Community Update

Digital Empowerment Toolkit Now Available!

At World Pulse, we recognize the need for ongoing learning—for you and for your community! Our toolkits aim to provide the resources you need to advance your social change work.

We are excited to introduce our Digital Empowerment Trainers’ Toolkit, a dynamic resource to help you bring the benefits of connecting online to women in your community. Check it out today! »

Looking for Light in the Tunnel:Getting Justice For Sexual Violence victims in Nigeria

The team for OPERATION STOP SEXUAL VIOLENCE

In a country that gained independence nearly 50 years ago,
half of those years by democratic governance, is suppose to be making significant strides in diplomacy, women are still being raped, of their bodies and of their rights. Yes! Nigeria
is developing in industry, science and technology, entrepreneurship, banking and
finance. Even in the educational and agricultural sectors, though still below
expectation, the country has recorded some achievements. When put on a
performance scale on issues of security and justice for its people, my
beloved country has not only performed below expectations, it has also failed
its people seriously.
I remember with nostalgia those days when we were in
primary school. At every anniversary of Nigerian independence day, we as
school children received gifts. We would gather in each local council
headquarter to wine and dine and give great ovation to our dear country.Great was our hope, expectations and aspiration for the nation. In those days
girls and women could go out at anytime of the day, visit their neighbours and friends, and even spend the night with them without fear of being
molested or abused. As a mother you could leave your girl child with your
neighbours and travel out of town without fear of the girl being abused. The
situation was not too different as we progressed to higher institutions of
learning.
The youths then enjoyed lots of goodies until mid-1980s when
Nigerians experienced a downturn all of a sudden. The experience then was
like sleeping in the White House to suddenly wake up in a ghetto. Since then,
the situation has not been the same. The rate of poverty has become so high,
and people have become so frustrated and conscious of poverty. Violence,
bribery and corruption have become the order of the day, and patriotism and
brotherhood have been thrown into the dustbin.
Since the inception of the current democratic experiment with Chief Olusegun Obasanjo as executive
president, some degree of normalcy has started to settle into Nigerian
society with the exception of sexual violence, which still abounds. The
reasons for this are not far fetched. The level of poverty, bribery and
corruption are the major reason why rapists are not often brought to arrest,
despite the fact that cases of sexual violence against women are reported
almost everyday.
As a guidance counselor in a secondary school, I listened to
a 13 year-old girl declare her intention to end her life because she was fed
up. She told me of a cousin living with her family, who had been violating
her sexually since she was eight years old. The cousin threatened that she
would die if she revealed the secret. While we were admitting a new girl to
the secondary school in 2005, she revealed that a neighbour had pretended to
send her on an errand, and forced her to have sex with him, which resulted in
her pregnancy. The stories go on.
When I joined the university, a student visited a friend in the male hostel, who raped her, and then dared her to
shout out and carry the stigma around throughout her stay on campus. What do
you say to girl, who was coming from class after reading, only to be accosted
by some boys on her way to the hostel and raped? Or the one that was coming
from town to campus in the night carried by a bike and was raped by the bike
rider? There are countless number of house servants who are used as an
alternative when the wife of the master of the house is not around; the
countless number of girl students being sexually abused by their teachers and
are coerced into keeping it a secret.
We have to STOP women abusers in this country so that we will not jeopardize the future of our nation, as we all know that women are the heart of every nation. Thank God for organizations
like Women Against Rape, Sexual Harassment and Sexual Exploitation (WARSHE).
They handle many cases of sexual violence for many victims who are socially,
culturally, and economically disadvantaged and may not be able to afford
taking up personal cases themselves, even if they desire to, because of
poverty and social status. With the educational and enlightenment campaigns
embarked upon by these organizations, people are now becoming emboldened to
declare cases of sexual abuse. The most challenging aspects of the work of
these organizations are the difficulties that are often encountered in
securing justice for girls and women who have survived sexual violence and
abuse.
At WARSHE, the coordinator cited instances of frustrating encounters
with persons in the administration of justice, medical doctors, police
officers, magistrates, and even judges. To address this issue, a workshop was
convened by WARSHE in 2004 on the search for justice with financial support
of African Women Development Fund (AWDF). The participants were drawn from
various strata of society, including medical practitioners, lawyers,
magistrates, prosecutors, police detectives, teachers, social workers,
students, media practitioners, NGOs, etc. At the end of the workshop, a
report was issued with the defining roles of all the stakeholders in seeking
