Options and Support
Stop the Abuse of Rights (STAR) was created in 2009 by Olutosin Oladosu-Adebowale in her bid to right several wrongs that have been done to women and children in Nigeria. The main aim of the organization is to educate women and children about their rights especially sexual rights.
Sexuality education is a subject dreaded and hardly discussed because of the patriarchal nature of our society and also the socio-cultural and economic situation has rendered women and children powerless in the face of adversity. STAR began with the compilation of several real life- story-turned poems which the founder has written true life stories of many young children and women who have been sexually violated in preventable situations. We always print pages of poems for educated parents to learn from others experiences. Though strange method, it proved to be effective as children turn poems to songs.
Stop the Abuse of Rights is handicapped due to lack of funds but we stopped complaining and began with a slogan “one life at a time”, commenced with faith based organizations and schools, training responsible adults and children on prevention of sexual assault. Unfortunately, this was initially rebuffed as it is a taboo to mention vagina and penis, when we discovered that perpetrators do not only mention but exposes private parts to uninformed children, we began rigorous campaign, cutting clips of rape cases reported daily in newspapers to accompany our introduction letters, like miracle we began to receive letters inviting us for training sessions from those who earlier on ignored us. We exposed the evil in hawking by children, with TAKE BACK THE TRAY.
A good example of one life at a time came up on February 1st, 2010, a woman whose house maid left a day old baby in her care about thirteen years ago and due to lack of parental bonding, the abandoned girl grew to become incorrigible, we met with the elderly woman and promised to find a lasting solution. The following day, February 2nd, we swung into action with a visit to a Non Governmental Organization that takes care of abandoned children but alas, thirteen year old girl is not in their agenda, but baby to 7 years old abandoned children.
As we were discussing probable solutions to this disturbing issue, an emaciated girl came in with a six months old baby girl; “I want to sell my baby” was her first statement, the orphan explained reasons behind this heinous decision. She needed three hundred and twenty dollars to rent a place and start a “small business”. The project head that is used to this concluded that, if she is handed her over to the police, they might direct her to a safe place for a good sale and collect a percentage!
Although the encounter was followed by sleepless nights, we eventually liaised with our organizations’ adviser, posted the article on Worldpulse and the comments were encouraging as we began to work with experts on International Human rights advisors and immediately help came for her, lastly, she has started a vocational training and a member of Worldpulse began to send a monthly stipend for her upkeep. This she promised to do till the mother is independent.
Now, the baby is safe with her mother, no sales to ritual killers, she can now give her the needed background, a sense of belonging, family base care and affection and care. With this one at a time process, nothing can stop STAR again. Impregnating innocent children brings about unsafe abortion, untimely death, Vesico Vagina Fistulae, extreme poverty etc, STAR believes that poverty is a state of the mind that can be eradicated with options, support and empowerment.
We posit that every girl can become a STAR unless sexually abused, new born child is loaded with full potential and opportunities abound to overcome life’s daily challenges except a child is sexually abused. To save women from poverty, the girl child must be empowered to live through childhood and grow healthily to adulthood; a sexually abused child will become poverty stricken in a country without efficient response to rape.