COURT IS IN SESSION
A friend invited me once to attend a court session. He was trying to reassure me that there was nothing to be afraid about of our judicial system. I had nothing doing for that day and did not feel like the computer so I walked over from my office to the court which was some walking distance.
It was packed already. A young man was in the dock for killing his mum. His eyes were haunted and strained. You could tell he was under a great strain. His wife and members of his family were sitting huddled together and everyone stared at the judge.
One lady sat quietly. She was not agitated, nor was she crying. She was dressed simply and elegantly almost like the judge herself. She had gray hair and you could tell she was most likely to be in her sixties. I was intrigued by her self- restraint.
I’d seen a couple of white garment prophets outside the church assuring the relatives that they had nothing to worry about. I asked my friend why the boy or actually the young man was being charged with killing his mother. He whispered back that he had deliberately driven his mother over the edge of cliff with the car because he had accused her of witchcraft.
Hmm, who fingered her as a witch?’ I asked my friend amused
He indicated the white garment prophets outside the court premises
I groaned and craned my neck to get a better view of the court. I noticed a few of my journalist friends were intrigued by the story and had come to watch the proceedings. I wondered what the elegant lady was doing so I murmured an excuse to my friend and went over to sit beside her.
She gave me a cursory glance and I had a vision of a very beautiful, graceful old lady. She sat still, calmly watching.
I tried to start a quiet conversation.
You know the young man being charged? I enquired?
‘I think so, just before he was born actually’ she said with a smile at me.
‘I see, you must be feeling bad about this then’ I said
She turned and gave me a calm glance from clear brown eyes, then with a slight graceful nod of her head indicated the young man at the dock.
‘His relatives have been praying and asking that the Almighty come to their aid, but I wonder if He is listening’
I shrugged, ‘I am sorry but I…’
‘Not into religion, I know that’ she finished for me, with a slight smile.
‘Have you ever wondered though why God has never seen fit to kill the Devil? I mean that would save a lot of miseries. The misery of a religion and the bottomless stupidity, we inflict on ourselves’
We were silent as the judge walked in and started reading her judgment. She listened impassively.
The judge had declared the case a non-issue ordering a re-trial for manslaughter.
The court erupted into loud jubilation. My old lady stood up. She was not smiling or upset, just calm.
I commented that at least she would be relieved to know it had come out well for the young man. She simply inclined her head. I was now really interested in talking to her further so I asked if I might call on her sometime. She became really amused at my request.
‘That could be a problem as I have just retired from active duty and I am kind of resting now. Just pay the occasional visit you know’.
I remarked that she seemed to know me and so had the advantage.
She said she had often watched my programmes and thought I was doing okay. I pressed for her name and she smiled and gave me her hand
‘I used to be called justice Anike Williams’ she said and then smiling left.
I went over to my friend and started telling him about the old lady, he listened as we walked out the court but almost crashed the car at the fence when I mentioned the name of the lady I had been talking to.
‘You could have killed us’ I complained
He stared at me
‘Are you sure of the name of the lady you talked to?’ he asked me
‘Yes of course I just told you’. I snapped checking to see if I had any injuries. I went cold however with his next comment
‘Justice Anike Williams is the mother of the young man just acquitted and she died in that accident two years ago. I attended the funeral. Who exactly have you been talking to?’
You can read more short stories on Sunset Tales by Biola Olatunde at IFWGPUBLISHING.COM
My name is Esan, that was how he always introduced himself staring unblinkingly as he offered a handshake.
He woke up with the smell in his nostrils, burning flesh and screams. He had never been able to make sense of the dream. Sometimes he wondered if he should see a psychologist to analyze the meaning of the dream to him. He turned his lips in contempt wondering what was buried so deep in his subconscious that he should have such nightmares.
He had his bath and hurried off to work. Today was post-mortem at his department and he knew one of his programmes was slated for the post-mortem. He was not really sure if he had given the programme the type of editing that would please him. Mr. Sunny, the senior producer always wanted him to perform well and he liked to please the guy once in a while..
There was also a master class coming up at the weekend and he sighed knowing Tumi was going to protest again. Thinking of Tumi was a good feeling he wrapped around his groin and enjoyed the lazy sensations it gave him. He shrugged her off his body and slipped on his shirt for the meeting.
