The management of Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) on Thursday, 9th of September, 2021, received the Deputy High Commissioner, Ben Llewelyn-Jones representing the Royal Duchess of Cornwall in celebration of her acceptance of patronage for Mirabel Centre, Nigeria’s First Sexual Assault Referral Centre. The centre which had been in existence for eight years, has been in the frontline of providing a safe haven for sexual assault and gender violence victims.
While giving her opening remark, the Chairman of the Advisory Board of Mirabel Centre, Prof. Ayo Atsenuwa stated that the day’s occasion is a momentous one as Mirabel centre moves into another phase of its existence. She gave a brief history of the centre which started out as a collaboration with another human rights organization called partnership for Justice. She said the center’s approach is to provide medical treatment to the victims as well as assisting them in getting justice.
Prof. Atsenuwa also said, that the need to recognize gender and sexual violence that leads to devastating emotional and mental health consequences required a specialized assault response centre which is what led to the establishment of Mirabel Centre. She mentioned that the centre had partnered with LASUTH for eight years and the relationship had been excellent.
The British Deputy High Commissioner, the representative of the Royal Duchess of Cornwall, Ben Llewllyn-Jones in his speech said that the Royal Duchess is delighted to sponsor and support Mirabel Centre as a way to identify with the work of curbing domestic abuse and sexual assault and support of victims and survivors. He delivered the message of the Duchess saying, “I am delighted to become Patron of the Mirabel Centre in Lagos, Nigeria. It is truly a trail blazing organization supporting survivors of rape and sexual assault as they seek healing and justice.”
He finished his speech by saying that this relationship is a way to encourage the centre to continue to expand in their support for the sexual victims stressing that the centre is recognized for the good work they have been doing all the while, as he assures that the partnership will be a long lasting one.
Prof Adetokunbo O. Fabamwo, the Chief Medical Director of LASUTH, in his address mentioned that LASUTH’s association with Mirabel Centre is a long standing one and he acknowledged that the centre had been doing a wonderful job in rendering services to the under-privileged, the oppressed and the assaulted in the society. He said that “LASUTH has been providing medical support for Mirabel Centre and the hospital is delighted with its proposed infrastructural expansion”
Prof Fabamwo, who is a renowned Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology with a special interest in adolescent reproductive health and adolescent sexuality, said that, the issues of gender and sexual violence are the issues that gynecologists in Nigeria had been working on which is why partnership with organizations like Mirabel Centre is needed to provide a safety net for victims and to stop these nefarious activities, and ensure that victims get justice at the end of the day; this will help victims speak out without being stigmatized.
He concluded his address by congratulating Mirabel Centre on behalf of the entire LASUTH management for the proclamation of the Duchess as their Patron.
In her own message, the Mirabel goodwill ambassador, Queen Uba stated that Mirabel provides medical services to the victim of sexual violence and works hand-in-hand with the police for the provision of post traumatic treatments.
In the closing remark, the founder of Mirabel Centre, Itoro Eze-Anaba said the British High Commission had been supporting the centre from 2013 till now stressing that the centre has had over six thousand clients. She thanked the British High Commission, the Lagos State Government and the Legal framework for their support.