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Please what should I say to her? Rape 2

She looked at me puzzled. I stared back in shocked surprise. Elegantly dressed, a lawyer and very incisive in her comments.
‘When you look at me, you assume I have got the best of both worlds right?’
I nodded wondering what was coming and unprepared for her next sentence
‘I wish I have the nerve to kill myself, that is after I have killed him’
I asked her softly why she wanted to kill anybody in the first place including herself
Then she talked.
At nine years old, she was not sure she was going to get an education at all. Her mother was one of three wives and her father had declared that the wives were to look after the girls they had given birth to.
‘He called us apprentice witches who had taken after our mothers’
The women did the best they could either appealing to their own siblings, eking out something from their petty trade. According to Yemi, there wasn’t much to expect from her mum so her uncle was called to help.

‘ the First day on the farm, he asked me to come to the pepper patch I understood what he did then as some form of sexual assault. He had not progressed to actual rape. He said he liked me and if I kept my head, he would ensure I had a fair deal in his house. I was too awed by his big frame and his armpits smelled awful. I slept badly that night.
Next morning, he took me off to the local authority school and registered me in kindergarten one. I was almost 10 years old. The teachers taught I was a joke. Most of my classmates in a kindergarten class could speak better than me. I was the class giraffe, the fool, the errand idiot. They laughed but I was silent. I was finally in school. My mum was over the moon and she thanked her brother over and over again.
‘Two weeks of school, Uncle got drunk and I got my first rape’. Yemi went on talking in a matter of fact voice as if she was giving the facts and potentials of the case she was about to defend in court.
My heart sank as I listened, what was I going to do? Nothing much I realized as I listened to a woman who had learned to keep her own counsel and had in some fashion maybe come to some peace.
As she got older, she was able to run away and come to the city. Yemi read privately as an external student to do her WAEC. She got a job as a cleaner in one of the banks and gradually went for more courses and was able to pay her way to read the law.

She never told her mum about the pepper patch rapes. She said she did not see what good that would serve. It was payment for the opportunity to be able to read and write.
Her mother passed away when she was in 300 level in the university. When she met Bayo, she went through the motions of an excited bride and was relieved when she got pregnant. But still had nightmares of the rapes
She had a perfect excuse to keep the physical side of their relationship to the barest minimum. She had also learned to control her rages
‘I did not like all that romance stuff he was into, did not like undressing, did not want any male looking at my body so I was happy being a born-again wife. However I had developed a crazy mannerism, I would bathe at every opportunity and would perfume my body all over. If Bayo touched me I would go stiff as a board and freak out. At first, Bayo found it amusing and thought I was just shy’
‘You never told him about your uncle’?
‘Are you mad? First, he will not believe me, then that look will come into his eyes and he will watch you every minute, or he will start asking you every tiny detail wondering or teasing that you probably enjoyed even a tiny bit of the rape’.

So what do you want to do? I asked when the silence was beginning to stretch
‘Bayo wants to visit my uncle to thank him for the education, If I lay eyes on that uncle, I will have to kill him and then kill myself to stop the torture of years and misery. Will you get someone to stand for my child?’
Please, what should I say to her?

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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.

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Prodigal son? Blood Contract

Ken stood silhouetted against the setting sun. He was alone in the boat as the lagoon took on the color of the red sun, making the waters look almost metallic. He was contemplating paying his father a visit and suddenly he had become unsure. Questions needed to be answered. He could not hold back anymore and the one person who could give him some of the answers was a few meters away. His hands shook as he tried to calm his nerves.
There was a small sardonic smile playing across his lips. It was time to take a look at the wounds, time to come face to face with his ghosts and why he had left. Why he had promised himself he was never coming back. He needed to make peace with his father if not with himself. He remembered the bitter arguments, his sense of not being good enough for his father. He remembered Douglas and he felt some pain that no one had ever made any attempt to reach out to him.

It was a tough place to have dreams. He had wanted to further his education and he knew his father was not going to be able to cope with the payments. He had been grateful for the secondary education he got. He was not about to just sit down in the place, getting married, have babies, and be a fisherman. His whole soul had rebelled against such a future.
It was not therefore too surprising when he followed the boys to do some small oil bunkering. The first time he got paid he was stunned at making such easy money. He had instinctively kept that business from his father. But being a young man he could not resist buying a few things that was more than his income as a fisherman could fetch him.
His father had asked probing questions and he thought he had succeeded in deceiving him until one evening he came home to find his father in his room, a cold implacable look on his face, and his wad of currency in his hand. There was nothing left to do than to confess what he had been doing. He expected anger but not the blistering rage of the old man.

He still felt disbelief at the blazing words, stating that no son of his was going to be a coward and refuse to stand and fight.
“I can’t see much of any fight with you Papa,” he had taunted back. “No money, no food and I try to do business and you call me a thief.”
There had been the silence.
“Bravery has nothing to do with stealing oil from the creeks. A thief is a thief no matter in what clothes you dress it.”
He had yelled back in his own pain, “I have not stolen anything, just taken what belongs to me.”
“Who allocated stealing to you, Kenawari?”
“Papa!”
“Get out; you have a smell I don’t want around here.”
He had yelled back that he was getting out and was never coming back, that he would make good and his father was going to regret calling him a thief. That was when he made contact with Elias and left the village a few days later. Papa never spoke to him from that night. He never went back to the business, for it had served the purpose he wanted. He never called home.

