She looked behind for the umpteenth time wondering why the goosebumps on her back kept spreading with each step she took. Fear and apprehension so thick in the air a knife could cut through. She straightened her skirt wiping her sweaty palms on the cotton fabric. She repeated the motion, then smiled. Tomorrow marks exactly a year she received the material as a gift for her commitment to the choir unit.
Frances smiled again. She could proudly say that the music ministry God had entrusted into her hands was thriving. Not as though there weren’t times she’d planned to quit. Remembering the unique nature of her conversion and God’s special request to her to shout out His praise to the ends of the earth; Frances had remained committed.
At twenty, Frances was already the cynosure of all eyes. Her 5.7 inches frame stood out amongst her outstanding features. She was fair in complexion with flawless skin. Her signature gap tooth was another asset to her name; coupled with her dimpled cheek that became visible as soon as she smiled. Indeed Frances Kadiri was an epitome of beauty.
Her cognitive orientation was also a trait that endeared her to many. Frances was a beauty to behold in an age where beauty equates with bimbos, she was a rare breed. From her secondary to tertiary education, she had consistently bagged scholarships. No wonder all who came across her couldn’t help but call her an “all-rounder”.
She kicked a stone; bringing her from her reverie.
ouch!! She hissed.
The fear came back again. She’d wanted to join her choirmaster home but by the time she concluded her prayers at the altar, virtually everyone who could offer her a ride home had left. Getting a cab home was a herculean task especially with the downpour in the early evening. Undaunted, she decided to walk home.
She checked her phone, the time was 9:15 pm. In about 5 minutes, she’ll be home taking a hot shower. She smiled again, God had been very faithful in giving her the wonderful set of parents she ahead. As the first of four amazing children, she could count herself lucky as coming from a godly home. She trudged on quietly humming the hymn “It is well” by Horatio Spafford.
As she pondered on the lyrics of the hymn, she saw it again, the red tail light of the Toyota Venza. Shed remembered seeing it thrice consecutively as she walked. Why was the car not in motion she wondered. She walked on; unperturbed.
Nothing prepared Ms. Kadiri for the action that will cast a black cloud on her life forever. She remembered walking past the Toyota Venza when a hand covered her mouth from behind. In a whim,she was lifted a few inches away from the ground with a circling motion on her waist.
Kadiri tried screaming but couldn’t find her voice. She tried to grab her attackers head and got dropped instantly. She winced in pain as her back collided with the ground. Her skirt went further up giving her attacker a full view of her slender beautiful legs.
“Please don’t hurt me” she begged.
With each menacing step he took, she retreated, he grabbed her hands with a force that confused her considering the texture of his palm as it brushed against her.
Then another round of struggle began. As tears mingled with blood and mucus, she silently begged God for deliverance. But the heavens were silent. The breathing of her attacker became slow rasps when he discovered she wasn’t retaliating to his punches. He carried her from the ground and took her to his car. She took in the smell of him in hate.
“God, please save me from what I think is about to happen” she groaned.
Read this short story : Will you marry me again?
Few meters to the car, her attacker stopped to take in air. He pressed her into himself until she was conscious of the bulge in protruding through his trousers. Then the torture began… her attacker continued to grope her, desecrating her sacred temple with his filthy touch.
His lips found her in a rough kiss, as her last retribution, she bit his tongue, a thunderous slap followed her action. It was then she saw the tie in his hands without much ado, he bound her hands behind her. Then proceeded to steal pleasures she had hitherto being ignorant of.
The fondling did not stop as tears cascaded her face. The moment he touched her thigh, she knew the Rubicon had been crossed. Her attacker tore the last bit of resistance. She felt the pain shoot through her body as he went inside her.
For a minute, she remembered David Wokonma, the erstwhile Joint Christian Campus Fellowship President; he proposed to her two days ago. What would be his reaction when he finds out that his pearl of inestimable value had been ungraciously defiled by a stranger; that the ultimate gift for her heartthrob on her wedding night was surreptitiously taken from her.
She cringed as the man continued to take his fill of her. She surmised to save her tears as she would be needing it more when the ordeal had ended. As the pounding continued, she realized with disgust that they were truly alone, even God had forgotten her. She closed her eyes, as the tremors of pain spiraled her body. Frances Kadiri had joined the growing statistics of girls preyed upon by sexual predators.
Tunji knew this had to stop, a little game initiated by their maid had now turned to a perpetual lifestyle. How did he get into this mess? He mused.
A quick visit to his maids’ room when he was 6 led him on a journey of sexual molestation. To think that his patents were oblivious to his worst nightmares running daily for eight years now.
The stories above are just snippets into the life of individuals who have suffered from sexual molestation.
