rape is the perpetrators fault. Every single time.
There is NOTHING the victim could have done to deserve it. Nothing. It doesn’t matter if she already agreed to sex and then she changed her mind. It doesn’t matter what she wore or didn’t wear. It doesn’t matter whether he bought her food or drinks beforehand and then raped her in return. It doesn’t matter what time she was out at night, nothing matters but that someone chose to take the victim’s body against her wish. It is important that we do not ascribe blame to the victims because it wasn’t their fault, and no one deserves to be raped. In every incident of rape, the blame belongs to the rapist, 100 percent.
While women make up the larger percentage of rape victims, men can be victims too.
Sometimes from women, and most other times, from fellow men. Many male rape victims are ashamed to speak out about their ordeal and they end up not seeking help. If you know any male rape victims, encourage them to get help and treatment immediately. The shame belongs with their rapist, and not them. Stand to End Rape Initiative provides support for ALL rape victims, regardless of their gender, sexuality or profession.
If you are aware someone was raped, the first thing the victim needs to do is get medical attention right away.
Mirabel Centre Lagos specializes in this, as well as any good and competent hospital. At the hospital, the victim is attended to and any injuries sustained are treated. The rape kit is used to collect and preserve any DNA evidence. The victim is also given post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) drugs to reduce the risk of contracting HIV. You need to report to the authorities, giving them details of the crime and any information on how the perpetrator can be brought to book. Next is to begin the process of psychological healing through professional counsellors. Stand to End Rape Initiative takes care of all these and more the moment they are contacted. It is important to reach out to STER because the whole process is handled and monitored by the organization, providing support and reassurance to the victim at this critical time. STER also initiates a legal process and fights to get justice for the victim.
You can be a part of the good fight against rape and gender-based violence.