The Duchess of Cornwall has become patron of Nigeria’s first sexual assault referral centre.
Camilla, who has long campaigned over domestic abuse and sexual assault, hailed the Mirabel Centre in Lagos as a “truly trailblazing organisation”.
Clarence House said the duchess will be working with a group of Nigerian and British Nigerian women over the coming months to find ways to help the centre.
It was founded eight years ago, and offers a safe place for survivors of rape and sexual assault, providing free medical and psychosocial support services to more than 6,450 survivors.
8 years ago, Mirabel Centre founder @EzeAnaba took a leap of faith. Despite the challenges and the pressure to change focus, she knew she could not fail that 14-year-old girl who told her in 2003 how her father had been raping her since the age of 11…#MirabelAt8 pic.twitter.com/UCrjiBwZiq
— Mirabel Centre(SARC) (@MirabelCentreNG) July 1, 2021
Camilla said: “I am delighted to become patron of the Mirabel Centre in Lagos.
“It is a truly trailblazing organisation, supporting survivors of rape and sexual assault as they seek healing and justice.
“Their vital work means that women need no longer suffer in silence and I am deeply grateful to all Mirabel’s wonderful staff and volunteers.”
The non-governmental organisation was set up by Itoro Eze-Anaba in 2013.
Ms Eze-Anaba welcomed Camilla’s patronage, but highlighted the rise in survivors using the centre, particularly during the pandemic, and the nature of the some of the harrowing cases.
“This announcement is timely considering the devastating nature of sexual violence and the increased advocacy for survivor support services which has led to an increase in the number of survivors who require the services of the centre,” she said.
Keren, Ini, Uwa, Barakat, Ochanya…
The level of violence against girls is appalling. Where exactly are girls safe?
Home? Not safe.School? Not safe.Place of worship? Not safe.In the market? Not safe.Going for interviews? Not safe.
We demand justice! pic.twitter.com/mXbpODmqCp
— Mirabel Centre(SARC) (@MirabelCentreNG) August 26, 2021
“The current Covid-19 pandemic has further revealed the endemic nature of sexual violence.
“We have seen a huge number of children and women coming forward to report cases of sexual assault and rape.
“Our youngest survivor is a three-month-old baby, and the oldest an 80-year-old woman.
“We are confident that the support of the duchess will make a difference.”
The Mirabel Centre was the first of its kind to provide holistic and psychosocial and medical services to survivors in Nigeria.