It took me years before I could speak out.
Yes, I lost my virginity through rape.
Rape is not something one gets over. It’s however something you learn to live with. The memory ever fresh.
It’s something that could inhibit your life, affect other sexual relationships in your life. Makes you feel that guys wooing you only want one thing from you; it makes you never to trust in love.
You feel dirty, impotent, despair. It’s a feeling you have to fight. If you don’t, it means your rapist wins on double front.
I’m not revealing the story to make your day; I’m revealing the story to make my day.
And I know as my fingers fly over my laptop, that there are many ladies who would learn something from my experience.
The first thing to know or come to terms with is that rape is never the victim’s fault, no matter what anyone says.
Secondly, the experience could make or mar you. It could end up shaping your life for good or bad. It could make you never trust any guy around a girl-child.
As for me, today, because I’m a journalist, I pursue issues of rape with unflinching tenacity. I guess that’s way I became a familiar face with workers of National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons.
I was 21, hanging precariously on the threshold of 22, when it happened.
I grew up in Deeper Life Church, with the doctrines shaping my life. I grew up knowing that whoever takes my virginity will have to marry me. Old fashion you may say, but that’s the life I planned for myself.
I was living with my eldest sister. She has seven kids; part of the reason I was taken from my parents at an early age was to mind the kids.
I finished secondary school and started working as a clerk in a hospital. I went to visit my parents one weekend and my immediate elder sister, Pat, relaxed my hair for the very first time in my life.
In Deeper Life, it was as an abomination. When I got home, my eldest sister’s husband sent me packing.
I went to stay with my mum’s sister. She sold roasted corns, plantains and oranges.
I could have gone to stay with my parents, but it would mean losing my clerical job. I thought I could be going to the office from my aunt’s place. Going from my parents’ place was out of the question. My salary was just N400. Transport would have gulped everything.
I needed the money. My family needed the money. I lost the job anyway after my in-law went to the hospital to tell the Chief Medical Director that I was possessed of an evil spirit. He told him that I used to live with him, but not anymore. He told the CMD that he couldn’t vouch for me if anything happened.
I didn’t know why he stooped so low in trying to hurt me. He wasn’t looking at the big picture. The effect of his actions on me.
When I got to work that day, the CMD said he wanted to see me. He told me that he had to let me go. I started crying as he told me all the awful things my in-law said about me. I just cried the more. I gave several years of my life and time to my eldest sister and her husband. I deserved better.
The talking took place in the doctor’s apartment, attached to his hospital. There was a seat and there was a bed. While trying to assist me in wiping my tears, he tried to edge me towards the bed.
I knew it was time to leave.
But before this drama in the CMD bedroom, my life had already been shattered.
My aunt, whom I stayed with after leaving my sister and in-law’s place, had a weakness.
She liked beer. To make her day, just buy her any bottle of beer. But her favourite was Guilder.
Whenever I returned from the hospital, I would join her kids in selling in front of the house.
It was in the course of this trading that Uzor saw me. I was young. I read romance novels a lot, but surprisingly, I wasn’t interested in men.
I had two great friends: Franca and Faith. When they talk about their guys, I listened with rapt attention. I used to wonder if I would ever have the balls to date a guy.