Minutes later, he was seated with the rest of the programme’s staff as they waited for Mr. Sunny to come in. Liz gave him a once over and he returned the look with a grin. Liz, luscious, available and dangerous, with eyes that reminded you of a Chinese cat. ‘What does a Chinese cat look like?’
‘You’ had been his reply when she had asked one night
‘You are mad’ she had replied running her fingers over her face and looking at him with desire.
He stepped away from her and those thoughts as his boss came in.
She wasn’t exactly pretty and he had remained blank about her obvious desire to be more than a friendly colleague, but today, for no reason, she had laughed as if something was amusing.
‘Care to tell me why you are in front of my house, calling me and staring? Tumi demanded and Esan stared in shock
‘I actually came here?’
‘Have you been sleepwalking again’? Tumi asked not particularly shocked
He replied to her that he was not sleepwalking but a tiny frill of fear feathered down his spine. Am I awake or still sleeping?
Tumi opened the door for him to walk in and offered him a warm drink. He sipped his drink and the smell hit him, burning flesh and smoke. He dropped the drink and rushed for the bathroom, and retched repeatedly. Tumi’s hand was on the back of his shoulder and it felt hot.
He straightened up and found himself in his bedroom on his own bed. His bed was wet and he still smelled the burning flesh. It was the same nightmare. Second time today he said to himself.
TO BE CONTINUED
To the survivors
TO THE SURVIVORS
Written by : Biola Olatunde
Inspired by the book of the same Title written by Robert Uttaro
Chapter 1 What is rape?
My name is Biola Olatunde. I have the pleasure to invite you to this series ‘To the Survivors’ we will discuss issues of rape, domestic violence, sexual violence, what the survivors and their families go through, government reaction, policies and society’s responsibilities in the epidemic
At the end of each chapter, we will appeal that you send in your reaction, thoughts, suggestion and even share experiences. If it is an experience, we will keep the details confidential and use the writer’s right to dramatize your experience.
All characters in the drama are fictitious and have no bearing on any person or location.
We have aired it on the radio as a series and we are hoping to make it available on YouTube or an internet radio soon.
I need you to help. I hope when you have read, you will wish to donate so we can continue to air this programme for long enough for it to make sense
Olayinka is a young girl in her twenties in her last year of university. Naturally, she is eager to find herself a job in the labour market. When she received an invitation from a stepbrother in law for a job interview in another city she jumps at it. However what happened was a nightmare she never planned. The prospective employer took her to his house, repeatedly raped her and left her half dead at a bus stop.
Mrs. Roberts closing from work finds her and takes her to the hospital
‘I am doomed’ was the repeated question of Olayinka as Mrs. Roberts tries to get some details from her. In tears herself at the brutality and callousness of the rapist, Mrs. Roberts takes the case up and offers to pay the medical bills.
‘But how do we identify this rapist or better still who will come for this young woman? Somebody somewhere is looking for her daughter’ Mrs. Roberts tells her husband, hours after she got home dispirited and sad.
Banji hugs his wife close and reassures her that they should see if there is a number on the dead phone. So they charge the phone and sure enough, the young woman had received 39 missed calls from a particular number. Mrs. Roberts called the number. A mature female voice asks anxiously after Olayinka
Olayinka! I have been calling you? Where have you been?, the voice demanded the minute the call went through
Are you a relative of the owner of this phone? Mrs. Roberts asked tentatively
I am her mother, please put Olayinka on the phone’ the voice demanded
Mrs. Roberts sighed ‘I am sorry Ma, but your daughter is in hospital, she will need you to be with her as soon as you can madam
There was dead silence, then in a small voice, ’What is wrong with her, is she at the clinic or at the general hospital?
She is at a private hospital Madam, she was abandoned at a bus stop here in Akure and I found her during a heavy storm last night Ma. Please come to Oak Hospital
The line goes dead and Mrs. Roberts has tears in her eyes, as she looks at her husband.
