Originally published in Ayiba Magazine
Sexual assault is a traumatic event that disproportionately affects young women worldwide. The World Health Organization finds that one in every five women is a victim of sexual assault. Across the world, 35% of women have experienced either sexual or physical intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence. Women in Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast report the highest rates of sexual violence.
In Africa, 5 – 15% of women report forced or coerced sexual experiences, but the vast majority of survivors do not receive treatment or seek justice due to social stigma or a lack of support from law enforcement. Since 2013, Lagos’ Mirabel Centre, Nigeria’s first sexual assault referral centre, has helped fill the gap by supporting survivors of rape and sexual assault. The Mirabel Centre provides medical examination and treatment services for survivors as well as counseling and information on the Nigerian legal system. All services at the Centre are free and confidential.
Nigerian NGO Partnership for Justice set up Mirabel with support from the UK Department for International Development (DFID), however in the next few months, the Centre may close as their funding comes to an end.
To help the Mirabel keep its doors open for years to come, visit their Go Fund Me page. It costs about $50 to help one survivor, and $5000 will serve 100 women. Every dollar raises helps test, feed, and counsel all who walk through the centre’s doors seeking support. Raising funds in excess of the campaign’s target will help the Mirabel ensure long-term stability.