Posted on

Rape….the human disease and shame

It was raining heavily and Tinu, driving in the rain felt the beginnings of a headache coming on. She sighed and the phone rang, one cursory look confirmed it was Banji on the phone. She stretched out her hand to pick the phone, saw the girl and stopped.

The girl was obviously lost as she seemed oblivious of the rain, gathering her tattered clothes about her. Her blouse was torn, eyes were swollen and as Tinu stopped, got out of the car, she knew it was much worse than being lost. The girl had been beaten and she bled.
Tinu simply took the girl into the car and drove to the doctor. She was enraged and had a murderous glint in her eyes.

Thirty minutes later the doctor came back to the consulting room. Tinu gave the doctor a questioning look, there was also an appeal in those eyes as it silently asked for answers.
‘Rape my friend, by more than one person, she doesn’t seem to know the assailants. They dumped her at the bus stop when they were done with her.’ The doctor replied her silent query grimly.
Tinu unclenched her fists and asked to be taken to the ward to see the girl.
‘Now they dump them in the streets’ she said through clenched teeth as she narrated the story to her husband Banji much later.
Anike, the girl who was raped had been lured by the promise of a job in a neighboring town so she was completely lost and didn’t know where to go when those who called her for an interview simply grabbed her.
Are you shocked? That is just one scenario, there are several. I will share as much as my anger, disgust and bewilderment will permit
Where do you place your sympathy, in the midst of the calamities befalling the human race?
That is not the end of Anike’s problem you know. Her mother simply refused to accept that Anike was not to blame, and there was horror at the mere fact of letting the law enforcement agents come into the picture. She felt she would be blamed because she had not been strict enough with her child.
In the African tradition, a good child belongs to the father and any misbehavior of the child is placed at the doorstep of the mother.
Where does that leave Anike? Nowhere.
What kind of parents are we? Is there any form of support system in this country that helps someone like Anike? She sits and stares, I heard she was given a rape kit, a government lawyer came to talk to her and after much persuasion, her mother went with her to the police station. The officer gave her a lewd look and yawned.
She has refused to make further visits to the Police, the lawyer says she is busy and there is growing terror in the eyes of Anike as I watch her each time I visit.
I read the book of Robert Uttaro TO THE SURVIVORS’ and I ask myself questions.
I ask you now, Rape has been an issue right from Biblical times. Are we as humans so defective that we have been unable to resolve this type of murder?

I read from the good book that the commandment said clearly Thou shalt not kill.
We murder or we are accessories to the act before and after when another human being is raped. We take without permission the fundamental human rights of another human being in the act of rape.
There are so many types of it and starting from today, each week on this day, I will send you posts about rape.
Why?
I hope you will help in your own way to raise a voice against rape, and domestic violence.
Let’s do something, please.

Posted on

What should I tell mum

I came home after seven years, I still looked fresh almost untouched. I really didn’t know what to expect, even why I came home. I was tired, emotionally tired, spiritually empty. It was time to go home.
I really had not factored into my spirit what my mum was going to say. Seven years is a long time to have stayed angry and rebellious. Seven years was the time it took me to look in the mirror. Really look in the mirror to look for me. To look for my definition of me, what it means to be me. I am not making any excuses my friend. I just got tired of it all, suicide even lost its attraction. Tried it for the first time after the physics teacher ran his hands all over me in class just before lights out. It was the same night the principal had called me into his office and asked me to sit on his lap and something hard kept sticking into me and I struggled to move away.
Yes those silent struggles, in his office his long beard and his pants, it was the reason I asked my mum to sew khaki shorts for me and I zipped them up my belly, to stop those wandering hands. I would scrub my body every night trying to take his smell on my body off. I was scared, I did not know who to ask the questions. Then I looked in the mirror then, saw my staring eyes and despaired .
Subuola would in rage insist I was after her boyfriend, first time I understood the import of what she meant, we had a big fight. It was Kola who in sheer mirth explained that I could make men commit sins. I asked him to explain, but he simply laughed and shook his head. He said my dimples and those bewildered eyes were a dangerous combination.

