Monday, 10 February 2014


Meet Oluwaseun a lady that was raped years back during her youth service, today she says she has overcome her past and is actively doing something positive about the menace called rape in our society and fighting to prevent it. Read her story below

Please tell me about yourself? 
My names are Oluwaseun Ayodeji Osowobi. I am from a family of five (parents inclusive). I was born and bred in Lagos State but originally from Ogun State. I had my primary, secondary and tertiary school education in Nigeria before I went for my Master's Degree in the United Kingdom.

What did you major in?
I gained a Master's Degree in International Relations; specialization in Gender Studies.

What do you do?

I am a gender specialist, an advocate against rape and the coordinator of the initiative Stand to #EndRape -- @StandtoEndRape.

Can you share with us what happened to you?

It was during my NYSC days in Rivers State, Port Harcourt, when the election period was on. A prospective senatorial candidate had approached me to register underage children, in order for them to be eligible to vote. I totally disagreed and the community members were not really happy about this incident. The end result was that I got raped by a community member.

Do you know the person that assaulted you, was he arrested?

Yes, I know him because I had met him one of the registration days. I think he even came to register (to be eligible to vote). No, he wasn't arrested because when I decided to report to the police, the requirement for evidence they requested for was bizarre.

What evidence did the police require?

They asked to see blood still gushing out from my private part and some other irrelevant evidence.

What did you do immediately after?

I called my parents first. Then went to the pharmacy with a friend to get a drug that will help flush my system. Some will wonder why I didn't go to the hospital. I was scared of being stigmatized, but to be honest, stigmatization shouldn't hinder anyone from doing what is right. This is why I advocate that people should immediately visit the nearest hospital for check up.

How long before you told anyone?

Like I said earlier, I immediately told my mum and also my friend (who followed me to the pharmacy).

How did this affect you?

It affected me on various levels. Firstly, losing my virginity via rape was a pain I couldn't bear. After keeping it for so long, I never envisaged losing it in such a derogatory manner. I wasn't balanced psychologically. Every man seemed to be a rapist to me.

Were you blamed for the incident?

Well, since I didn't tell many people as such, no, I wasn't blamed. My mum only told me to be courageous and stay strong.

Did you receive any support?

I received support from my parents only. This spurred me to decide to be a support system to rape survivors out there.

Have you faced any stigmatization since this incident?

Well, from the first day I decided to do my Bella Naija interview, I made up my mind to shut my ears against all forms of stigmatisation. Funny enough, I haven't been a victim of stigmatisation per say, but I have seen it happen.

What would you advice victims of rape to do?
If you ever get raped, please go the nearest hospital before taking a shower. Also get a police report to make a rape case. Don't give up with the case as I will be helping you all the way. Also, don't have any fears in identifying your rapist. Let's teach them that we are no longer afraid and ashamed; we can #SpeakOut now. Don't feel like the victim.

Do you think incidents of rape are under reported?
Yes, the incidents of rape are under reported due to stigmatisation. Victims are not emotionally/physically ready to face the pressure/ put up with the label society places on them.

You speak about it so openly now,how did you restore your confidence?
I didn't, God did. Most people feel I am weird for saying this, but it's the truth. I found my strength, beauty and self confidence in God. He reminded how much he cared and taught me that I am not who circumstance has made me; I am what he says I am. I also got my confidence back with the help of my parents. They supported me in ways beyond my expectation. They cared for me and constantly reminded me of how much they treasure(d) me.

What do you think needs to be done about rape in our society?
A lot needs to be done. First, we need more awareness on rape. We need people to be aware of their actions (just incase they didn't know it's rape). We need a Special Victims Unit in the Police Force; which will be charged with investigations and prosecution of rapists. We need to ensure justice is meted against perpetrators. There should also be a rape register where rapists can't do certain job and will always be referred to as "sexual offenders."

Rapists should be banned from contesting for elections or holding public offices.

In addition, our society can help by turning the table. The stigma of rape should be shifted from the victim to perpetrators. This will help reduce victim blaming. This will help rape victims come forward and make reports.

Also, we have realised that parents of victims tend to withdraw rape cases from the police/court of law. This is the effect of settlement (getting money from the/family of the rapist) and pressure from family members on getting justice. This needs to stop. This act in itself harbors rape and gives rapists the confidence/permission to engage in this act.

What is STER about?

Stand to End Rape (STER) is an advocacy organisation, which aims to raise awareness about the effects and stigma associated to rape, while working to prevent rape and also helping rape survivors through their trauma. The organisation uses its blog ( and video to share stories of rape survivors as well as giving them a platform to be heard.

In addition, we are also enlightening parents on the need to follow up with incidents of rape. STER also works with the police with regards to reporting rape cases and also follows-up with them.

How can people join to stand against rape?

People can support us through partnership and volunteering. We need financial sponsors to help execute our projects. We need counsellors to help with counseling rape victims, which will enable them transition to survivors.

We need schools to please open their doors so we can educate/enlighten the young ones on this issue. It's important that we start teaching them at a very tender age. We also need the NYSC Board to incorporate rape discussions during the three weeks camping.

We need the help of doctors (in general) and lawyers in helping rape survivors. We are also open to all forms of suggestive support.


  1. Rape victims are reluctant to report this crime because of the length of time it takes to get the crime to court and all then the court case is very hard. The gathering of evidence is a horrific ordeal to go through after being raped also as its invasive and can feel like being raped again

  2. Rape victims are reluctant to report this crime as its horrific going through the gathering of evidence which is very invasive and is like being raped again. The court case is so hard reliving all this badness. In Ireland the Rape Crisis Center is to be congratulated and supported for all their brilliant work.