“Everybody around me knows at least one person who has been sexually assaulted”; Female Affair Minister
In a brief talk with the ABH Female Affairs Minister, ABH Press Organization attempted to get the gist of Survivor stories which has left many Brownites spellbound since the social media campaign began
Kene: Good evening, Can we get to meet you?
My name is Nwaezuoke Chisom Anastasia, a 500 level student of Physiotherapy. I’m also the Female Affairs Minister of Alexander Brown Hall
Kene: Since you resumed office as the female affairs minister, what have you found challenging?
Chisom: It’s been less than 2 months since the swearing in. I’m basically still fresh in this office and for now, there aren’t any challenges actually.
One thing I might count as a challenge is that not everyone is aware of the duties of the female affairs minister/ministry and that’s not cool because if we don’t know the duties of our leaders, how then can we make them accountable?
Kene: Please could you enlighten brownites about the duties/functions of the female affairs ministry?Chisom: The female affairs ministry represents all ladies in the hall. It is charged with the maintenance and sanitation of the infrastructure in female portion of the hall. The ministry is also in charge of organizing the annual Biz expo sales and the Culinary competition. Other Non specific duties include awareness for diseases such as breast cancer and cervical cancer.
Kene: There’s been a huge awareness campaign surrounding survivor stories. To be frank, many of us don’t know what it’s all about. Could you tell us more about “Survivor stories”
Chisom: Survivor Stories is simply creating an environment that encourages everyone to talk about the elephant in the room; sexual assault.
Kene: Interesting! So what is the inspiration behind the “sexual assault” theme?
Chisom: The incidence of sexual assault is more rampant that we would like to think. I could go on with telling you about statistics available on sexual assault in Nigeria but that’s not the point, it’s not even about the numbers. Everybody around me knows at least one person who has been sexually assaulted and if that isn’t terrifying, I don’t know what else can be.
Despite the prevalence of sexual assault, our community still upholds the silence culture where we are too afraid to talk about rape and sexual assault because “It’s too touchy”
Kene: So, what actual role do the Female affairs ministry and “Survivor stories” have to play?
Chisom: Survivor Stories is ignoring the silence culture and bringing professionals from different works to address certain issues concerning sexual assault. These issues include
2. Verbal Sexual Harassment
3. Myths surrounding sexual assault
4. The psychological effects of sexual assault on a person
Kene: With the planning going on, what should we be expecting from survivor stories?
Chisom: Survivor Stories would feature talks, performances and a panel discussion where the members of the audience would be free to ask questions to our panel.
We are pleased to be partnering with organisations like Stand to End Rape (STER) and Hands off Nigeria to achieve our goal. Students from other halls in the University of Ibadan are also invited to the program because everyone needs it.
The female affairs ministry is working tirelessly to make this event a success not just because we are passionate about spreading awareness but because we understand the need for an event like this in our community
Kene: We both realise that encouraging open discussions about sexual assault might not be enough to change the existing trend and numbers.
Is there anything else that the FAM is considering doing in respect to this.?
Chisom: No, it’s not enough. But it is a start. How can we solve a problem if we are unwilling to even talk about the problem?
Plus, I like to think that Survivor Stories would have a ripple effect. For example, if people know and understand what consent is all about, they would know where to draw the line with sexual advances.
There is no “One-size-fits-all” solution to sexual assault but I’m certain that calling out the problem and discussing ways to solve the problem is a step in the right direction.
Kene: Is Survivor stories going to be a one-time show or it is a project the FAM intends to continue over time?
Chisom: It’s something I hope would be continued by the next female affairs minister of the hall. So this edition is Survivor Stories 1.0 and by next year, even though I’d have graduated, I’d love to hear of a Survivor Stories 2.0
Kene: After Survivor stories, is there another project we should be looking forward to from the FAM?
Chisom: Of course there are. Right after Survivor Stories, we have the walk for breast cancer coming up in October and it’s going to be as inclusive as possible.
Kene: Is there anything else you’d love Brownites to know?
Chisom: The date is 31st of August
Kene: It was really great having this conversation with you. Thank you very much for your time.
Chisom: Thank you too