Welcome to the WARIF Survivor Stories series, a monthly feature, where stories of survivors of rape and sexual violence are shared to motivate and encourage survivors to speak their truth without the fear of judgment or stigmatization and to educate the public on the sheer magnitude of this problem in our society. The Women at Risk International Foundation (WARIF) is a non-profit organization set up in response to the extremely high incidence of rape, sexual violence, and human trafficking of young girls and women in our society. WARIF is tackling this issue through a holistic approach that covers health, education, and community service initiatives.
WARIF aids survivors of rape and sexual violence through the WARIF Centre – a haven where trained professionals are present full time, 6 days a week including public holidays to offer immediate medical care, forensic medical examinations, psycho-social counselling, and welfare services which include shelter, legal aid, and vocational skills training. These services are provided FREE of charge to any survivor who walks into the Centre.
This is the story of Anita, a 22-year survivor of rape.
I am a student at one of the prestigious universities in Nigeria. I was on holiday when my mother insisted that I enrol in a fashion school temporarily to keep me busy until I resumed back to school. On one fateful afternoon, I left the fashion institute early and headed to my uncle’s bar on the Island. I had not seen Uncle Odita since I returned home and he was my favourite uncle from childhood, he had a pleasant personality and that endeared him to me.
When I got to the bar, he was not around, so I called him, and he told me to give him an hour to join me and so I waited for him in the lounge so I would not be lonely. There were a few members of staff who knew me and asked if I wanted anything, I declined and responded that I would wait for my uncle to return before having any meal or drinks.
Uncle Odita arrived late in the evening and told me he was famished, so his staff quickly made chips and chicken for us, and we sat down to eat and gist as the day began to turn dark. He asked for drinks to be served, whisky, vodka, and other alcoholic drinks, so I refused to drink. The Lounge got busy as more people came in after the close of work, so we moved to the VIP section with some of his friends joining us as they insisted that I wasn’t a child anymore and asked my uncle to mix whisky with soft drinks for me. My uncle refused because he knew I had never taken alcohol in my life. When they kept persuading him, Uncle Odita reluctantly agreed and then he mixed the whisky with soft drinks for me as I began to sip my drink into the night.
My uncle called my parents that I was with him and that he would drop me off since it wasn’t the first time, I had stayed that late with my uncle, and they did not feel any concern. As a matter of fact, my uncle was like an adopted son to my parents because he lived with my parents from childhood and he was in my household when I and my other two siblings were born, he only moved out when he got married about 5 years back and he had never given my parents or anyone reason to be worried.
As I sipped on the drink, I began to get feel dizzy and drowsy and felt like throwing up, so I stood up and left for the restroom where I vomited and washed my face. I managed to come back, and my uncle noticed my face was red, and I lost consciousness, so he excused his friends and dragged me to his room because he had a reserved room which he normally passes the night anytime he’s unable to go home. He told me to lie down, turned the light off that I should sleep that the alcoholic will wear off before daybreak and that he would be checking on me intermittently, and then he left to rejoin his friends. I did not know how long I had slept when I slipped into consciousness and felt someone on top of me, having sex with me, I tried to push him off, but I was so weak from excessive vomiting earlier on, then I also tried to shout but my voice was so faint that no one could my cry. The perpetrator continued thrusting as I was slipping in and out of consciousness and I did not know when he left.
I woke up late in the morning and I felt pain in my vagina and tummy. I also saw blood stains on my pants because I had never had sex before and I prided myself that I will only lose my virginity when I get married. I slowly stood up to recollect the accounts of the night hoping that it was a nightmare that I needed to wake up from, but alas it was not a dream. I lay down again and suddenly, the door opened and then my uncle came in. He noticed the pain on my face, and he brought hot chocolate for me, I sipped a little of it and told him, someone raped me last night. He told me I must be joking but I showed him the bed sheet that had blood stains, then he quickly sent for his doctor, and she came in, checked me, and said he should report the incident to the nearest police station.
The police came for an investigation and it was in the process that they asked to see the CCTV camera fortunately it was turned on, and they saw my uncle’s bosom friend Mr. Emeka sneak into the room in the middle of the night and stayed in for a long time, after which he also sneaked out. It was at that moment that my uncle said it must have been the time, he followed one of his other guests to the car and left Mr. Emeka alone and they spent quite some time talking in the car and when he returned, he didn’t meet Mr. Emeka on the seat and he was about to go check up on him when he showed up and said he went to use the toilet and he told him, he needed to go home in a hurry that he just realized he wasn’t feeling too well. My uncle said he felt he had too many drinks, so he allowed him to go.
The perpetrator was arrested by the police, and we were directed to WARIF RAPE CRISIS CENTRE at the police station. I arrived at the centre in a terrible state of mind because I was dealing with self-blame, anger, frustration, mood swing, and loss of appetite amongst others. To my amazement, the professionalism exhibited by the WARIF staff uplifted my spirit. I was medically accessed and treated by the medical personnel, and I also had psycho-social counselling sessions for free. At counselling sessions, I was encouraged and told that the rape incident was not my fault but entirely the fault of the perpetrator. The session helped to deal with my emotions, especially the animosity I had towards the perpetrator of the crime for taking away my virginity. I learned that it might have been worse if the perpetrator had gone ahead to arm me in my unconscious state and I was also taught coping mechanisms to deal with trauma issues. I left the centre with renewed hope and courage that I am an overcomer and that I can still live a fulfilled life despite the setback caused by the incident.
The good news is that the perpetrator was charged to court and sent to jail for the crime committed against me. It’s been a year and six months now and I am in my finals and rounding up my project with a first-class grade in the last exams. Although I’m still evolving, I can boldly say that the future is indeed very bright for me and I’m using this medium to thank the counsellor and everyone at WARIF centre without which my healing journey would not have been possible.
Thank you to the WARIF Team.
*Real name of the survivor changed for confidentiality
Dear survivor, please know that you are not alone, and it is not your fault. Help is available. If you have been raped or know someone who has, please visit us at:
The WARIF Centre
6, Turton Street, off Thorburn Avenue, Sabo, Yaba.
or call our 24-hour confidential helpline on
For questions or more information please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org