A lot of things cannot be explained in life but they can help provide way of prevention. If you want to describe me now, you might say I am an attractive young woman but try describing me, say like 17 or 18 years ago, and you’ll come up with an ugly duckling so I wonder why a man would feel a sexual attraction to a kid. That is one of the unexplainable issues in life especially when the man does not have a record of mental health.
My first experience of sexual abuse was when my father’s cousin residing with us attempted to rape me after which he was restricted from our family. My mother was a trader and I automatically became her delivery girl being the firstborn. It was my duty to deliver goods ordered for but this duty turned sour when a customer of hers made another rape attempt but I got rescue by one of his clients and never returned. A repeat of this ugly event happened again with a family friend and I started having panic attacks anytime I find myself alone with any man, so I grew up hating men and what they represent.
Fourteen years later, my nightmare returned in the form of my friend’s brother. I was waiting in her room when her brother came in and almost had raped me. Initially, it started with jokes but suddenly he got violent, pushed me to the bed and wanted to remove my clothing but I struggled, determined to hold on to my dignity as a woman. I remember I told him that he would only have his way if I was dead. He laughed wickedly and said that it was okay if I wanted it dead and started to choke me with a pillow; I couldn’t breathe and after a while I stopped struggling thinking I’d won the battle because he wouldn’t rape me alive. I was saved by the early return of his sister whom he’d sent an errand out so he could be alone with me. I still can’t forget the horror of almost seeing death face to face but I have been able to put it away and move on without hatred for every man I meet. A number of events can mar the good in a person but I have come to realize that only a strong woman can move through the maze of life despite the ugliness it might present.
I realized when we allow evil acts go unpunished, the future becomes foggy. Rape has become very prevalent in Nigeria and I feel that if every reported rape cases are properly treated, it might have saved other victims. I was lucky but a lot of girls aren’t now. During the compulsory NYSC mandated for every graduate in Nigeria, I did my Community Development Service with Women Trafficking and Child Labor Eradication Foundation (WOTCLEF) where I was able to share my experience as a source of motivation to others.