When I thought of writing this, my heart started beating very fast and my hands became shaky. I have shared this just once but not the full details and the person doesn’t even understand. He had no help or solution for me. I have kept it to myself and lived with it for so long that it makes me sick.
I have always wanted to share, to talk to someone about it, but the fear, shame, hate and stigma I thought would follow made me stop. I was always crying, sad and moody. I began to withdraw to myself but yet they couldn’t see that something wasn’t right. My sister always dismissed it as me seeking too much attention and Mama always thought, maybe it was because she didn’t give me what I desired as a child. I’ll simply assume it’s ignorance on their part but then I was dying slowly. I became traumatized and was slowly becoming depressed because I wanted to voice it out and talk to someone who will understand. I couldn’t share with my mother nor my sisters because I was afraid and it happened years before I realized the extent of the damage done to me.
Would it matter if I shared with them at that point, what difference would it have made and how were they going to react? I was so young but yet so dirty. I remember the one time my mother and sister caught me with my younger step brother when I was about five or six, am not sure the age, all she did was just beat me and didn’t even say a thing. She didn’t ask questions and she didn’t even say it was wrong. But that wasn’t the first time I was doing it neither was it the second. I wondered when it started or how but I was very active at that age. I still have memories of the different occasions it happened with different people which sometimes makes me wonder if I’m older than my age, because even though it happened to me at a very tender age say when I was 3 or 4 years old, I still remember the events clearly because it lives with me.
What I still don’t understand is, and have always wondered is the fact that the first time I assume in my head might not really be the first because from what I remember, the boy who took me to his house to abuse me was once a neighbor and at that young age, I should have cried out of pain and resisted him but I just laid there while he violated me and when he was done, he took me back to my step mother who was doing her business by the roadside. It should have hurt right and make me uncomfortable and someone was supposed to notice maybe by the way I walked or when they were bathing me, but nothing.
It happened again this time by a beggar who usually roams the street but helped my parents with their restaurant. It happened again with another neighbor who lured me into their house with the promise of giving me rubber bands (I was already a prostitute as a child). Then it became incessant this time with my step mother’s cousin who came to live with us. He was allowed to bath me and from touching my private parts, he abused me regularly, it hurts until it was almost a normal thing. Nobody knew what he was doing to me because sometimes everyone left the house and it would just be me and my younger siblings. Even when he stopped staying with us, he would always come home and ask me to come to his place which wasn’t far from home and violate me there. This abuse stopped when I was eight because I stopped going there, became a Bible student and my family was always around.
I never saw anything wrong with it until I turned eleven and I read a book about sex and virginity cos at that time I was undergoing the puberty changes leading to adolescence and then realized the damage that was done to me. That day marked the beginning of the trauma I went through. I wasn’t given any form of sex education as a child though I knew the very act of sex. I saw people doing it, I saw it in the movies I was exposed to as a child but nobody said it was wrong and nobody even talked about it.
It was something done in the hidden, dark and secret places and no one discussed it except for the one time I heard two adults discussing it in my presence. One of them said, I shouldn’t be hearing that discussion because I could become spoilt as a child and then the other one said, I was too young to understand but funny enough I knew what they were saying and was already in the act. Well, I didn’t understand the dangers and implications neither did I know the consequences but I live with it till today. I was deprived of my innocence as a child. It was taken from me and who would I blame? The people who did this to me, the society or myself for being such a bad person.
At the realization of this, I began to blame myself for what went wrong, I was always having mood swings, from being a happy and bubbly girl to feeling anger and sadness. I became withdrawn and I cried every time I remembered. I wished I was a virgin and still had my innocence. It was at that point of adolescence, that my sister and mother told me to be careful about boys but it was already too late and the damage had been done. If I had talked about it, maybe there would have been a solution to help me and who was I going to tell this to at this point. It’s been like 3 or 4 years when it happened, I didn’t speak to anyone at that instant, is it then that I would. Will they believe my story, won’t I be beaten, judged or condemned and so I resolved to live and die with it if need be.
No one needs to know after all it happened in the past and if I told my mother whom I could easily confide in, it therefore meant my dad was going to know and for some reason I never got along with him, I just felt it would increase the rift between us. I was ready to hide it even though it hurts so much and I was filled with pain and bitterness. I got used to it but I became unusually quiet and I isolated myself from people.
Over the years, it was only one lady who saw through me and asked that if I was going through psychological or emotional stress, she was there to listen and advise me, something that none of my family members could see, an outsider saw because she was sensitive enough or maybe they shied away because it is shameful and awkward to talk about. From then, I decided to loosen up and keep up appearances and so, acting and trying to be okay became my life.
When I was sixteen, I was almost raped. I travelled to my sister’s house to sit for a post UTME exams and during that time, she was at the family house for holidays so I had to go and stay with her husband. During the stay my brother in law took me to his friend’s house and introduced this friend and his brother who stayed with him. On the day, I was to travel back home, my brother in law sent his friend’s younger brother to deliver a message to me to take home and to also take me to the park and then give him the house keys in return. This guy came and tried to force himself on me and I fought really hard. I have never struggled like that in my life. This went on from 8am till almost 12 noon.
