Good day, after going through a lot of back and forth within myself I finally decided to put my story out there. This is not in a bid to garner sympathy but in the hope that my story could help someone get out of a similar situation.
Growing up as a young lady in Nigeria is quite difficult especially one who receives a lot of male attention. I experienced a lot of abuse while growing up. I was beaten, fingered, molested, and harassed as early as age 4. At a point, I tried to speak up but I wasn’t believed so I became accustomed to it and didn’t bother to mention it again.
My first near-rape experience occurred at age 16. The perpetrator was a coursemate who happened to like me and had been asking me out for a couple of months. Despite my continually rejecting him, he was persistent. At a point, he started stalking me, then calling me with strange numbers and calling at odd hours like 1 or 2 am. I just overlooked it all and felt he would get tired at some point.
The day that the incident occurred I was going to school at around 5 pm to study for a test. On my way, I noticed the guy following me. He then came up to me and asked for me to hear him out but I refused. We kept arguing for about 3 hours on the road, I kept trying to get away but he wouldn’t let me, I even tried to get the attention of a few passersby but no one bothered to help (they probably thought it was a lovers quarrel). At a point, I began crying and begging him to let me go but he refused.
A friend of his saw us and came up to us and asked me to just hear the guy out. I finally agreed because I was so exhausted and drained. They both suggested that I and the guy go and talk in his friend’s room which was just across the road. I agreed and we went in, I sat on the bed and listened. This guy proceeded to kneel and beg me to date him, I agreed just so he would let me be.
The next thing I knew was that he had jumped on me and started groping me. I struggled, cried, and pleaded with him but he didn’t stop. He went on to rip my trousers open and pull off my panties. I struggled furiously and even tried to scream but that earned me some dirty slaps. I felt defeated. All I could think of was how much I hated the helplessness I felt which was so similar to what I felt as a child.
Suddenly, a thought popped into my head about a rape survival story I had seen a while back, I decided to try it out. I stopped struggling and just acted calm, I guess he took that as a good sign and stopped hitting me. He held my two hands with his one hand and used the other to pull down his trousers. He then began to rub himself on me, I prayed and made a split-second decision. I pulled my knee up and hit him in the balls as hard as I could before he could recover I pushed him off, jumped up and began to scream as loud as I could, I carried a standing fan which was close by and smashed every single thing I could in the room. People came rushing in and that’s how I was saved. It was so crazy that a guy had to help me with something to cover up because I didn’t even realize that I was naked from the waist down.
A few years later, I had my second near-rape encounter. One night while going to the hostel after seeing a friend, I was accosted by security personnel. He claimed that I was out too late and he would have to take me to the security office, I was surprised because that was around 9 pm and there were still other people around so I argued with him, a colleague of his intervened and insisted that I follow them to the security office.
I agreed to go but I kept my distance from them. While walking, the security officer suddenly pushed me into a dark corner, pressed himself against me, and began to tell me all the things he was going to do to me for arguing with him. I began to struggle and cry, I couldn’t believe this was happening again. He tore my gown open and then my panties. When I tried to cover myself, he slammed my head and hands against the wall with such force that my wristwatch broke.
Once again faced with a situation I felt helpless to do anything about, I calmed myself down and said a silent prayer. I then began to pet him. I told him I wanted this too but it was all too sudden, he didn’t listen to me at first but went on to pull down his trousers he then tried to penetrate me but I kept begging him that we should please hold off a bit
Eventually, he listened and said I was right because he doesn’t trust uni girls so it would be best for him to use a condom considering that he’s a family man. He held me and kept running his hands all over my body and told me that he wants me so much and I should promise that I would come to see him the next day when he calls me. He even threatened to harm me if I didn’t do as I promised. I did as he asked, gave him my number, promised to be back, and ran as fast as my legs could take me.
The next day, with the support of friends I went to the school authorities, reported and he was subsequently sacked.
Despite years of abuse, these two events helped me see that I didn’t have to always be a victim but that I can also be a victor. I was not as helpless as I thought.
The major point I would like to point out from my story is that aggression is not always the best option, often at times, we can fight these rapists by being calm and rational. I went on to watch rape survival stories and realized that so many rape survivors avoid being raped, killed, or further harmed by trying to reason with their attackers.
Also, allowing an attacker to feel that he is in control can give one the opportunity to take him unawares and take back control. Being angry, fighting back, insulting him, or threatening to expose him when the opportunity comes can just lead to more violence or him even going as far as trying to shut you up permanently.
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