‘That is a most horrible news you can ever give a mother’
The next morning a slim middle-aged woman knocks at the office of Mrs. Roberts. One look at a tired drawn face indicated that she had had a very bad night. Mrs. Roberts was very sympathetic as she explained. As the shock of what had been done to her daughter left her face it was replaced by horror at reporting the rape to law enforcement agents.
Olayinka’s mother was increasingly reluctant to report the matter to the police.
She insisted that her husband will more likely disown the daughter if it became a police case.
She was adamant until Mrs. Roberts pointed out the greater need of Olayinka and Olayinka’s right as human being to justice.
The system of a community or family that will condone a crime rather than help a rape survivor is called to question.
Do we really care enough?
The police demand that a raped victim should come as they are. In the traumatic state of having been raped?
The hospital will refuse to treat a raped survivor unless there was a police clearance report
What do you think?
why don’t we read books? I keep asking myself that question every time. Why don’t we read books that are for pleasure, expand our minds, books that excite our imagination, books that teach us about other cultures? Why do we ignore books that expand our minds? I have been thinking a lot about books and the paucity of good books
You know, when you have a lot of things to do and you find you have not done one? You are so busy doing nothing. That has been my problem lately. I had a radio drama series which seemed to have swallowed me up whole. I have not had time to even think there are other parts of my literary life that need attention and my blog has suffered it most. I will stare for long moments longingly wishing I could just get my arse and do some writing ut I read another story on rape or hear one and I am off-putting that into a radio drama piece and asking my panelists to be on standby.
I do not intend to talk about rape today. Where am I?
Okay, I forget easily these days and that is another thing. This irritating habit of simply looking into the distance mid-conversation and not remembering what I want to say or write. Okay, blogging and my blog. Did I tell you about the problem I had getting my books back from those ’friends’ of mine?
Anyways, I don’t plan to give my books to bookshops anymore. Leastways not in my environment. One asked me to reduce the cover price to a fraction of the production cost so I could sell cheaply. He said books that are just meant to be read for its literary value don’t sell. He laughed at me, accepted that I could maybe write, but no one was going to buy my books for the prices I quoted.
There was hope in his eyes when he asked me if I had won any awards with any of the titles. Then the hope was replaced with pity as I mentioned that I wrote the series “I NEED TO KNOW”, he gave me a suspicious look. I could almost read his thoughts as he wondered if I had lost my marbles. I don’t look like a television writer to him, besides that was a popular series that spanned the whole country and beyond.
He had come to ask if he could sell my books for me in his own state and stared t me in horror when I told him how much it was going for. He patiently explained that I was not producing this for television and he was being helpful. There was a long pause then he brightened up and offered to take all four books for N600, that is less than $2:00. I screamed at him to get off my face and space.
He was miffed and told my friend I was going to be hungry for a long time. I was depressed. Told him he was a nightmare. I have been having such nightmares daily as I stare at my collection gathering dust.
Why don’t we read?
I wish I can have an answer.
I really was not expecting that I would fall mentally lethargic for months. I remember things, so many things. Somehow, I lost my nerve, my cool and the Muse seemed to have abandoned me. I remember I could write at the drop of a sneeze. The writing was my escape route, not from problems. But writing was my best friend, my confidante. I could lose myself in words. I could write for hours and just talk to you without restraint. The writing was for me a bolt hole. It never mattered if nobody read them, I read them to myself, talked to myself and to you. I remember some things about my writing
Like when I started I NEED TO KNOW, I was not thinking of anybody, in particular, I was thinking of my teenage years, and if I had a chance, the kind of childhood I could dream about. It was my way of handling my issues then. I wrote the series almost at the drop of a sneeze. It was fun, felt I was talking to you. That you were listening to me. You know these literary binges I tended to have was always like that. Remember when I was writing Candid theatre for radio. I used to have this rather naïve way about human beings. Each one I met was some kind of experience .it felt odd later when people described me for the success of those stories. Was I the stories?. No, I was not really but I always felt emotional about the stories like they were real. I remember.so many things.
