I feel dirty. I feel used. I feel like jumping off this building. Every day I wake, it is the same thought that goes through my mind.
My childhood was that of a typical teenager. I played with my friends when the time was available, but I always remembered that homework was important. How else would I show I studied after school?
I had gone on a holiday to stay with my Aunt and it was one of the best holidays ever. She had promised to have a small party for me as I turned 13. I looked forward to the weekend as my birthday fell on a week day.
I had woken up and now that I remember I wish I never did. The day went on as usual and nothing ever pointed to what would happen. My Aunt had asked me to buy biscuits from the stall around the corner from the house. It was getting dark, but not too dark for me. I always ran to the stall and back. I asked Paul my cousin who was younger than me to accompany me. As we chatted, that was when I looked up and saw them; five hefty looking boys. They hit Paul on his head and he passed out. I screamed for help as they grabbed me. I wondered what the matter was. I was only thirteen. Did I take what was not mine? I turned to look at Paul, he looked lifeless. The slap across my face brought me back to reality. I begged for mercy as they tore my clothes, laughing and calling me names. I shut my eyes. My legs hurt as they forced them open and I heard them say ‘Na me go start‘…
That was when I opened my eyes and saw the half naked body over me and he hit me across the face for daring to open my eyes and just then I felt the sharp pain as he rammed into me. My scream stopped half way. I felt him being pushed away and a different one continued. All five of them violated my body. I felt nothing. As they ran away leaving me in my blood, I crawled home to get help for Paul.
I still feel nothing years after. All I see is black. My aunt warned that I tell no one. She secretly took me for all the tests available. Yet she said, tell no one. How can I tell anyone that I had lost my virginity to five boys? They would know how dirty am. I am stained, tainted. I am no good. I have no value. I am ashamed because I know it is my fault. I want out. I hate boys! I hate the girls who have never felt this pain. I hate the world.
This is one of the numerous stories that I have heard and I still cannot fathom the idea. Rape is vile. What drives the thought? I chose the story above because the child was just thirteen so the case of her being under dressed or being a cock tease does not come to play. We have lived in silence about rape and it is slowly eating deep. It starts from home they say, ‘charity’. The values we in still in our children will live with them. If we don’t, who do we blame?
I am no psycho analyst; I am just a concerned woman who has seen the effect of rape on the victim. Sometimes, we meet women who will never be caught with men. We judge them because we do not know what their experiences have been and why they have made certain choices. The victims who are not strong enough cave in to their fears. No matter how strong, the smell still stays with you. The flashes come and sometimes they are forced to die in silence because the society makes you believe it was your fault. I have heard some men call it ‘force within reasonable reason’. I have heard some women say, ‘why did she go to his house?’ ‘what was she doing there?’. These are not questions we should ask. Last I checked, ‘YES’ and ‘NO’ have totally different meanings. I am sharing the story above with you because I believe we can talk to her through this medium. She has started her healing because she has spoken. There is a cost for silence!