Growing Out of Stigma

Women who have been sexually or domestically abused are often too scared by the stigma attached to talking about the crime to their families or reporting their violators to the relevant authorities. For Stella, her expereince of abuse meant cultural disassociation, voicelessness, undernourished family, lack of education for her children and other deprivations.

Stella* is one of our long term clients in Kogi State. We met her after the death of her husband, she was managing to look after her two children by knitting jumpers for the local schools. However, when she was violently raped and became pregnant through the rape she was unable to complete her orders and her business failed.

Stella suffered the stigma which still surrounds women who have been raped in Nigeria. Her late husband’s family removed her children because they viewed her as unclean. They sent them to another city, she still has not seen them and can only communicate with them by phone. She now has a beautiful baby boy and despite his tragic beginning he has brought much healing to her in her lonely and outcast state.

We have worked with Stella to re-establish her relationship with the church and her late husband’s family. The church has been welcoming, and with some help Stella has also restored her relationship with the schools who gave her the knitting contract. With a little grant from ADVANCE she was able to provide them with the backlog of jumpers she owed them and has built up her business again very successfully. A

"Prostitution is not natural or inevitable; it is abuse and exploitation of women and girls that results from structural inequality between women and men on a world scale." -D. M. Hughes