justice clearly stated. The prosecutors, court, legal practitioners and
medical personnel. Also a paper was presented by Barrister Olasupo
Ojo,president of the Center for Rule of Law at another workshop organized by
WARSHE in 2006 for Police Investigators and Prosecutors under Osun State
command. He said “For reasons that are undergoing continuous investigation,
it is becoming more and more difficult to secure conviction in cases of
sexual violence especially rape cases. "Sexual offences under the criminal
justice system in Nigeria is administered by public institutions. Each public
institution is administered by human beings with their peculiar
idiosyncrasies as determined by their background, social orientations and
cultural beliefs which ultimately influence the performance of their
functions as public officers either positively or negatively depending on
individual circumstances.” He went further to say that once there is a
report of sexual violence, the normal thing is there must be no delay, the
investigation must commence immediately because of the peculiar nature of the
offence and evidence required to prove it. This can only be achieved when the
investigation is handled by policemen that are mature, humane and have
overcome societal stereotypes by virtue of formal or informal education.
After the workshop, the participants made several appeals to the government,
police and others concerned with the matter. When asked why it is difficult
to get justice for victims of sexual violence, Barrister Jide Obisakin,
Director of the Osun State Ministry of Justice said, "Delay in our judicial
system makes it difficult procedurally, to dispatch criminal cases on time.
(In addition), the inability of victims to pursue their cases to a logical
conclusion because of the stigma is also a contributing factor." Also Dr. Uwemedimbuk Ekanem, a consultant
of Community Health in University Of Uyo, Akwa-Ibom State said, "In my
experience, most of those accused of sexual violence are intimate with the
victims. African women are taught to be subservient to their men. As such,
even women similar to her would be blaming her if she is bent on getting
justice." "A girl was presented to me at our HIV clinic was raped by her
lecturer when she went to submit an assignment. After given her the necessary
medical care, I asked if she would want the man to be prosecuted, she said
'NO' that her pastor and his wife have advised her to forgive the 'Idiot'
lecturer. I was prepared to testify in court the findings of my
physical/clinical examination which would have pinned down the BEAST called
lecturer."
It will help tremendously if the international community would
impress upon the government of Nigeria: to enforce existing laws against
sexual harassment and abuse, to educate the police, and to take an active
role in sponsoring workshops organized by WARSHE and others. This action
could be targeted towards local government offices throughout the nation. A
bureau could be established by government that will be backed by appropriate
legislations to focus on handling reported cases of sexual violence and
getting justice for the victims. Great hope will be engendered by the time
attention is focused on the issue, and all are ready to do something positive
about it.
There is also the need for a place where women can gather to
discuss and present a common front to agitate for their rights from
government in order to confront the menace of sexual violence. Women
Inspiration Center (WIC) will have recreational facilities and cybercafé for
women; a place for continuing education for girls who dropped out of school
due to poverty or unwanted pregnancy; a place for those who don’t want to
further their education but want learn a vocation; a place where an abused
girl or woman could run to for safety; and a place where we will also have a
magazine that will be publishing issues that affect women. By the time, the
noise is so loud from all sides, the government will have to stop playing the
ostrich and pay attention to enforcing existing laws that make acts of sexual
violence against women a criminal act.
Meanwhile, before the realization of the Women Inspiration Center, we need your support and backing all over the world to put a stop to the menaces of sexual violence by supporting our
crusade OPERATION STOP SEXUAL VIOLENCE and ABUSE. All women are vulnerable to
sexual violence and abuse in Nigeria. We will not fold our hands and allow
this to continue. We know our destiny lies in our hands, and so a team of
women, myself as the coordinator, has decided to embark on Aggressive
Campaign on Sexual Violence and Abuse. We will be going from village to
village, town to town, and city to city to call upon local governments to
take a closer look at the issues of sexual violence; the police to live up to
their responsibility to the law; the medical workers to be prompt, thorough
and non-judgmental in examining victims and give detail results; educating
women on how to protect themselves, educating men on healthy sexual
relationships, and educating parents to rise up to their responsibilities in
taking care and protecting their children from being abused. Please share the
motto of WARSHE:
Make sure you are not raped!!!!!!!!!!
Make sure SHE is not raped!!!!!!!!!!! ###########

This article is part of a writing assignment for Voices of Our Future, which is providing rigorous web 2.0 and new media training for 31 emerging women leaders. We are speaking out for social change from some of the most forgotten corners of the world. Meet Us.

