The last two weeks has been a bit of a whirl wind. I was commissioned to write a story on the Miracle Centre which is a rape crisis centre here in Lagos. I also got the opportunity to collaborate with photographer Logor Olumuyiwa Adeyemi. You can check out his other works here. I don’t think i expected the reception and the outcry on social media that followed after the story was published. A group of concerned young women got in touch with me on twitter and instantly started a Gofundme and #savemirable campaign. Through crowdfunding, we raised just about ten thousand dollars in two days and now the figures have gone up even further.
I am still gobsmacked at what a little story could achieve. Beyond the monies raised to assist the centre with the wonderful work that they are doing, i am grateful that other conversations around our attitude and mentality towards sexual violence is taking place. We are no where near we need to be but i think it is a start and i always stay thankful for progress however little. Here is an excerpt from the Aljazeera story but you can read the rest of it on the website.
Our attention is taken by a young girl rushing down the corridor. She bangs forcefully on the door of the toilet. I recognise her as Mercy, a 15-year-old I met at a survivor’s forum a few months ago. She didn’t talk much then, but today she comes and sits by me in one of the consulting rooms that belong to the hospital.
Mercy was raped by a cousin when she was six years old. She now suffers from fistula.
She is wearing a bright red dress and a glow in the dark rosary. We hug and exchange pleasantries. She left school when she was 11 and is learning fashion, she tells me. She seems happier than the last time I saw her.
Then Mercy begins to recount her story.
She was six years old when it happened and living in Benue state, in the north central region of the country.
One day she returned from school with three friends. A 17-year-old male cousin had been harassing her, and that night he brought four other men to the house. For Mercy, everything from the moment he began to rape her is a blur.
Her next memory is of waking up in the hospital the following day, and being told what had happened.
All of the girls were raped, possibly multiple times by more than one of the attackers, but Mercy does not know for sure because she blacked out. One of her friends did not survive; another died last year as a result of the injuries she sustained on that night. Mercy and one other girl are now the only survivors.
She had to leave school because of the fistula that developed resulting from the attack. Doctors had told her that she was too young to undergo the restorative surgery known as VVF. And, unable to afford adult diapers, she must rely on cloth to soak up the waste that leaks from her.
“The thing [the fistula] always disgraces me,” she says.
Click here for the full article
If you would like to support the centre of find out more about the work that they do please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org