Some memories don’t go well with your self-confidence and have a habit of tearing you to pieces when you do not want it. You have two choices, sink it deeper into your psyche and make a determined effort to rationalize it. It is easier to tell yourself that you are an adult now and should be able to forget all that. It becomes an issue though when you discover that the scars that you never noticed are bad enough to discolor aspects of your life. It has dammed up to a level that demands you should have an answer. At the very least, maybe I really should express myself and give myself some sort of release. I need a release from the rages. I need to come to terms with the agony of self-rejection that has made looking into the mirror an embarrassment.
I started writing to cover boredom. No strike that out. I should be honest to say I started writing because I loved it. It was a world that gave me certain privileges. I could just be me and I could try to rationalize, say secret things, look at my confusion or howl my pain.
I remember, writing “A SHARE OF THE SUN” a story on disabilities and those who live with it. I was able to seriously ask myself if I had any hangover about people with disabilities. If I could sincerely and truly work with them and understand them. Were they different? Yes, they were, in the courage to face a life that is different from me.. For the blind a life that is simply nothing. Sounds, sensations, that you could not put a colour to. How do you describe red to a blind person? Yet the pulsating rhythm of love and courage can be woven into anger to describe love in all its shades and you are shocked when a blind person tells you about these, feels it and has therefore seen it
I remember the squalor, neglect and utter deprivation when I visited the riverine area of my adopted state. When I interviewed the local chairman and saw his anger, felt his helplessness and pain.
I wrote BLOOD CONTRACT and I am still angry and upset each time I see the book and I long to reach out to every angry delta boy not to reach for the gun but to touch a star and claim it as his.
By the way, have you read the book?
Why are we angry sometimes? When we experience things that don#t seem to make sense to us. I very rarely make political comments. I am not an analyst. But we are angry when we look at our community and wonder why we don#t seem to get it right.
Should we be angry? Can we look at those things that seem to upset us?
Our social order is not doing as well as we planned or dreamed, but will getting angry be the answer?
We moan at the perfidy of our leaders.We have been angry with them forever, are they really listening to us?
Years ago I pondered these questions and wrote this book.
You could read it oo and you might have an answer
Why are we angry sometimes?
This book is available on my blog and on amazon.com
A much-cherished friend told me this story of a very beautiful tradition within an African tribe. I hope that it will raise an awareness of the singular responsibility we carry as women.
Of all the African tribes still alive today, the Himba tribe is one of the few that counts the birth date of the children not from the day they are born nor conceived but the day the mother decides to have the child.
When a Himba woman decides to have a child, she goes off and sits under a tree, by herself, and she listens until she can hear the song of the child who wants to come.
And after she’s heard the song of this child, she comes back to the man who will be the child’s father and teaches him the song. When they make love to physically conceive the child, they sing the song of the child as a way of inviting the child.
When she becomes pregnant, the mother teaches that child’s song to the midwives and the old women of the village, so that when the child is born, the old women and the people gather around him/her and sing the child’s song to welcome him/her. As the child grows up, the other villagers are taught the child’s song. If the child falls or gets hurt, someone picks him/her up and sings to him/her his/her song. Or maybe when the child does something wonderful or goes through the rites of puberty, then as a way of honoring this person, the people of the village sing his or her song.
In the Himba tribe, there is one other occasion when the “child song” is sung to the Himba tribesperson. If a Himba tribesman or tribeswoman commits a crime or something that is against the Himba social norms, the villagers call him or her into the center of the village and the community forms a circle around him/her. Then they sing his/her birth song to him/her.
The Himba views correction not as a punishment, but as love and remembrance of identity. For when you recognize your own song, you have no desire or need to do anything that would hurt another.
In marriage, the songs are sung, together. And finally, when the Himba tribesman/tribeswoman is lying in his/her bed, ready to die, all the villagers that know his or her song come and sing – for the last time that person’s song.
This is a very beautiful tradition and when my friend told me the story, it set me thinking. Wouldn’t it be nice if women from other climes and tribes picked aspects of this for our societies too?
We know that women y their very nature invite spirits into their homes and thus they are responsible for the nature of the child thus invited.
What should we do? Have we done our job properly, can we just shrug and say we have done our bit? This is addressed to women. Please search within the hidden places in yourself, Give yourself this question and answer, when you went to bed with the father of your child as you procreated, what was the most urgent question and request you made to the Creator? That you just want the pleasure of his body? Or in a desperation to get him to pop the question, you get pregnant not bothering what type of child you are inviting into your home?
