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Nigeria

“No matter where you are in Nigeria, in the north or south, in the city or rural, Christian or Muslim, every woman and girl is at risk of rape. Nowhere is safe or immune to this violent crime against women.”
Osai Ojigho - Amnesty International

“No matter where you are in Nigeria, in the north or south, in the city or rural, Christian or Muslim, every woman and girl is at risk of rape. Nowhere is safe or immune to this violent crime against women.”
Osai Ojigho - Amnesty International

Nigeria

One in every ten ever-married Nigerian women reports experiencing sexual violence in her lifetime. However, as high as that number is, it is misleadingly low: the best available data on the prevalence of sexual violence within the country does not account for unmarried women or girls. The way sexual violence is defined also matters—only 56% of married women report being able to say no to their husbands if they do not want to have sex. Despite these challenges, though, advocates in Nigeria have worked to ensure that survivors in Nigeria have access to a network of centers that offer comprehensive post-rape care. In that regard, they are fortunate, but more needs to be done. In a country of over 200 million people, only 30 Sexual Assault Referral Centers (SARCs) offer comprehensive post-rape care to survivors. While other hospitals and clinics exist, the challenges include: long wait times, lack of pre-packaged rape kits, no protocol for routine forensic or DNA collection or testing, lack of privacy, and fees that must be paid by the survivor.

Even those survivors who seek medical care may not have access to justice though. Nigeria has three DNA labs, but the one in Lagos State only processed 38 cases of sexual assault between its founding in 2017 and 2019. That lab only processes cases within Lagos State unless the evidence is accompanied by special approval. The second lab was established to provide DNA analysis to the National Police and the Armed Forces, but it is unclear whether it accepts samples for other cases. The most recently established lab is in Adamawa State, in the country’s northeast which has the highest rates of gender-based violence in the country and where, of over 600 cases, there has yet to be a successful rape prosecution.

Physicians and advocates have been calling for expansion of the number of SARCs and enhanced forensic DNA capacity in the country to address these shortcomings. Presently, the 30 SARCs that exist are located in only 18 of the country’s 36 states, and lack of funding prohibits centers from extending their reach to survivors in more rural parts of the country. Without adequate support and funding, survivors will not have access to care or justice. Expanding the reach of SARCs and building upon existing DNA infrastructure will support survivors and end impunity for sexual violence in Nigeria.

Violence against women in Nigeria

17.4% of ever-partnered women have experienced physical &/or sexual intimate partner violence, with 11% of those women having experienced this violence in the last 12 months.

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Every 68 seconds, another American is sexually assaulted.

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88¢ of every $1 goes to helping survivors and preventing sexual violence.

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