Ekemini Dan Abia: I decided to help people identify potential abusers through Abuse survivor

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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Is the law keeping young African women safe from sexual violence?

Child Bride

It may be 2016, but young Nigerian girls are still being exploited by those who should be protecting them. I’m referring to the father figures, lawmakers, community leaders and even some parents. Only recently, the internet and media went into a frenzy over the notion that the age of consent had been lowered from 18 to 11.

The reason for this confusion? A bunch of subsections under Section 7 of the Sexual Offences Bill postulating penalties for sexual penetration in girls under the ages of 11, 15 and 18. We’re all still asking ourselves why the need to highlight these three ages rather than the relevant one which is 18. This is of major concern as concerns two main areas: child marriages and rape.

Child Brides in Africa

Source: BBC Africa

UNICEF reports that Nigeria is the country with the highest number of child brides across Africa. The number of child brides across Africa is expected to almost triple by the year 2050. It’s been almost 2 years now since the world has been fighting for the return of the Chibok girls following the #BringBackOurGirls campaign. Sadly, at this time, we are still waiting and hoping that they are rescued.

Ese’s story

Most people have been following the story of 14-year-old Ese Oruru who was abducted from her base by a man who took her to the North to become his bride. Reports made by the Bayelsa State Police Command as captured in Punch Newspaper state that her recent kidnapping from her home in Bayelsa to faraway Kano is a case of eloping. It’s almost laughable except that it’s not.

This is a grave issue that affects every one of us regardless of gender. It thus becomes obvious that law enforcement and the rest of the community have failed to catch on that the law does not condone the violation of any woman especially one who is still a child. Ese’s predicament is our predicament and as such statements made by the very institution put in place to install law and order demonstrates our failure as a society.

How on earth does a teenager elope? The fact that such a statement can be made by the police public relations rep confirm to us that child marriages are still very much a thing in this part of the world. This is a practice prevalent in the northern part of the country where matured men take on child brides.

At this point of the century where societies are moving to expel inhumane practices, the reaction to Ese’s case is a prime example of the normalcy of such a practice. Whether or not Ese voluntarily left her base in Bayelsa for a faraway state or was kidnapped / coerced into doing so as certain assertions have been made, the baseline is she is still a minor.

Although it has taken six whole months, the good news is Ese has been handed over to the police for her return to her family in Bayelsa. Just as author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has been quoted as saying, ‘culture does not make people, people make culture’.

Thus, the mere fact that something is a part of our culture is not a good enough reason to uphold it. There is certainly good culture and bad culture and as humans we are expected to evolve and be progressive.

What are some of the risks?

There are several risks that child brides are faced with including emotional and psychological trauma that may follow them way into adulthood and in fact for the rest of their lives

In addition, if the ‘marriage’ had been consummated underage, pregnancy, Vesicovaginal Fistula and STIs are all common occurrences for child brides.

As a society, where do we go from here?

  • We need to close the gap between the law and its practice through proper information dissemination and sensitization. The Nigerian police force must undertake reorientation programs with the passing of new laws.
  • The law should expressly state the age of consent for sexual intercourse by getting rid of the compounding subsections in the Sexual Offences Bill.
  • It is also not enough that the law prescribe a penalty of 5 years imprisonment or a fine of N500,000 for the perpetrators in child marriages! A part of her life is taken away from her as she is forced to grow up in the worst ways possible. The maximum penalty should be sought for such offenders.

What can we do as women?

As women, each of us has a responsibility to uplift other women especially those who do not have some of the privileges we do have.

  • Speak up about it! Challenge the status quo! Tweet about it, blog about it, discuss with peers, make your voice heard. You may be surprised how little people actually think about this issue.
  • Educate yourselves including other young girls and women. Females need to be aware of the dangers they face and to take extra precaution where necessary.
  • Counsel and encourage one another. As women we need to quit slut shaming and blaming the victim. The guilty party is the aggressor or manipulator. Skimpy clothing or a flirtatious nature do not equal a license to rape.
  • Parents and guardians also need to be receptive enough for their daughters to feel free enough to tell them about any funny business going on.
  • Raise your sons to respect women. Men have as much a part to play as women do in the promotion of gender rights.