The Possibility of Change
What is challenging in my society? There are many social ills, many things not working. With an astounding figure of challenges, you wonder, where to tackle a problem. However when it affects the future generation, we just have to do something. No matter how drastic!
Child sexual abuse, molestation and sexual violence are silent killers of the destinies of children in Nigeria, my country. The rising numbers do not represent Nigeria alone, but cuts across all tribes and tongues.
In 1999, the World Health Organisation declared it a public health epidemic and the Regional office in a meeting that held in 2004 called it the Silent Epidemic. What are the responses put to work to deal with the problem?
We do not have a bad system. What we have are people who will not go the extra mile in fulfilling their lawful expectations - People who will not add the ingredients of initiative to their assignments. My interesting challenges mirror the decadence in the systems.
The criminal justice sector comprising of the Police (Law Enforcement), Social Welfare (Child Protection etc.), Medical and Judiciary are the professionals that a victim of sexual violence will relate with either as first responders or secondary. This sector is drenched with obsolete laws, policies, lack of adequate training amongst others. In conclusion, the change clock is ticking slowly and frustrating efforts for change.
Sometimes, you think you are not contributing much.
Surprising to me, even countries viewed with much respect to the advanced developments in Rape Crisis Response face similar challenges as I recently learnt at the 2nd International Conference on Survivors of Rape held at University Medical Centre, Utrecht, The Netherlands. My colleague and I presented a poster which won the Best Poster Award. Not to brag… which I cannot in all modesty attempt.
Of course, we were elated and astonished, here at a conference that feature all professionals in the area of sexual violence response such as Psychologists, Forensic doctors & Nurses, Psycho-Trauma professionals, Sexologists, Law Enforcement Officers, Psychiatrists, etc. Nigeria shined on its 50th Independence Day anniversary.
The rate of convictions/Pleas are equally low the world over. The barriers are same all over the world particularly Non- Stranger Sexual violence which amounts for over 75% of cases. Others are the Silence which continues to fuel Sexual Transmitted Infections like HIV infections, Teenage Pregnancy and even for adult women unwanted and unplanned pregnancies.
Already, I head an organization that has started to proffer solutions that are result oriented within our low resource setting and creating change to the response of sexual violence in my country. With a population of over 140 million in Nigeria, the task is enormous. Yet, change is imminent.
PulseWire is a citadel of community of women and reaches the world that si beyond women. It is an effective tool in sharing the triumphs, lessons learnt and also motivating and inspiring ourselves that regardless of our situations there is hope out there.
That’s my life’s work and mission.