There’s a desperate search on for a female university student in Nigeria. Some want to silence her. Others want to protect her.
On August 16, the unidentified woman was gang-raped by five male students at Abia State University — for hours, as she begged first for mercy, and then for her rapists to kill her because of the pain. And it’s all on video.
Change.org member Adetomi Aladekomo has joined bloggers and activists working to bring the victim to safety and her rapists to justice by starting a petition to Abia State University (ABSU) and state officials.
Over the past two weeks, bloggers and individuals around the world have put up reward money and used video imaging software to try to identify the victim and the rapists — when the police should have been doing this all along. Unbelievably, state authorities have so far stymied efforts, preferring to deny the rape ever even happened under their watch. Local women’s groups fear that they’re even out to silence the victim, perpetuating a culture of fear and shame around rape in Nigeria, where such crimes are dramatically under-reported and under-prosecuted.
Adetomi, who grew up in Nigeria until she was seventeen, knows that international outcry around the gang rape at ABSU will be decisive in protecting the victim and bringing justice. With the whole world watching, the victim may have the courage to come forward and press charges — and other women who’ve been raped may come forward, too, when they previously would not have.
In fact, it was because of Change.org members and international outcry earlier this year that a woman who had created a Change.org petition from inside a Cape Town safe house was able to come out and seek justice for her partner, who had been gang-raped and killed to ‘cure’ her of being a lesbian.
I just signed the petition “Bring The ABSU 5 Who Gang-Raped Woman in Nigeria to Justice” and wanted to see if you could help by adding your name.
Our goal is to reach 100,000 signatures and we need more support. You can read more and sign the petition here: