In the past couple of years, the conversation around sexual violence has strengthened, enabling a lot of survivors to speak up and have their voices heard.
Stand To End Rape (STER) is one of the many initiatives that has made this change possible, and now its founder, Oluwaseun Ayodeji Osowobi, has been deservedly named 2019 Commonwealth Young Person of the Year.
The awards ceremony took place at the Commonwealth Headquarters in London yesterday. Osowobi was first announced as the regional winner for Africa & Europe's Excellence in Development Work prize, before going on to take home the title of 2019 Commonwealth Young Person of the Year.
A survivor of rape herself, Osowobi set up STER with the aim of bringing about an end to all forms of sexual violence. She explained to the Commonwealth media:
"I dream of a future where this work is not required. I dream of the day when sexual violence is completely eradicated from this world."
Not only is STER active in campaigning against rape, but they also provide educational, medical and legal services, reaching over 200,000 people so far. The initiative also trains healthcare workers to be able to cater to the needs of survivors of sexual violence.
Receiving the award, Osowobi expressed what the achievement meant to her, saying:
"Winning this award encourages me to keep working hard to build a safe community for women, girls and men in Nigeria, and that my story is valid.
To my team and I, the award is a reminder that our work is seen, felt and should not stop now."
Congratulations to @AyodejiOsowobi for being named the #Commonwealth Young Person of the Year 2019!— Commonwealth Youth (@ComSecYouth) March 13, 2019
Oluwaseun is from #Nigeria and is the founder of the @StandtoEndRape initiative.#CommonwealthYouth #CYA #CYA19 pic.twitter.com/JO5pKsEN3G