But that explanation came years later after two suicide attempts. But back in those days, I only felt shame, dirty and sad. Why would the principal do this things, and the physics teacher. I never had good grades in that subject, I could not explain why my brain will close up just seeing the subject written on the board. I was in constant state of terror just seeing him. He would pinch my breasts ( it was just coming up) very painfully. Hold me very tightly and rub himself hard against me. I would whimper and struggle, gradually my shame changed to anger and developed into a rage.

Seven years ago I timidly asked my mum why men were like that, and she lost it. I had never been so severely beaten. My backsides ached, mum checked my innermost places almost with a torchlight and there was no name left to call me after six hours of verbal abuse. I felt like nothing. The mat was so hard, and when it started raining, I embraced its cold sharp stings. It was better than all the abuse. I didn’t know when I started walking that night. I did not remember if I met any masquerade, I just walked, and walked.
The morning found me in the city, and the call of the conductor brought me sharply awake. Ikoyi still had a park in those days, so I guess in some fashion. I got there. Slept in the grass for a long time. Then this family approached me and asked if there was anything wrong. I remember saying very simply that I was missing and needed a job. Those were strange days. No telephones then, so I stayed with them for a while being a nanny to their child. Took my ‘A’ levels as a private student, rekindled my dream to be a human being.

I discovered later I had been damaged by the silent abuses, my mum’s lack of understanding made me a very bitter person. I closed my heart , kept the keys but refused to communicate.

I started teaching and loved the children particularly one sad eyed angel called Tina. She always sat quietly in a corner. Rarely went to breaks with the other children, never got her clothes dirty until one day another tiny one mistakenly splashed her with the drink she was having. I saw the terror that came into her eyes and how she trembled uncontrollably. Suddenly I knew what was wrong with her. I picked her up and rocked her as my own tears finally burst and we both cried helplessly.

Hours later, when the storm was over, and the wretched house girl who had been abusing Tina was arrested. I went to my clean, over clean spruced flat and looked in the mirror again
Now I am on my way home to talk to Mum.

Posted on

She Looked in the mirror…Short Stories


Early dawn, just the mournful call to prayer, and her heart responded in tears. Her face feltstiff and she touched it gingerly. Quietly she removed all her clothes and walked naked to the courtyard looking at the sky. She went to the kitchen and poured water in the calabash. She set it up on three stones and stood in front of it motionless. She remained like that for a while consciously emptying her thoughts of all thoughts. When she felt reasonably calm and her heart had stopped weeping, she took the bowl of water and poured it over her person. The icy cold water brought her sharply awake. She suppressed her instinctive gasp.

With measured footsteps she returned to the bedroom and stared blankly at his drunken huddled form as it snored. She went to the corner of the bedroom and silently picked her clothes , stuffing them in the bag. Her son stirred in the corner and she carried him putting himon her back as she strapped him securely.
She checked her bag, to be sure her ATM was in her purse. She had gone over lateat night and from swollen bloody lips had asked for her ATM which she had kept with Madam Stella her neighbour. She took a long look at Kunle and the screams threatened to escape her lips. She turned him over and tied his hands to the bed post. The she slapped him awake.

He opened his eyes slowly and stared in shock at his wife who gave him a wolfish grin. His moth was taped with her bloodied underwear .
Are you awake now my darling?
He tried to talk but was too tightly gagged, his eyes bulged in wild terror when he saw the knife?
His wife sighed and his eyes pleaded for mercy. She seemed to be contemplating. In a soft voice she read the poem to him as if from a long ago memory.

Do you remember this poem? I wrote it the first time you raped me and you begged me that you did not know what came over you? I warned you that if you drive the sheep to the wall it might turn on you. I am going away. I hope they find you in time. Then she brought the knife, she hummed softly as she worked on him

Five hours later, the police found him. No one knew her name and Madam Stella could only weep for the sweet faced girl who brought her the ATM to keep.
Sweet revenge
She splayed him out
sang lullaby to his screams
as she tested the knife
against his scrotum
one peel after the other
she carved
in bloody art
all the names
he called her
in drunken stupor
through the red mist
as he raped her
and maimed her
for any man.