Downloads

Comments

Jennifer Ruwart's picture

Woo hoo!

I am off for a weekend camping trip, but wanted to send a quick congratulations! You did it!

Jennifer Ruwart
Chief Collaborator
JR Collaborations

busayo's picture

Yes, Thank God

Hi Jennifer,
Yes, I did it by God's grace.Thanks very much for your encouragement and being there at all times

Hugs
Busayo

Busayo Obisakin
Women inspiration Development center
Ile-Ife, Nigeria
busobisaki@yahoo.com
womeninspirationcenter@gmail.com
http://womeninspirationce.wix.com/widcng

jadefrank's picture

Make sure SHE is not raped!

Busayo,

I stand in solidarity with you in asking human kind to stop sexual violence and abuse. In this day and age, it is unfathomable that this kind of abuse and violence continues to happen and what's worse - that a blind eye is turned to the victims and rapists go unpunished. I am so inspired by your courage to assemble the Aggressive Campaign on Sexual Violence and Abuse. I will be marching with you in spirit. I also love the concept of the Women Inspiration Center. Please keep us updated on this incredible organization. Your frontline journal is so powerful and inspiring! Incredible reporting.

Love,
Jade

busayo's picture

Thanks Friend

Hi Jade,
Thanks for your support, It is being a long time, hope you are fine.
Thanks for your solidarity, we are all going to make it happen.I will continue to keep you informed concerning
the organization.

Hugs
Busayo

Busayo Obisakin
Women inspiration Development center
Ile-Ife, Nigeria
busobisaki@yahoo.com
womeninspirationcenter@gmail.com
http://womeninspirationce.wix.com/widcng

Emily Miller's picture

Look

in your mailbox!

busayo's picture

Thanks dear midwife

Hi Emily,
I really appreciate you, i have seen the edited copy and i have done the corrections.
Thanks for your support.

Hugs
Busayo

Busayo Obisakin
Women inspiration Development center
Ile-Ife, Nigeria
busobisaki@yahoo.com
womeninspirationcenter@gmail.com
http://womeninspirationce.wix.com/widcng

jap21's picture

Dear Busayo

When I think of these facts in the world, my heart gets very sad. This is spine chilling. I wish you the best in your endeavor. This must come to an end. Women are here to listen to your voice and help you multiply it all over the world. We will all talk about this in all forums.

The saddest thing is, that this does not happen only in Nigeria. There are lots of places where this is the usual way things go. As someone told me, it is the work of all of us to train our men. We need to do a better job at that. We need to find better ways that are flexible to take men's behavior, and turn it into a better, non violent one.

This is a lot of work, though, and we all need to pitch in.

Thanks for sharing.

Jackie

Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva
Tarija - Bolivia
South America
www.jap21.wordpress.com

busayo's picture

Yes, lot of work

Hi Jackie, I agree with you perfectly that there is a lot of work re shape our men and we are all going to do it.
As i train my boys to respect women and have healthy sexual relationship, you train yours and every other mothers train their own
as time goes on we will make this world safe for women and a better place to live in. Thanks for your contributions

Hugs
Busayo

Busayo Obisakin
Women inspiration Development center
Ile-Ife, Nigeria
busobisaki@yahoo.com
womeninspirationcenter@gmail.com
http://womeninspirationce.wix.com/widcng

Busayo,

I want to congratulate you on reporting on a very complex issue in such a thorough manner. I think you did an excellent job of showing us that change needs to happen at all levels in order for it to be successful. The government needs to do its part to enforce the laws it has made, but the communities and schools must do their part too, to educate our youngsters, both men and women, that this "status quo" is just not acceptable. That's why your grassroots campaign of OPERATION STOP SEXUAL VIOLENCE and ABUSE is such a crucial part of this story. If through your "on the ground" efforts more people begin to speak up, the noise will grow loud enough that the government will have to listen. Sometimes change has to happen from the ground up. I will be sharing this story with my friends, family, and colleagues so that they too can speak up and the message can grow louder. Thank you for being at the frontline in your community efforts. You set a fine example for the rest of us!

