Supporting Victims and Survivors of Sexual Assault and Abuse in Nigeria
My intention is not to speak for victims or survivors but to ensure that they are heard. It is to let them know that they are being listened to and that their voices are valid, their truth is valid, and ensure their pain is not dismissed rather it is attended to with care.
The subject of sexual abuse and assault is one that is not well discussed in Nigeria. Even when there are discussions about it, the victims and survivors are faced with shame, guilt, and blame from people in the name of help. There are also not many resources and education about how to help people heal from such dehumanizing experiences, and that needs to change.
While writing my third book The Silence We Eat and even after publishing it, I reminded myself about the perspective I had chosen in an effort to help others who have been hurt, heal. My intention is not to speak for victims or survivors but to ensure that they are heard. It is to let them know that they are being listened to and that their voices are valid, their truth is valid, and ensure their pain is not dismissed rather it is attended to with care.
Another unfortunate thing that I realized is that some people have faced these circumstances unknowingly and they have blamed themselves for the unease they feel in their spirits. Despite the diversity of our language some don’t even know how to place words on their experiences because this topic is not discussed as often as it should and in an educated manner.
One of the projects I am assisting to coordinate in 2019 is the Natural Flowers Community in collaboration with a fantastic team of 3. It is an online community where we’ll discuss topics of healing ranging from anger to love, and spirituality while inviting some professionals from different walks of life to shed more light.
This is starting change simply by keeping arms wide and embracing those in need of a safe space to start or help progress their healing. If you are interested in just being educated about this topic, and perhaps learning how to support other people, you are welcome as well. Please repost and share the information and encourage those who may benefit from this to sign up! www.nfcommunity.org.
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© Oyindamola Shoola 2019