In a bid to curb the growing spate of sexual violence in Nigeria, the Mirabel Centre has leveraged partnerships with ride-hailing company, Bolt, and emergency reporting app, Aabo.
Managed by Partnership for Justice, Mirabel Centre is Nigeria’s first sexual assault referral centre in Nigeria with a mandate to provide free medical care and psychosocial support for survivors of sexual violence in Nigeria. Since its inception in 2013, the Mirabel Centre has served over 5,600 survivors of sexual violence.
The COVID-19 lockdown brought numerous unfortunate realities to bear, one of which was the increase in the rate of sexual violence across the country. In June, the Inspector-General of Police disclosed that the Nigerian Police Force recorded 717 cases of rape between January and May 2020. Nigeria also recorded over 3,600 cases of rape during the lockdown. This is a pandemic within a pandemic.
Itoro Eze-Anaba, the founder of Mirabel Centre, while addressing the rise in rape cases during the COVID-19 lockdown, said “Before COVID-19, rape was a pandemic. When we started in 2013, we used to receive sexual assault cases of an average of 20 people a month. Sometime in 2015, the number started to increase to the extent that before the pandemic, we were receiving 85 cases a month, sometimes 100. And it was becoming a routine to receive 100 cases or more every month. The only thing is that the reportage increased during COVID-19 so more people were encouraged to speak out.”
These partnerships with technology-based organizations, Bolt and Aabo, was birthed out of the need to prevent cases of sexual violence, rescue individuals from dangerous environments, and provide immediate support to survivors of sexual violence.
The Mirabel Centre’s partnership with Bolt will help the sexual assault referral centre solve the challenge of mobility and getting survivors to the centre safely. Survivors who require help or individuals who are in environments they need to immediately remove themselves from can contact the Mirabel Centre and have a ride hailed for them with a unique code that ensures they are taken directly to the centre at no personal cost to them.
Aabo is an application that allows survivors report cases of sexual abuse by clicking on one button. Reporting via the app triggers an emergency alert that helps the Mirabel Centre pinpoint a survivor’s location and inform a trusted contact while providing evacuation support in cases where it is needed. You can get the Aabo app on Google Play and AppStore.
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