I feel like an irreplaceable part of me has been taken away. I feel filthy and vile. Anxiety mixed with depression are my best allies. My world is decorated with prolonged sadness and feelings of hopelessness. Suicidal thoughts seem like the only remedy. My nights are plagued by horrible night mares, the world doesn’t seem safe anymore. For sure, these damages can’t be repaired. Maybe, I will live with this post-traumatic stress disorder forever.
Growing up, I had pleasurable experiences every child could dream of. My childhood was one filled with so much happiness. I was the only child of my parents, this earned me all their attention. I was literally their source of joy. Although, despite showering me with so much love, they never slacked in reprimanding me anytime I went astray. During the weekends, I always had my friends come around. Our chatter and noisy laughter filled the house. They made me worry less about not having a sibling.
My mum’s elder sister who lived in Enugu visited Abeokuta often and she spent some time with us, whenever she visited. Most times, she complained about my not being familiar with her children. She had insisted on several occasions that I come over to Enugu to spend the holiday with my cousins but my parents always came up with excuses to suppress the idea. They couldn’t just let me stay far away from them for that long as I was their only child. I was surprised the day my mum informed me about going to Enugu to spend the long vacation.
“But mum, why? What made you and dad change your minds?” I inquired.
“Sweetheart, my company will be sending me to London for a month course while your dad has a project coming up which will take much out of his time. So, we decided that you will go stay with Aunty Iheoma, since she has always wanted you around. Don’t worry, I am very sure you will enjoy your stay over there.”
I didn’t know if I was happy or sad. I was going to be away from my parents for the very first time in my life, it may not be a funny experience, I thought. At the same time, I was travelling outside Abeokuta and would be seeing my cousins, it was supposed to be an exciting moment.
The holiday at my aunt’s was a very interesting one. I finally got to meet my three awesome cousins; Jidechukwu, Ikenna and Kosiso. She had no female child, little wonder why she had always yearned to have me around. Staying with them made me feel bad about being the only child for the first time, I wished we were born of same parents. Truly, having a full house was an incredible experience and more fun. My cousins treated me like the biological sister they wished they had. I found the three of them very lovesome and frabjous, they were so kind towards me that I struggled to pick my favourite amongst them. Jide was twenty years and the oldest, he was a great guy with an amiable personality. He had this good sense of humour and was extremely good at sustaining conversations. Some days, we stayed awake all night talking about several things. He eventually became my most preferred. I enjoyed being around him always, I often offered to accompany him when he went on errands. Days when I slept off on the couch in the sitting room while reading novels, he led me to my room and tucked me to the bed. On this particular night, I was fast asleep after having a heavy meal for dinner. I sensed a creepy movement followed by a sensational touch around my body, I jerked immediately as I was not a deep sleeper. It was Jide.
“What’s the problem Jide? It’s late, why are you still awake?” I asked in a calm but sleepy voice.
“Ahn ahn…So I woke you up after trying to act sneakily while I quietly search for my ear piece. Well, I left it on the bed, did you see it?”
“Yes I did, I kept it on the table for you”. He picked it up after he had thanked me and apologized for disturbing my sleep. He bade me a ‘goodnight’ and left.
I was going to turn seventeen by weekend, I felt so excited realizing that I was very close to attaining adulthood. Every one joined me in anticipating my big day as they all made several promises. My aunt reaffirmed her promise to get me a beautiful cake and a dress. Kosiso and Ikenna kept theirs as a surprise to be revealed on the D-day. Jide promised to take me to the river which was a bit far from the town where we lived. I was so excited. I had pressured him on several occasions to take me there after he shared his delightful experience with me while he assured me of loving the place at the sight of it. He gave me excuses anytime I reminded him of taking me there, I got tired of telling him. Little did I know, he intentionally declined my request because he had it packaged as a birthday present. Jide’s promise made me anticipate the weekend even more.
It was Saturday already, I grumpily woke up to the repeated ring tone of my phone. It was my dad, I answered with a wide grin. He called to wish me a wonderful birthday with the promise of giving me a mind blowing celebration when I returned. After our conversation, I heard a knock on the door, before I could check who was behind it, they all barged into the room. I saw everybody holding big balloons which swung swiftly in the air, while my aunt held a small but well decorated cake. They all wore a pleasant and smiling face as they sang a birthday song and rendered their heartfelt wishes individually, series of prayers and blessings from my aunt followed. I felt loved like never before, I was truly happy to be around them, it was really a remarkable day indeed. The highlight of my day wouldn’t be complete if I hadn’t followed Jide to the river. Well, I wish I never did, I regret that decision every day.
We headed for the river by noon. On reaching there, I was astonished! I had never been to one before. It had a more soothing description than what Jide gave me. The churned river flowed with confidence towards its destiny in a darting shape. It sparkled flawlessly like a gloss. Around it were beautiful trees which stood tall and shone like a clover. I couldn’t see the beginning or end of it. I sighted some fishermen from afar, tactically dipping their nets to catch their prey. Some playful children happily swimming, others were washing while some filled their drums with the water they scooped gently. Despite all these activities, it still looked peaceful and unadulterated, I was told it never went dry no matter the season. We swam and had so much fun. It began to get dark a bit, I wasn’t in the habit of staying out late. I suggested we started going back because home was a bit far. Jide hesitated while he reminded me of the fact that I may never have the opportunity of visiting the river again, so I needed to enjoy myself to the fullest. He was right, I thought. We then stayed longer and finally left when it was very dark. We walked hastily through the narrow path that led to the main road. I was deeply frightened, I had never stayed out that late. Jide walked closely behind me, he would tease me, saying “fear fear” while he assured me of our safety. I wasn’t bothered about that, I just wanted to be home. Suddenly, I was struck from behind. I screamed for help as I felt strong hands grabbing me. I looked to behold the sight of five hefty men. One of them had punched Jide who passed out. I struggled, with hot tears flowing down my cheeks, I wondered what my offense was. I turned to see Jide who looked lifeless. Immediately, I received a resounding slap which brought me back to reality. They ripped me off my clothes desperately, I begged and cried for mercy while they laughed and called me names. I tried to fight but I couldn’t, I was firmly pinned to the ground. I was a virgin. My legs hurt as they forced them open and took several turns in penetrating me aggressively. I felt excruciating pains that flowed through my spine, they violated my body. I screamed till there was no strength left in me. I stopped begging them, it was of no use. I let them have their way effortlessly while I shut my eyes. They gave me an unforgettable birthday present.
@Tales by Marvy
NB: Rape is a heinous act that is almost becoming a norm in our society, which is quite devastating. It places a psychological and physical damage on the victim and also creates an eternal scar. Generally, only few get to heal from this traumatic experience. In all we do, let’s speak up against this horrible act. No one deserves to be raped!