The Sexual Assault Support Assistant (SASA) is an initiative of Basic Rights watch (BRW) that aims to increase counselling, awareness education on Sexual Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) in Nigeria and also connect survivors to appropriate authorities that are providing sexual assault support-services for psycho-social, legal and medical aid.
Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) is prevalent worldwide, with UN Women reporting that approximately 736 million women, i.e., one in three women aged 15 and older, have been subjected to some form of violence by either an intimate or non-intimate partner (UN Women Data, 2021). This incidence of SGBV was severely increased during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and the accompanying lockdown measures. Furthermore, according to the UN Women data, only 6% of women who have experienced violence globally have reported this, most likely due to the prevalent “culture of silence” that prohibits survivors of SGBV from speaking up and places a stigma on them. This culture of silence has also pervaded institutional arrangements and has prevented or slowed down efforts to create official government-backed channels that allow survivors to report cases or seek help in real-time.
Although women between 15 and 49 suffer from this according to UN Women, the age bracket of 15 to 30 is most at risk due to socio-economic factors. Within this, young women with disabilities are also at high risk due to their vulnerability arising from their dependence on caregivers and other individuals for support. In addition, and less spoken about is violence against young and adolescent boys. A Washington Post article, reporting a study carried out by Robert Blum et al. (2019), showed that “boys suffered higher levels of physical violence, neglect and sexual abuse by adults than girls.” Voicing out violence against young boys is even more suppressed because boys are supposed to “act tough and manly.” Thus, it is clear that SGBV against young girls and boys is sustained within the culture of silence, and there is a need to design solutions to address this and allow for people to speak up without fear of stigma or victimization.
- Survivors of sexual assault and are in need of help (legal, medical and psycho-social support)
- People (Boys and Girls) who need information and education on sexual and gender-based violence for empowerment.
- People (Boys and Girls) who need guidance and counselling on sex education and sexual and gender-based violence.
- People (Girls and Boys) who need emergency assistance when faced with sexual assault.