WARIF Partners with Nigerian Police on Sexual Assault and RapeCases across Lagos State
Women At Risk International Foundation (WARIF) is a Non-Governmental Organization that was incorporated in 2016 by Dr Kemi Da-Silva Ibru MD; MPH in response to the high incidence of sexual assault, rape and human trafficking occurring among young girls and women across Nigeria.
The foundation was created to raise awareness and advocate against this increasing prevalence of sexual violence experienced by women and is doing the best it can to ensure that these women have a safe place if and whenever such violence occurs.
On the 1st of February 2017, WARIF held an interactive session with The Commissioner of Police for Lagos State, Mr Fatai Owoseni and his area commanders from across Lagos, at the Police Officers Mess in Ikeja; where Dr. Da-Silva gave a sound presentation on the importance of a society where women are free from sexual assault, violence and rape. She encouraged the Nigerian Police to send cases to sexual assault and rape seen at the stations to referral centres such as the WARIF Centre in Yaba, where adequate medical treatment and counselling can be given; As a member of the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT) Dr. DaSilva also guaranteed the organization’s commitment to working alongside law enforcement in the state, ensuring the wellbeing of the survivors.
In responding to some of the concerns raised at the session, Dr. Da-Silva remarked that the WARIF Centre has a team of qualified full time medical staff, specifically trained to carry out medical examinations and obtain biological specimens to facilitate the collection of evidence and help with police investigations. Furthermore, Dr. Da-Silva added that in the event of survivors recanting for fear of stigmatization and discrimination, counselors trained by the Washington DC Rape Crisis Centre (DCRCC) in partnership with WARIF, are able to assist them with the healing process, ensuring they become empowered and seek justice if this is their choice.
In addition, Dr. DaSilva discussed other preventive measures being carried out by WARIF with the implementation of a Youth Based Awareness Program in secondary schools and later on in higher institutions. The curriculum is based on creating awareness and the importance of gender equality, a change in behavior and practices and the prevention of gender based violence in our schools and communities. She also emphasized the “importance of a society that speaks out against these acts, supports and protects the survivors and encourages the punishment of perpetrators”.
The session ended with a short message from the Commissioner commending and encouraging WARIF’s initiatives and stating that the Police is always willing and ready assist survivors with the care they need. He assured that all survivors will be encouraged to visit the WARIF Centre for adequate care.