‘It is a truly trailblazing organisation, supporting survivors of rape and sexual assault as they see healing and justice,’ royal says
Announcing the news on Twitter on Tuesday 7 September, the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall said she is “delighted” to become the patron of the Mirabel Centre in Lagos.
“Their vital work means that women need no longer suffer in silence and I am deeply grateful to all Mirabel’s wonderful staff and volunteers,” she added.
The Mirabel centre was founded in July 2013 by women’s rights lawyer Itoro Eze-Anaba. Since its inception, it has provided free support services to more than 6,450 survivors.
Clarence House said Camilla – who also became patron of UK domestic abuse charity SafeLives in 2020 – will work with Nigerian and British Nigerian women to find ways to help the centre.
As per the Miracle Centre’s website, it offers survivors free medical examination and treatment, legal support and counselling to help with the emotional and psychological effects of rape.
Eze-Anaba said she had seen a rise in the number of survivors requiring the centre’s help during the pandemic.
“This announcement is timely considering the devastating nature of sexual violence and the increased advocacy for survivor support services which has led to an increase in the number of survivors who require the services of the centre,” she said.
“The current Covid-19 pandemic has further revealed the endemic nature of sexual violence. We have seen a huge number of children and women coming forward to report cases of sexual assault and rape.”
The centre’s youngest survivor is a three-month-old baby, and the oldest is an 80-year-old woman.
“We are confident that the support of the duchess will make a difference,” Eze-Anaba said.
In March, Eze-Anaba told Unicef that since Lagos was placed under lockdown in April 2020, the centre saw a 50 per cent increase in the number of reported cases of sexual violence. She said up to 85 per cent of these were children.
If you have been raped or sexually assaulted, you can contact your nearest Rape Crisis organisation by calling 0808 802 9999 for specialist, independent and confidential support. For more information, visit their website here.