One in four girls and one in ten boys in Nigeria experience sexual violence before the age of eighteen. Shocking isn’t it?
So what is sexual abuse/molestation/assault/violence?
Sexual abuse otherwise referred to as sexual molestation is an abuse of sexual; behavior by one person upon another.
Sexual abuse is also used in any kind of sexual behavior towards a child.
On a broader scale, it refers to any form of sexual contact or behavior that occurs WITHOUT the explicit consent of the victim.
Sexual abuse/molestation/assault/violence includes
- Attempted rape
- Fondling or unwanted sexual touching
- Forcing a victim to perform sexual acts such as oral sex
- Penetration of the victims’ body also known as rape.
Our discourse will center on the sub-topic RAPE
What is Rape?
There has been a disparity in the contextual definition of rape between governmental health organizations, law enforcement agencies, health providers, the legal profession, and even in the cultural sense of it.
Rape is generally a male’s sexual dominance over a woman. It was not until 2012 did the world change their views taking into cognizance that rape doesn’t just occur heterosexually but also homosexually.
Dictionary.com defines rape as unlawful sexual intercourse or any other sexual penetration of the vagina, anus, or mouth of another person, with or without force, by a sex organ, organ body part, or foreign object without the consent of the victim.
Merriam Webster dictionary defines rape as an unlawful sexual activity and usually, sexual intercourse carried out forcibly or under threat of injury against a person’s will or with a person who is beneath a certain age or incapable of valid consent because of mental illness, mental deficiency, intoxication, unconsciousness or deception.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation defined rape as the penetration no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim. This definition was updated to; recognize any gender (male/female) of the victim and perpetrator and that rape with an object can be as traumatic as penile/vaginal rape. The bureau further describes instances when the victims unable to give consent because of mental or physical incapacity.
Health organizations like World Health Organization (WHO) define rape as a form of sexual assault in which a victim is penetrated due to intoxication. Non-physically forced penetration which occurs after a person is pressured verbally by intimidation or misuse of authority to force to consent, or completed or attempted forced penetration of a victim via unwanted physical force (including using a weapon or threatening to use a weapon).
Rape can occur as acquaintance rape and stranger rape (example; Blitz sexual assault, contact sexual assault, home invasion sexual assault).
Effects of sexual abuse
Gynecological disorders: This may surface as genital injuries both to the cervix, vagina, or anus.
Reproductive disorders: There’s a case of relatively more reproductive tract infections in rape survivors. Examples are sex
Sexual disorders /dysfunction: This is evident in fear of some victims to engage in sexual activity (frigidity experienced by married couples) or the extreme which is hyper-arousal, this can make a victim becoming a nymphomaniac.
Post-traumatic stress disorder: There’s always a change in the emotional stability of an individual during and after rape. Some victims live in denial, dissociation and fragmentation might occur during the assault. Other emotional symptoms associated with the aftermath of rape include; anxiety disorder, distress, intense feeling of shame, revulsion, guilt, numbness, depression, specific phobias which may culminate in suicide.
Any hope in view?
The very first step to finding healing for any survivor of sexual abuse (rape especially) is understanding for a FACT that YOU’RE NOT THE CAUSE OF THE RAPE.
- There are various helplines available to survivors of rape and other forms of sexual abuse particularly those who wish to remain anonymous.
- As soon as rape/sexual abuse has occurred, forensic medical examinations and treatment, post-HIV drugs, post-pregnancy drugs, HIV, and other sexually transmitted diseases tests are carried out on survivors to reduce their risk of susceptibility to the aforementioned.
- Counselors and psychologists are also needed to walk survivors through their dark paths.
NOTE: the sorrows of yesterday must not steal the beauty of today and the possibilities of tomorrow, ensure you don’t die of depression before you get there.
In the words of Tekena Ikoko:
“put the past in the past, take your rest
Put your faith for your future in God
But take ownership of today
Work hard, motivate yourself and smile
There will be no other today. Use it…”
Push away ignorance and self-pity: Oftentimes, totally oblivious to our perceived knowledge of the pros and cons of our sexuality, we still make mistakes. As a survivor, do not settle for the cancer of self-pity. Pick yourself up, dust your clothes, lift your head, and fight again.
Intentionally destroy unforgiveness: Yes I said it, forgive and forgive again for it is the only boat that can sail on the waters of deep-seated hurt. Forgive the perpetrators but most especially, forgive yourself.
Despite the clarion call to become a social recluse, do not be afraid to start over again. Learn to unlearn and relearn. Remember life is like a crate of eggs. The fact that some eggs are bad doesn’t mean you’ll discard the others. Isolate the bad eggs and move on.
Don’t forget; your wholeness can only flow from the throne of the balm of Gilead.