General Gender Terminologies


Refers to increasing the spiritual, political, social or economic strength of individuals and communities. Empowerment of women and girls concerns women and girls gaining power and control over their own lives. It involves awareness-raising, building self-confidence, expansion of choices, increased access to and control over resources and actions to transform the structures and institutions which reinforce and perpetuate gender discrimination and inequality. Page 2 The core of empowerment lies i

Violence against Women (VAW)

Article 1 of the UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in its resolution 48/104 of 20 December 1993, defines the term “violence against women” as: “Any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in physical , sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women , including threats of such acts , coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life. Three contexts of


A generalized set of traits and characteristics attributed to a specific ethnic, national, cultural or racial group which gives

Social Justice

Fairness and equity as a right for all in the outcomes of development, through processes of social transformation.

Sexual Health

A state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being related to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity. Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having 28 pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence. For sexual health to be attained and maintained, the sexual rights of all persons must be respected, protected and fulfilled.


Sexuality is a central aspect of being human throughout life and encompasses sex, gender identities and roles, sexual orientation, eroticism, pleasure, intimacy and reproduction. Sexuality is experienced and expressed in thoughts, fantasies, desires, beliefs, attitudes, values, behaviours, practices, roles and relationships. While sexuality can include all of these dimensions, not all of them are always experienced or expressed. Sexuality is influenced by the interaction of biological, psycholog

Sexual harassment

Sexual harassment is a form of sexual violence. The term refers to one-sided, unwanted and unwelcome behaviour where sexuality and/or varied cultural constructions of sexuality are used as the means to oppress and position people and to produce or maintain vulnerability among them. Sexual harassment is often divided into two types: quid pro quo harassment and hostile environment harassment. The difference between these two types of harassment is that in quid pro quo harassment sex is provided in

Sexual Exploitation

Any abuse of position of vulnerability, differential power, or trust for sexual purposes; this includes profiting momentarily, socially, or politically from the sexual exploitation of another.

Sexual Assault

Non-consensual sexual contact that is obtained through coercion or the use or threat of force. Sexual assault is a deliberate act of gender-based violence and an expression of power, control and domination over another. It is not a manifestation of uncontrolled desire, attraction or arousal. Sexual assault occurs in every socioeconomic level of society and in a variety of settings. Sexual assault may be perpetrated by non-state actors, such as acquaintances, dating partners, or intimate partners


Rape is the sexual penetration, however slight of any part of the body of the victim with a sexual organ, or of the anal or genital opening of the victim with any object or any other part of the body. The invasion is committed by force, or by threat of force or coercion, such as that caused by fear of violence, duress, detention, psychological oppression or abuse of power, against such person or another person, or by taking advantage of a coercive environment, or committed against a person incap

Domestic Violence

A pattern of abusive and threatening behaviours that may include physical, emotional, economic and sexual violence as well as intimidation, isolation and 31 coercion. The purpose of domestic violence is to establish and exert power and control over another; men most often use it against their intimate partners, such as current or former spouses, girlfriends, or dating partners. Forms of domestic violence can include physical violence, sexual violence, economic control, and psychological assault

WRAPA Legal Aid

What is WRAPA?

It is a registered rights based not for profit, charitable membership organization founded in 1999. Activities include free legal aid/counselling services, skills training, mobilization, sensitization and advocacy for legal reforms. In pursuance of its vision for enhancing access to justice for women WRAPA supports litigation for women within Nigeria’s three legal systems with the support of volunteers in all the 36 states. WRAPA has affected the lives of over 3500 women and families and works

How does WRAPA Operate?

WRAPA is a membership organization of women, men and youth. These members propel the work of the organization both as individuals and within the context of partially independent State chapters. At the WRAPA headquarters, there are 4 core units (adminstration, finance, programmes/outreach and legal aid). There are 42 volunteers that operate at the Zonal and State levels. WRAPA has strong and wide partnerships with institutions and organizations from national to grassroots levels.


WRAPA legal aid services are extended in the context of the provisions of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution under the three legal regimes of Common law/Recieved English law, Shari’a Islamic Law, and Customary law. The services are focused on extending free legal representation and counselling for women who seek enforcement or protection of their rights.

Who can access WRAPA legal aid services?

Every woman with an admissible report of denial, infringement of rights or is a victim of miscarriage of justice is eligible for support. There is no selection process and even female inmates in selected Nigerian prisons are supported under the Prison Legal aid Service component.

How are cases selected for support?

Women seeking assistance have to report their issue directly or through referrals from individuals, institutions and partner organizations. A determination of admissibility is then made in line with the mandate of WRAPA. The organization does not initiate divorce cases and only holds watching briefs in criminal cases to ensure the exercise of due deligencein the interest of its clients.

How many reports are treated in a week?

An average of 5-6 reports are made daily at headquarters and state levels making for an estimated 20-30 reports a week.

What are the procedures for case management?

An aggrieved woman files a formal complaint of her situation. The complaint is classified, coded and a file opened using standard formats. Documentation is generated by or on her behalf with a written statement followed by a detailed interview. In keeping with the principle of the right to fair hearing, the party complained against is formally informed and invited for a session. Police reports or hospital reports are made where appropriate. Ultimately, joint or family sessions are convened at ap

What are the special areas of intervention?

WRAPA has four core focus areas of interventions: 1. Harmful practices relating to disinheritance and dehumanising traditional practices. 2. Civil Rights of education, employment, tenancy/contracts, political representation. 3. Matrimonial issues of early/forced marriages, maintenance, domestic abuse, sexual harassment, divorce, and custody. 4. Humanitarian/material assistance especially school fees or welfare assistance to widows or divorcees.

Are there any charges or payments for WRAPA Legal Aid Support?

Legal aid and counselling services are offered free of charge by WRAPA staff and internal counsels. However, where a court case is supported by external counsels, support may be given on pro-bono terms to WRAPA or a subsidized cost is negotiated by WRAPA on behalf of the client.

What is the success rate of the legal aid cases?

Success is measured based on the cases that are conclusively ended either through court processes or mutual settlements guided, documented and monitored by WRAPA. However those concluded in courts show a 60% success rate especially for civil issues. Criminal cases of rape, domestic violence and work place and sexual harassment have very low success rates.

What sort of legal aid awareness activities are conducted?

WRAPA conducts human rights sensitization, advocacy and dialogue on common and specific location issues in States where it has a presence. In South the issues of widow disinheritance is prevalent, while in the North education, early and forced marriages take priority. Domestic violence, sexual harassment and employment issues cut across regional divides. Others include reproductive health violations, civil rights and responsibilities.

What are the problems that legal aid staffs encounter?

Legal aid clients come in with varied perceptions of the manner of engagement with the parties that may have aggrieved the. Many of them exhibit a desire for rapid results without recourse to the need due process, or the the principle of fair hearing which is a cardinal principle in WRAPA. Consequently some show little or no appreciation for the support extended when it falls short of their expectations of quantum or time.

How the legal aid activities funded?

Legal aid activities are funded by the core funds of the organization as a primary responsibility. WRAPA funds the venue, research and transportation of relevant speakers or certain participants. In larger projects or replication of pilot activities, WRAPA seeks for grant support from Development Partners who share the objectives of the intervention.