In peace,

Amy

busayo's picture

We need the change badly

Hi Amy,
Yes, we need the change very badly and we are all going to make it happen.
Please share the story with your friends family and colleagues. I know it may take time but the change will surely come.
Thanks dear mentor for all your supports. I really appreciate you.

Hugs
Busayo

Busayo Obisakin
Women inspiration Development center
Ile-Ife, Nigeria
busobisaki@yahoo.com
womeninspirationcenter@gmail.com
http://womeninspirationce.wix.com/widcng

Leslie's picture

Busayo, good piece. I'm an

Busayo, good piece. I'm an editorial midwife skipping around looking at other's pieces and wanted to make a few strictly editorial suggestions that I think would streamline your great reporting.

Get the point up in the lead: It takes a while to get to what the most important point of the story is - RAPE. And important it is. I think you can keep your broad lead while also getting that most crucial point up top as well. A revised lead would read something to the effect that: In a country that gained Democratic governance 50 years ago, is supposed to be making significant strides in diplomacy, women are still being raped, of their bodies, and of their rights.
then go from there - wrapping your color from the women's stories you've heard in with your facts. I've brought this up to others as well that it seems we write in chunks - long blocks of fact/long blocks color. But to keep a reader reading, we need to wrap a blanket around them that weaves the both fact and color together. Give them a little fact, give them a little color. Almost like giving a baby medicine in a bottle. Mix the milk with the medicine so it's more digestible. Weave the facts with the personal experiences to it's more enjoyable.

Tighter and shorter: There are instances where information repeats, i.e. lawyer, doctors attented the WARSHE, stated repeatedly in different ways. I think duplicated information can be cut out and give you a much slimmer and sleeker piece. It would stop the reader from wondering why she is being given the same information in a different format.

Lastly, I think you have to get your strongest voice up higher. I know you bring in your memories relatively soon, which is good, but the most impactful part of the piece, I thought, and the point where I heard your voice at its strongest was when you were asking: what do you tell a girl who says this? what do you tell a girl that says that? Those are strong feelings on your part and if you start the piece with that passionate frustration, the reader is more likely to want to know what the rest of your voice has to say.

Thanks. Hope something here makes sense.
Leslie

busayo's picture

Hi Leslie

Hi Leslie,
I really appreciate your imput and i have done the editing.The whole piece is about getting justice for sexual violence victims
that is why i can not erase those those quotations from the lawyers and the medical doctor.

Thanks once againand i really appreciate your effort in reading and making those imputs

Love
Busayo

Busayo Obisakin
Women inspiration Development center
Ile-Ife, Nigeria
busobisaki@yahoo.com
womeninspirationcenter@gmail.com
http://womeninspirationce.wix.com/widcng

Leslie's picture

Duplications

Of course, of course, never leave the quotations out from the laywers and the doctor, I was just referring to not duplicating information about or from them.

Leslie

busayo's picture

Thanks Leslie

Hi Leslie,
Thanks very much for your contributions, I will make sure that the quotes are not duplicated.

Love
Busayo

Busayo Obisakin
Women inspiration Development center
Ile-Ife, Nigeria
busobisaki@yahoo.com
womeninspirationcenter@gmail.com
http://womeninspirationce.wix.com/widcng

Magazine »

Read global coverage through women's eyes

Inside Congo's Growing Sisterhood

Inside Congo's Growing Sisterhood

Community »

Connect with women on the ground worldwide

PAKISTAN: They Went to School and Never Came Back

PAKISTAN: They Went to School and Never Came Back

Campaigns »

Be heard at influential forums

WWW: Women Weave the Web

WWW: Women Weave the Web

Programs »

Help us train women citizen journalists

World Pulse Voices of Our Future

World Pulse Voices of Our Future

Blog »

Read the latest from World Pulse headquarters

Announcing Our Prize Winners!

Announcing Our Prize Winners!

Partners »

Join forces with our wide network of partners

Nobel Women's Initiative

Nobel Women's Initiative