YALI Voices: Harnessing Technology to Combat Sexual Gender-Based Violence

Contributed by Osasu Edobor, a 2018 Mandela Washington Fellow and YALI Network member

Over the past two weeks, I have listened to unsettling tales of rape, sexual assault, and intimate partner violence. Victims and survivors are happy to confide in me, and call me up, but they are not willing, or ready, to report the perpetrators.

At the Bimbo Odukoya Foundation in Lagos, where I work, I have met women, some from neighboring cities, who are survivors of domestic violence and who, after a period, become empowered, find new work and housing, but, for personal reasons, are not able to continue their psychosocial counselling after leaving the shelter. These counselling sessions, though, are important in helping victims heal both mentally and emotionally.

Osasu Edobor and colleagues at a HERfessions app launch event

It was with these survivor stories in mind that I developed the HERfessions mobile app, an anonymous platform designed to support victims and survivors of sexual gender-based violence (SGBV); ensuring that any woman requiring assistance will be able to find support and have access to needed educational tools and resources. The platform also affords survivors the opportunity to engage in peer-to-peer interactions as well as consultations with trained psychologists, lawyers, and other stakeholders invested in educating, supporting, and counselling victims of gender-based violence.

The app’s directory feature, too, includes a list of all the government agencies, nonprofits, and professionals working in gender-based violence in Nigeria so that victims can get help as soon as possible. The app also includes a speech function which allows visually impaired people to access its features. What’s more, the app is able to map the location of the victim, send relevant agencies a report of the incident, and build a community of support, all within an anonymous platform.

Osasu Edobor and colleagues at a HERfessions app launch event

There has never been a more important time to provide victims with these resources, tools to speak out, to ensure that any woman in danger can find support and thrive.

Learn more about Osasu’s app on the HERfessions Google Play page.

Osasu Edobor is a social development practitioner and founder of THR Media. With over 10 years of experience working with new media and technology, Osasu is a leading advocate for gender inclusion.

The views and opinions expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the YALI Network or the U.S. government. YALI Voices is a series of podcasts, videos and blogs contributed by members of the YALI Network.

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