By Sola Ogundipe
SUCCOUR has come for victims of rape and other forms of sexual abuse and violence in Lagos and environs as the Women at Risk International Foundation, WARIF, Sexual Assault Referral Centre: (The WARIF Centre), to raise public awareness and advocacy against the prevalence of sexual violence in Lagos and environs.
In a chat weekend during an open day at the Centre, the Founder/CEO of WARIF, Dr. Anita Kemi Dasilva-Ibru said the Centre will serve as a safe haven for all young girls and women who have been affected by this harrowing problem, providing medical care, social support and promoting their well-being and empowerment.
She said the Centre which officially opens to the general public from December 1,2016. is in response to the high incidence of sexual assault, rape and human trafficking occurring amongst young girls and women across Nigeria.
“This Foundation was established to stem the tide of sexual violence. It is our primary social responsibility to ensure that all young girls and women live in a society free of rape and sexual violence.
“WARIF is bringing initiatives that will be effective, and a structure that can be added into the existing infrastructure and even improved upon. The first initiative of the Foundation is to target the urgent needs for these survivors. The opening of the WARIF Centre is the first of many initiatives, that will be set up by the Foundation and the first step on it’s journey towards achieving this goal,” DaSilva-Ibru stated.
It was gathered that WARIF is collaborating with several government agencies the Lagos State Ministries of Health, Justice, Women Affairs & Poverty Alleviation, and Youth & Social Development. The Lagos State Domestic violence & Sexual Violence Response team, DVSRT, and the Office of the Public defender, OPD among others.
“We all have work to do as we begin this journey but I think we are all working hard to ensure that we address this problem as it should be.
According to Executive Director of the DC Rape Center in the US, Ms. Indira Henard: “I am pleased to be collaborating on this global initiative. It is important that the International Community come together to not only address gender based-violence, but also create resources and tools to enable self -determination and freedom for all.
“The opening of Women at Risk International Foundation-WARIF does just that, it is a game changer for being able to educate and access resources for sexual assault survivors in a timely manner,” she noted.