Who was the guest you gave permission to incarnate?
I am hoping we will ask ourselves this question when we sit down to think about the growing violence in our relationships these days. In as much as I can’t understand the arguments of a rapist and an abuser, I remember this unfortunate fact, unpalatable to me as it may be.
It is that every hero, saintly person, thief, rapist, the pedophile was born of a woman.
That is the bottom line and the tribe of the Himba may have offered the woman something priceless
I ask this question today, Do parents interfere in the love affair of their children? As a parent, will you just sit back and allow your child to choose her love interests or will you interfere? You have seen, heard or at the very least you have read of arranged marriages. My question is thus very relevant. Do parents interfere in the love affair of their children? When should parents retire and allow their children to live their lives and come to a maturing?
It is argued by some parents that they interfere because they love their children. It is a very good emotion, to love your child. What type of love do you really profess?
When I started the series on effective parenting, I made quite a few assumptions:
1. That we understood what parenting is and when it stops
2. That we all needed to be effective as parents
3. That we might consider retirement as a parent sometime
When your ‘child’ is 45, still single and you shop around for a bride for him, are you still a parent?
I hope you understand thus why I asked the question, do parents interfere in the love affair of their children.
A friend stared at me horrified when I asked her that particular question. She looked at me and dismissed it as a silly question. She explained that in this modern age, parents do not bother themselves about the love affairs of their children. Her daughter came in and I noticed the casual questions she asked the daughter about a boyfriend.
The questions sounded casual but she was very keen as she listened to her daughter’s response. When her daughter left, my friend gave a very loaded sigh. I asked her what was on her mind and she gave me an instinctive answer. How do I tell her that her boyfriend is a no good boy who will never amount to much?
I kept quiet as I pondered. It was none of her business I thought to myself. The boy was seen as no good because he did not have the right connections, sometimes faith is weighed by the parents as a factor.
‘Wish them well, she may know what she is doing?’
My friend snorted, ‘In this day and age? you must be joking, she is only 25 and all she needs is money, cars, and an assured future. I have not suffered for some many years for her to waste our money on that boy’
I had a sad thought, are we not interfering with the legitimate dreams of our guests when we dream on their behalf? Are we not meant to retire from interfering?
There comes a time in the upbringing of these welcomed guests when we should step back and allow them to get on with their own woven tapestries of fate.
Certain laws of Life made them our temporary guests. For certain time we are permitted to live together as parent and child. However, there comes a time in our respective development that we may part ways and the relationship takes on a different meaning and interpretation.
A child is retired as a child when she has been evinced as mature enough to take independent decisions. Our human laws recognize that and support that understanding. We call it the coming of age.
Why should we not recognize the same thing for parents? Why would a parent not see that real retirement starts as a parent?
It should be a personal thing between a child and the parent. You do not have a reason to subtly, overtly or covertly interfere in the love affair or otherwise of your former guest. The tenancy expired spiritually when the child walked across the bridge and left her childhood behind in the castle.
I will be back soon. Do let me have your comments
Retire as a parent? Do we really retire as a parent? Are there retired parents in the sense I am writing about? I am sure you are wondering if after all that long silence, why do I come back with this?. Now is the time to think of myself as a retired parent. The loneliest thing I can think of right now. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean leaving paid employment. I am writing about stepping back from your responsibility as a parent and taking on the unpaid post of irritating adviser.
When do you stop agonizing over your child and simply let them get on with the experience of living? How do you watch them make mistakes, fall down on the job, and struggle to get back up? There comes a time when you just sit there and just pray. Get ready with the towel when they are about to spill it, but you must allow them to learn how to hold it.
Retiring as a parent is the toughest part of the job, it is your own final examinations. It is a nail-biting time, sleepless nights, when you bite back the words that jump through your mind but must not pass through your lips. Let’s play a bit of catch up so you know I have been through the game myself.
Remember all those times you dreamed about raising your own family? Yeah, you started with loads of enthusiasm. You did not mind the morning sicknesses when you had to evict almost your intestines because the new tenant in your life can’t stand water. Remember those dreams when you held a silent wistful conversation with your unborn child? I did, endless nights when I planned endless outings together just me and the child. It didn’t matter whatever sex, I was positive we were going to be the best of friends forever.
