Awesome Treasures Foundation (ATF) is a faith based NGO founded in 1999, which has become a rallying point for Entrepreneurial Women with a Mission. It raises transformational leaders amongst women and youth through its multifaceted outreaches and initiatives. ATF‘s initiatives over the years have attracted over 50, 000 women, young people and children. The NGO has changed lives for the better by empowering women and the youth through the provision of entrepreneurial and skills acquisition to over 5, 000 women, providing basic primary education to inner city children, providing primary health care facilities to over 1, 500 people, rescuing over 120 young girls in danger of being sexual abused amongst other initiatives.
On the 13th of August 2011 at the ATF Resource centre in Ilupeju, Lagos, the Legal Clinic, one of the ATF’s resource groups held it’s first interactive session with women from all works. The session was initiated to address Abusive issues women encounter everyday in the Nigeria society. The ATF legal group answered critical questions such as: “What is Abuse? What are the various forms of Abuse? How do I recognize an abusive relationship? What do I do?”.
The focus also was on the growing trend of abuse, its impact on the family, society and the far reaching consequences if not checked (including murder as demonstrated by the alleged murder of a banker by her husband recently) necessitated the session. The aim of the session was to help women recognize abuse and proffer solutions on how best to deal with it.
Mrs Helen Thompson, a legal practitioner and the head of the Legal Resource Group opened the session by stating the reason for the session and what it aimed to achieve. She also offered an all encompassing definition of abuse.
One of the discussants, Mrs Chiadi Ndu a psychologist listed a series of questions to help women recognize if they were in abusive relationships. Some of these questions included the following: “What is my anxiety level? Do I know what I like and dislike? Am I scared in my home?” She encouraged women to be true to themselves by identifying their situation, confronting and conquering it.
Women participating in the session, who had survived abusive relationships shared from their experience on how to stop further abuse or get out of abusive relationships altogether. They highlighted the failure of the Nigerian legal system in general to provide victims with the necessary assistance and protect women who chose to flee from abusive relationships. They called for more pragmatic support and the need for the formation of strong pressure groups through collaborative effort to create more awareness and bring about the much needed change.