When he saw that I wasn’t going to succumb, he let me be and asked if I was a virgin. I didn’t answer his questions and then he took me to the park. By the time we got there, the bus that would have travelled directly to my destination had left and I had no choice but to board a bus that will stop Midway and then take another home. I was so exhausted and shocked from what happened. I couldn’t believe it was going to happen again when I didn’t even recover from all that has happened previously. My eyes welled with tears I fought from dropping and was quiet throughout the journey until I got home. I was truly shaken and sad that even my sisters noticed.
My sister whose husband I went to had to even ask if her husband did anything to me and I told her no and had to loosen up, but I always shuddered at the thought of it happening and I lived with the shock for days.
It happened again, this time, I was in the university. This guy lived in my neighborhood in school and we interacted and he visited me once in a while. He always asked me to visit but I always turned him down. But he still kept asking and one day, I decided to visit without giving it much thought and not even considering all that happened to me in the past. I can’t believe I was still naive and so I went to this dude’s house. I sat with him on the bed and we got talking, (you know how students rooms are). After a short while, this guy got touchy and I told him to stop but he continued. The more I stopped him, the more he came strongly and so the struggle began until I was finally able to get out of his bed and made my way to the door. He got there ahead of me and blocked it as I tried to repair my dress, this time he began to beg and plead and was saying he thought that we were on the same page and that I wanted him too. I gave him a piece of my mind and asked him to move from the door, then he started apologising that he was sorry and then he walked me back to my place.
I simply locked the door on him and even though he knocked, I refused to let him in and stopped talking to him. I cried my eyes out that day and wondered if something was wrong with me because even in my compound there was a man who was harassing me sexually. One time, this man even tried to force himself on me in a neighbor’s room until I told him I was going to shout and being aware that the neighbor could walk in on us, he stopped and begged me to sleep with him another time. In fact on another occasion, he told me to my face that he could rape me, it’s just that he respected me and wanted to have an affair that would last long.
I am just wondering if something is wrong with me. Just recently, I was raped, this time I couldn’t struggle out of it, I tried but I couldn’t and it happened really fast, I just can’t explain it. I am miserable and sad and angry and feeling worthless. I just feel like a piece of trash right now. Am I cursed? What have I ever done to deserve all of this. My heart is heavy and I really feel like dying. I am just wondering the purpose of my existence. I have been through this before and why now again? I have been trying to heal but I still struggle. I was on antidepressants for close to two years until I got better and stopped the meds. I have been depressed because I was abused as a child even though my mother’s death triggered all the anxiety attacks I’ve had.
The underlying cause has always been the trauma I endured and the pain I felt but could not share. I became really fearful. My heart aches from the pain and I feel like cutting myself to bleed it all out. I can’t fight anymore because I have tried. I have read a lot on how to heal but it doesn’t come easy. The process is hard and just when I put the past behind me, forgiven those who did this to me and somehow found the strength to forgive myself as well, it happened again. I am scarred and my wounds may never heal.
I still remember all those times as a child when I was harassed or molested. All those times when my breasts were touched by the street boys while walking on the street during errands or the times I was fingered by a relative of a neighbor in the neighborhood. Everything is sickening and I have lived and grown up with this fear in my heart. I remember the one time in my primary school when a childhood friend asked me along with other friends to visit a man she wanted to collect something from. We went there together as a group but he told the rest to go outside for a bit and then he began to touch my private parts, without warning I went out and told my friends I was leaving. Why is it me and what exactly is wrong with me and once again I ask if am cursed?
I have been following the recent rape saga going on online and then it happened with me. Was I supposed to tell my sister whom I live with what happened and then report it to the authorities, am not ready to go through the drama and the pain this will cause me. I cannot carry the weight anymore for this is too far a burden to bear. I found the strength to write this because a lot of people like me are coming out and maybe just maybe this will help heal me better and I won’t have to carry the burden alone. I can’t continue to endure this alone for I have seen so many like me. I can’t think straight but I choose to write, I don’t know if this will help me but I have decided to share my story today. I couldn’t bring myself to tell my sister what happened even as I write this. I don’t know what her reactions would be and am not ready to face the stigma rape victims endure. But I have come to realize that the society is not ignorant of this paedophiles living with and amongst us. But it chooses to keep quiet because of the attachments shared with this people. I am another broken soul, another scarred victim of child molestation, abuse and rape. I hope speaking out even if on an anonymous level helps.
It’s been weeks now since this incident happened and I wanted to share on your page but couldn’t. My fear is giving myself out but I really want to tell my story. Right now, my health is deteriorating as a result and it’s the last thing I would like to take to my grave. Not being able to speak out and get justice gives this people confidence to hurt people the more. Imagine this man having the confidence to still visit my sister after all that he did without remorse. My heart aches so much from the memories and I have become very panicky, scared, angry, sad and moody. I feel really hopeless and inasmuch as I try to move on and make it seem like it was all a bad dream that never happened, it did really happen and am so hurt. I am not writing this to draw attention but because it is my truth that I have never really shared and it’s killing me slowly. I am losing my mind especially from the knowledge that all this things are happening on a daily basis and most of us are weak to fight and stand up for ourselves.
I don’t want to be consumed by this pain and I don’t want to be on the pills again and not ever. I am depressed and also have episodes of breathlessness. What evil have I done to deserve this? I need my peace and my sanity back. I pray that when I finally share this, the burden will be lighter and the pain less.