Ekemini Dan Abia is a legal practitioner who got inspired by her work in the criminal justice system to create a community which supports and educates victims of domestic abuse through her Instagram page, Abuse Survivor.
Abuse survivor aims to create awareness of the damaging effects of domestic abuse by educating members of the public, using Narcissism as a subject.
She believes that helping individuals understand narcissism can greatly reduce domestic abuse in the home and its result in the larger society.
Through Abuse Survivor, she identifies potential abusers and identifies abuse dynamics. She also provides materials and support for the recovery of survivors and counsels victims of all forms of abuse.
What has been your biggest achievement as a prosecutor?
Watching adults, children, as well as pre-teens who are victims of sex offenses, look their abuser in the eye and testify against him or her in open court.
I am filled with a sense of accomplishment because I know that the person is taking back his or her power and getting out of the abuser’s control.
What prompted you to start the platform Abuse Survivor?
I was deeply shaken by the death of Ronke Shonde in 2016, who was allegedly murdered by her abusive husband. Reports of spousal abuse/homicides seemed to increase in 2017, and I recall asking myself “why couldn’t they heed the red flags before walking down the aisle”?
So I decided to help people identify potential abusers and also highlight the long-term effects of remaining in abusive relationships on adults and children.
I came to realize that a large percentage of those convicted for violent crimes are products of dysfunctional home environments and are people with unresolved childhood trauma.
The pain and anger they carry around makes them gravitate towards crime or other anti-social behaviors. Knowledge of the above facts propelled me to create Abuse Survivor.
Are you an abuse survivor yourself?
Yes. I have been a victim of malignant narcissistic abuse.
How do you vet the authenticity of the stories people send to you since its all done virtually?
Most stories sent to us are accompanied by imageries which are very compelling with the victims pleading for their anonymity. I ask certain question which aims to validate their assertions without leaving them feeling we disbelieve them.
It calls for tact and sensitivity, else we could leave a victim of abuse with invalidated feelings which is against everything we stand for.
Would you consider yourself to be a social entrepreneur and if so, what would you say is the most challenging part of this role?
Yes, I do.
We live in a society where an in-depth discussion of abuse is given a passing interest, thus accessing funds to have more impact has been really challenging. Like most start-ups, this is the biggest challenge I have faced so far.
You use NARCISSISM as a subject to educate your community. How has this impacted them positively?
Lots of people have undergone narcissistic abuse without knowing it. As a result, they lived in utter confusion, depression and other health complications which is characteristic of victims of narcissistic abuse.
Watching some members of our community gain clarity, stop blaming themselves and take control of their lives has been very fulfilling.
Since starting the platform ‘Abuse Survivor’, have you had any support from anyone? And how has this contributed towards your success?
A survivor of narcissistic abuse, who is also a member of our community reached out to me sometime in February 2018. Although living in the UK, she volunteered to build a website for our community.
I am very grateful for this gesture.
She has also become one of our resource persons. She is always on standby with brilliant and innovative suggestions. Having her as a support system right now propels me to keep doing what I do.
What is the one motivation that gets you up every morning?
I wake up every morning with the zeal to put out more information in order to reach more people. The knowledge that far too many people in our society are ignorant about narcissism motivates me.
What is one piece of advice you would give to a woman suffering from domestic abuse?
I would tell her that she is stronger than her abuser is trying to make her feel. All she needs to do is to see herself the way God sees her and learn to love herself.
Only then will she have the strength to walk away for herself and to provide a better environment for her children (if she is a mother).
How do you juggle your full-time job with managing your platform?
To be candid, it is very tasking. However, it is easier because I am passionate about this topic and my full-time job inspires me too.
I make time in the early hours of the day from 4 am to 6 am to plan my content. That way, members of our community never experience content drought.
You currently run Abuse Survivor solely on Instagram. Any plans to move it to another platform? (Website, blog etc).
Right now, we are working on our official website. We plan to make use of other social media platforms while retaining Instagram as our primary means of reaching out to members of our community.
Do you ever meet with the women whose stories you share?
The vast majority of those who share their stories in our community are impossible to meet geographically because they do so from all over the world.
However, I have met a handful of them and they are the most resilient women I have ever met.
What future plans do you have for ‘Abuse Survivor’?
My vision is for Abuse Survivor to become the number one support system and resource outfit for victims of any form of abuse in Africa. We plan to innovate along the way.
What’s your favorite book / Ted Talk of all time?
My favorite book is Chimamanda Adichie’s ‘Purple Hibiscus’. I think that is where my interest in domestic abuse was aroused. I was 19 when I read that novel.
My favorite Ted Talk was given by Warren Buffet. If you don’t find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die.
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