I remember infancy, the sleepless nights, feeling the anxiety of every ache, learning to croon to a child who was in pain and you had done everything. Doctors, nurses and your husband all assuring that the angel was going to be okay but your heart still raced.
You imagined all types of scenarios each one terrifying and then he closes his eyes and you notice he is sleeping and smiles in his sleep. You take a deep breath and utter thanks.
Do you remember school days? When you wondered why the teachers are determined to make your son think of you as some kind of idiot. I mean how could they call that subject mathematics for goodness sake? Those figures are for men planning to go to the moon. Your son takes pity on you and explains to you. Then you fall in love with him and quietly visit a teacher to give you private lessons, so you could help him with his homework. You get another education.
You have become used to being the center of his world until that world shatters when he starts talking about ‘her’. His eyes have a glow that signals the beginning of the end of the love affair. He is on his way out of the nest now.
Is it going to be an honourable retirement or is it going to be a stormy one?
Our children are offspring of a lot of combinations but most significantly, they are guests in our lives. We are guests too of the Creator in His Creation. That has nothing to do with whatever religion we pretend to have.
As parents, we have a set of rules we are to abide by, teach the child the working manual for creation and place him there capable and ready. Do we understand that bit? Teach, prepare and allow the child to get on with his own life? That is the job description really and there comes a time we are expected to retire as a parent.
Our success or otherwise is how much we have prepared the child. We note that the emphasis is on the preparation to live as a separate entity, not as an extension of ourselves.
What happens today?
The young man is no longer a child, but we don’t see that, we plan for him, call all our friends hunting for the elusive job for him, we plan the girl he is to marry, run his own household for him, in fact, we might even plan his thoughts for him.
At what point do we retire as parents and allow our children to get on with the business of being viable member of the community of Earth dwellers?
I am not done yet, I will be back.
We are continuing with our series on sexual violence as we chat about sexual abuse of children.
Do you watch the news? Remember the doctor who by the last count had sexually assaulted more than two hundred young people from as young as six. These children were under his charge as gymnastic doctor
What did you feel? when an enraged distraught father made a lunge for him. Okay, he was sentenced to more than a hundred years, but what about the damage to the children? These stories come to us almost daily.
You hear of children sexually abused, and do you sigh or just change the channel so you could watch a less disturbing story. How much have we lost that which makes us human even as we rush to our concept of civilization? We all talk about the freedom to express, freedom to be whatever sexual deviant we fancy.
Excuse me while I breathe the foul air of what our freedoms have done to our essential humanity. I am not an activist screaming equality for one vice or the other.
Let us take a look around and ask ourselves what type of world do we really truly live in, and what type of humans are now being incarnated into the world.
I am not interested in changing the world order, but I ask questions and I wonder. Let us read about Folake and her story.
‘I always wanted to be a doctor, not because it was the usual thing girls of my age expressed while in primary or secondary school. There was even a song that children sang and we would shake our waists in the moonlight as we all told our listeners our future ambitions. Even when I got admitted into the secondary school, I was clear about wanting to be not just a doctor but a cardiologist. I faced my studies really seriously and maintained an academic level that encouraged my parents that I really wanted more education.
Disaster struck in my third year in secondary school when Mr. Galadima came in as the Physics teacher. I was a science student and actually loved the subjects. I had maintained pretty good grades and maybe that was what got the unwelcome attention of my Physics teacher. My hand would shoot up every time in class, so he took notice. I didn’t understand the looks he would shoot my way until one evening at prep when he sent for me.
I innocently responded to his invitation that he wanted me to get him something from the physics lab. I got there and kept searching for what he had asked me until a pair of hands grabbed me from behind and spun me into his arms with such force that I almost screamed in fright. He covered my mouth with his hands and held me tightly. I was terrified. Mr. Galadima tried to calm me down by running his fingers all over me and kept saying I should calm down. He kept apologizing and said he had asked me to come to the lab because he wanted to talk to me in private.He said he had fallen in love with me I was an unformed 14-year-old.