Ken had not seen Ebijor either or connected with her until the night of his return. He had kept her in his mind for years, knowing he needed to explain his abrupt departure. Knowing the culture of his people, he knew she would have been married off after a time. He wondered if she had resisted or simply accepted his apparent desertion and shrugged her shoulders and settled down to married bliss. He had wondered if she understood about love. He could not sleep at nights as he imagined her in someone’s arms and he was racked by jealousy. A dangerous jealousy he knew, for she belonged to another man. Someone the rest of the community would defend if he tried anything funny. He had also not known about Douglas. He had assumed the silence had been in obedience to their father. He needed time to take a look at that piece of information.

Ken had stalked the markets hoping to catch a glimpse of Ebijor, but she seemed to have suddenly voluntarily imprisoned herself. He was not about to ask anyone questions. Tonbra too had become invisible. He understood, believing she was remorseful about her big mouth and was keeping out of his way with respect. He sighed and started walking along the single plank walkway.

Ken walked past his father’s home deliberately and chose to stop at a point two houses away, because he had not being prepared to find his father sitting outside on an easy rocking chair. He was sure his father had seen him. Ken suddenly lost his nerve. He felt lonely too. That is my father, damn it! You don’t just walk back to fifteen years at the drop of a hat do you? You don’t just wipe out fifteen years of longing, pain, anger and confused thoughts do you? The fact that his father had never enquired after him still hurt, he acknowledged to himself.

Interested readers in Nigeria can now buy copies of BLOOD CONTRACT from thefollowing book retailers:
1.Sunshine booksellers
University of Ibadan
2. The Booksellers(Mosuro Books)
Ring road, Ibadan
3.The Kids Centre
Akure Mall, Akure
4.Toyin Bookshop
Akure
5.Arowolo Bookshop
Akure
6,Seyem Bookshop
Akure
We will update youas more book retailers are added on

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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.

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Woman and other poems….Poetry


Woman
Don’t summarize me as woman
The weak sex
your ornament
bed warmer
house decor
look into my eyes
your fate is written
by the level of appreciation
you give to my spirit
to show you
way home
to the Lights
See me as woman
guided by the streams
of creation
to hold the beams
of Light back home
I am woman
dignified by grace
and enhanced by His Love
to stand as gate to your dreams
I am woman
I may help you
if you know how
to treat me as Woman.

THE RITE OF BECOMING WOMAN
Locked in the rhythm
Of my bloody past
We walk along the paths
Strewn with the pains
Of our tradition

I become woman
Through the red mists
Of the circumciser’s knife
Through the groan of torn flesh
I became a member
Of a bloody clan
That gave me membership
Through the cut of my womanhood
That denies my right
To be creator’s woman

I walk the nights
Feel the morning’s kiss
But stand in swirls of pain
That decides my right
To belong to the clan

Through the mists of pain
I hear his grunt
Of pleasure
Through mists of pain
I must bring forth his seed


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.

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What is that darling?

girl-882336_1280

How modern are we as parents? Really and truly?
Tinu is the executive officer of an NGO “Belfort Place”. She has a daughter called Banke. I am deliberately dispensing with surnames. That way they are private while we talk about them.

Banke is home on an exeat of a day. The mother takes Banke shopping and as they move towards the check out, something drops from Banke’s bag. Tinu had the presence of mind not to react instantly as Bank quickly drops it back in her bag. But for the rest of the shopping, Tinu is distracted. Later during refreshment, conversation ensues
Tinu: Who is he?
Banke: (Very mystified) He?
Tinu: Saw the condom in your bag
Tinu leans back and laughs, but Tinu is about to have a heart attack, never mind that her NGO counsels people on rape and victims.

“Honestly I didn’t know what to make of it, had she become sexually active already? She is only sixteen?”
Tinu had given her mother a look, shrugged and explained that another NGO had come to their school and distributed free condoms to all of them.
Tinuhad a lot to think about, it was an NGO, and the students had been given a talk about sexual activities. Tinu said, she felt suddenly vulnerable about her daughter and was not so sure she welcomed the idea of condom distribution in her daughter’s school. Seriously now, how many of us as parents who claim to be modern really love the idea of that talk? When we shared the event with Tunrayo, she was scandalized and went on and on about NGOs being part of the problem. She was of the view that children should not be told anything until they were well into their first year in University.
“Don’t be a goose Tunrayo said sharply, Olayinka got raped while she was in 300 level and she had been told nothing. If her mother had taken time to talk about sexuality at all, the poor girl would not have gone off to a strange city with her half- brother.

The argument moved from should NGOs be allowed to give sexuality orientation in secondary schools? Notice that my emphasis has been on sexuality and not on sex education. Is there a difference? Sure there is a difference? However the experience today is : what would be your reaction if your girl child has a packet of condom in her bag.
Banke said, she used the condom to let her seniors know of her preferred orientation
That started Tinu off as she asked what was going on in the boarding house for girls?
Banke rolled her eyes and turned to me: “Big Mummy, have you ever heard of feathering”
My throat went dry as I asked what she meant, and she said

When a senior girl is interested in a girl in the school, they ask her to be a friend with benefits. They educate her in what they mean about the benefits. If she refuses to give them the password to her server, they feather her. That means they come round to her bed at night and initiate her. Can you persuade my mum that I do not wish to give anybody right now a password to my server?
Can somebody please educate me further?