I read an article recently about why most rape victims don’t speak up and it reminded me of my own experience.
It happened on a new year’s day. After the usual crossover church service on that fateful day, a neighbor of mine invited me for a drink at a bar in town called Asotime. The real me would have turned down the invitation but it was New Year’s day and a drink hurts no one. So I accepted. What she didn’t tell me was that she was hanging out with her boyfriend (who I didn’t like much) and his friends.
To cut a long story short, I got pissed when we got to the bar and her boyfriend was already there drinking and smoking with his friends. I told her I can’t stay, so I left. I was going to catch the next available bike and go back home. But after what seemed like an hour of standing out in the cold night with no single bike and no other means of leaving, I got irritated and frustrated.
Suddenly, my phone rang and on the other side was a (supposed) friend, who lives a few streets from me. He said he was having a drink somewhere close to my house and wanted to know if I want to come out and share a bottle. I told him my predicament and he offered to pick me up with his elder brother’s car. I accepted of course!
On our way, he said something about going to his house to get something before taking me home. I told him it was fine, his house was right on the way to mine and I didn’t sense any danger. If I had, I would have come down from the car the moment we got to his compound and walked the remaining distance, or I would have insisted on waiting for him outside. But I didn’t, instead, I foolishly followed him inside when he insisted that he was going to take a minute and he doesn’t want me sitting in the car all by myself at that ungodly hour. It was past 3 am.
How would I’ve known that he will lock the door the moment I step into the house and that he will try to sleep with me and when I refuse, he’ll hold a knife to my neck and order me to take off my clothes while threatening to kill me if I don’t? How would I have known that I’ll cry profusely and plead with him but instead of letting me go, he will slap the hell out of me? How would I have known that I’ll take off my clothes after that and I will lay flat on the ground waiting to be devoured?
Well, I was saved by a knock on the door. It was as if by God’s divine intervention someone decided to knock on the door before he could take off his clothes.
I am not sure what I screamed after I heard the knock but I screamed. He then asked me to put on my clothes while he opened the door. I ran out of the house the minute the door opened. I ran as fast as my legs could carry me.
I got home around 4 am, breathless from running and sat on the floor in front of our house not knowing my dad was standing by the window. He asked me what was wrong and why I was sitting on the floor. I told him nothing. I got up and went inside to sleep but couldn’t.
For several nights, I had a series of nightmares — I kept seeing him and his knife. I jump in my skin in terror at every little thing.
I knew if I tell my brothers, they would confront him and make him pay for what he did but I was scared of what they might do to me too. I was scared they might tell my parents and I didn’t want that. I was scared of so many things as I kept thinking about how lucky I was to have gotten away unhurt. He could have stabbed me to death even after raping me and he would have gotten away with it because no one on earth will ever suspect him. No one even knows him as my friend. And my neighbor didn’t see him that night. So who will point a figure at him?
You already know how the story ends. I told no one, not even a soul. In fact, this is the first time I am talking about it. I was too grateful (I’m still grateful) and scared to bother about making him pay. And looking back, I don’t know what I would have done if he had succeeded in raping me but I am sure the story will still have ended with me not telling anyone and you probably will not be reading this right now because maybe I will be too ashamed to share my story. Or maybe you will be reading it on an anonymous blog post or SM page!
To everyone who has been sexually abused, especially those who are too scared or too ashamed to speak up, you are not alone. I hope you find your voice soon and I hope the monsters pay!