I was tense in those masculine circle he had made with his hands and I felt my heart was going to jump right out of my body. It was beating so loudly. He kept pinching my breasts as I squirmed to get out of his reach. Then he begged me to kiss him. I had never been kissed so I gave a horrified no and tried to fight free. There was thus a silent struggle as I tried to duck from under his arms. He smelt awful and had bad breath as he roamed his face all over me. I was by now sobbing and doing everything I could to be free. I was scared that he was going to do something awful. Mercifully I heard the principal asking who was in the physics labaQuick as lightning, he pushed me under the table with a fierce whisper for me to stay still as he raised his voice , telling the principal that he had come to pick his lesson notes. He stepped out and went on the inspection with the principal.
I crept out and ran to the hostel, fetched water and scrubbed away at my painful unformed breasts. I did not go to my physics class the next day, and from then on failed my physics test. I lived in silent terror of being touched by a man because I always felt dirty.
Years later when almost forty I married. Of course, I never became a doctor as I moved away from science subjects. My principal would look at me and sigh. He would ask me if there was anything that bothered me. He used to say I was one of his brightest students. Each time I tried to say something, I would remember mum saying in real bitterness ‘Never put your trust in man, there are more like pigs’ she always ended the sentence with distaste.
I am four times divorced woman now. Gave up on the idea, my second husband did all he could to stop me cringing each time he touched me.
I never liked physics again and I keep wondering what I will do if I ever set my eyes on Mr. Galadima.
I decided this year to do something more on my website. I will be dedicating a day in the week to talking about issues on rape, the survivors, the problems, and quite a lot of things. I did try to bring the programme on the radio but have not been able to raise the necessary funding to make that work.
What is the Survivor series about?
I started it last year when I started sharing stories of rape and the rationale and madness. I use the word rationale for a reason. We say every madness or illness comes about for a reason. I intend this year to use my writing to raise awareness about this issue. At least I can afford this website and maybe with your help, we can make this awareness be helpful somehow to someone out there who may feel comforted or supported.
Yesterday, I was chatting with a group of young women, we all saw ourselves as aspiring poets. We chatted and the talk drifted to Feminism, is it a good thing? Should a woman be submissive in order to show that she is obeying the injunction of the pastor who every Sunday exhorts wives to be submissive to their husband? A question popped into my consciousness, will it be fair to ask a woman to be submissive to a lout and a rapist?
It is still a question that I am asking, where is the rationale for submission to such a human being? A young lady said with a firmness at that gathering that at least 7 out of 10 women in the country has been a victim of sexual abuse, assault and/or rape at least once before the age 60. Statistics? It can’t be proved because how many women actually report the embarrassment?
The quiet girl sitting beside me asked with an underlying anger in her voice, ‘who was going to take a girl reporting rape seriously’ She said the first thing the authorities will do is look at the girl and put her on the bench as an accused person. We generally see the victim of rape as the guilty party and deny the act of rape, even sometimes insisting the assault as the fault of the victim.
I would like from now on to borrow from Bobby Uttaro’s book ’TO THE SURVIVORS’ that a victim is more appropriately a survivor of the assault.
The world is now awash with stories of rape, sometimes culminating in the murder of the victim. Some of us may still remember the heart-rending story of the 9-year-old Pakistani girl raped, sodomized, tortured, killed and dumped on dump site like she was garbage.
My heart boils and I am sickened just reading such stories. Where do we go from here? A CCTV recording indicated that the heinous rape and murder was done by a full grown male.
Here in Nigeria, we hear tales of rape, violence, and sexual abuse from practically every village. If you a subscriber to my site, you probably read the story of the lady who was raped by her uncle on the farm. It scarred her for the rest of her life. An update to that was that she has died and the husband also died a few weeks ago too.
What happened to her? How did she die? Was she able to have some closure before she died? I am never going to get answers to that now. It is her story and some others that have impelled me to find whatever means I can to be a sounding board for survivors of this blight on the human story.
I hope you will be part of this experiment. There are assured confidentiality if you send your story. I am not an agony aunt, but we will share your pain, hope others will offer guides, support, and advice that may serve as some anodyne to your pain.
We will talk again next week on this subject.