SEXUAL ASSAULT & RAPE | Speak up!!!

SEXUAL ABUSE

Okay, I was watching the BBC a few days ago when I heard a report that nearly many young girls in the country are being raped by their relatives exposing these little girls to all sort of hard life and diseases. Imagine the number of rape cases growing every day with a high percentage of them remaining unreported for the sake of “protecting image”. I even saw footage of a very young child who couldn’t walk anymore because she has been raped severally! Currently, the country has declared emergency over rape and sexual assault. What is happening? Isn’t the culture of rape thriving in some parts of the world? It is all over the world but the way it happens in Africa is so deadly because many don’t even speak up due to fear!

Before putting this down I was sober, tears were literally rolling down my eyes and I could feel the heaviness of my heart making me lose appetite for the delicious noodles I had wanted to eat. This started happening to me after I listened to the story of a young lady who spent so many years of her life experiencing sexual abuse from her uncle and she couldn’t speak up because she was scared of ruining his image and she was also scared of how the society would see her at the end of it. He Uncle would always tell her “well, if you speak, your image will be ruined and no man will look at you again. Meanwhile, you don’t have any evidence of the rapes.”

Well, she was abused, she was quiet and he simply got away with it, got older and died. After then, she discovered she had HIV and now she is struggling to live with it and if she would ever speak up again she would be accused of victimizing and blackmailing the dead since the dead can’t defend himself. Yes, in the Western world it is possible to still go to court but in the part of the world where I come from, if you ever talk about this, you’ll be accused of trying to blackmail the dead.

It had gotten worse before she would even realize she had HIV and aside from that, she had done several abortions for him just in a bid to protect images, not bring herself to the limelight in a negative way. As much as she would still make the best out of her life, not speaking up has cost her so many things. She lived with her uncle after her parents died and he promised to sponsor her academics and take care of her. His children were all out of the country studying in the best schools in the UK and his wife would be in the house while rape goes on under the nose and she doesn’t notice because she doesn’t even care.

Sometimes we hear things like “Karma surely pays back” but sometimes waiting for Karma will mean putting ourselves in more danger. As far as I know, this world isn’t fair and sometimes justice won’t just happen if you don’t seek it. Sometimes every day will be for the thief and there is no day for the owner. The owner keeps waiting for his day but that day never comes.

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I have come across several female friends who narrate one sort of story or another! It pains me most when I realize they aren’t even doing anything to put a stop to it! I understand though because I have been there. Although I am a guy, I have had some shared experience of what it means and feels like to be abused by a supposed higher power! I wouldn’t want to share the story because that it passed but I was sexually abused by homosexuals and the first experience was in my first year in the Junior Seminary School. I was afraid to speak up because I probably had no evidence, I was also afraid because I would create enemies for myself and finally I didn’t want to be summoned and interviewed by the teachers because I was highly introverted.

But I have come to realize that many times the reasons we have been exposed to so many worse situations is because we have refused to speak up. Maybe we just confide in someone but warn them never to speak and we keep harbouring that danger until it gets the best part of us. 70% of the ladies I have spoken with have told me stories of how they were abused by a relative or nearly abused! And some of them have grown up getting so used to it to the point that they keep giving themselves to those people who abused them even when deep down in their heart they hate him and hate whatever he is doing with them but psychologically they have been reprogrammed.

Please, if you experience any kind of abuse from anyone just speak up and shout on top of your voices! Don’t spare anyone whether he is your father or she is your grandmother! Why should you keep tolerating rape just because you are afraid of what might happen next if you speak? Why should you be afraid to shout when he is forcing himself into you just because you don’t want things to turn against you? I understand the complexities of all these things and the fact that the society where we are in will blame a woman for being raped but please don’t give chances and do not die in silence.

Even if you are afraid to talk to your parents about it, look for a matured and older fellow who is friendly and share it with him or her! Look for a very trusted person, maybe your Pastor or a leader in your Church. If possible, look for NGOs and humanitarian organisations that specialize in this kind of cases and open to them. Don’t let anybody discourage you from speaking up no matter who they are.

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It is unfortunate that sometimes parents discover their children are being sexually abused by a relative and they decide to keep it a secret just because they want to protect an image. It is also appalling that parents don’t talk intimately with their children to the point these children can’t open up to them to share their darkest secrets. If you have children, please find a way to discuss with them and know what they are going through. We need to start speaking to children too about the benefits of speaking up when sexually abused; they need to know what sexual abuse is too!

I once received a report from a leader of one of the Children ministries and he revealed to me what he saw in a certain diary of a very little girl. It was about the things she was going through in their house; her own father was sexually abusing her but her mother keeps trying to cover it up so that their name won’t be pushed to the mud! This is the kind of things we see in Africa where it is usually “men’s world”. It would be okay to deal with a woman if she was caught but dealing with a man is out of the talk, it is an insult!

It is heartbreaking to hear about what goes on among priests too! What about the hidden truths of the Vatican that lasted for so many years? In this age, people are still told not to speak if it involves a Pastor. Oh, damn it! Should I start recalling about a young girl who was consistently raped by a Pastor until she got pregnant at 16, gave birth and it was all sealed up by her family and the church so that “image” is protected? Image my foot! I hate to see these things! If I should start pouring out what is in my heart, it would be so long that it can’t be read again but am pained anytime I think about this.

Let me highlight a little on the effects of sexual assault aside from the physical damages it causes which is equally as bad.

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Effect of Sexual Assault and Rape

  1. People who have gone through sexual assault and rape often suffer from traumatic experiences known as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. This happens with constant dreams, hallucinations, flashbacks, anxiety and so other outbursts of emotions. I remember a time I was sexually abused; I rushed to a church and knelt at the altar asking God to help me kill that man. I remember for so many days I felt terrible, dirty and bad. There was never a time I would close my eyes without the experience coming to my thought.
  2. Suicide is a common thought that occurs to people who have been sexually assaulted or raped. You may never know how it feels and I wouldn’t pray for you to be there. People who have been sexually abused often feel at the first instance that they have become useless especially when it is their first experience.
  3. Depression is also a common occurrence to someone who has been abused sexually because there is an extreme feeling of unhappiness and fear. Sometimes this will cause such a person to lose interest in friends and kills their self-esteem.
  4. A sexually abused person may develop a very strong negative perception of life including seeing everyone as an enemy, finding it difficult to trust certain sex, nationality, ethnicity or even relation. A sexually abused person may also develop a strong hatred for certain people that would even lead to thoughts of committing murder. I once had that thought of committing murder and anyone close to me knows the story.
  5. A sexually abused person may develop a strong feeling of guilt and begin to endlessly blame themselves for what happened. They may feel that they never fought too hard especially when they hear kinds of stuff like “if you never wanted it to happen you could have really fought harder. You could have hit him on the head.”
  6. A sexually abused person may develop “self-abandonment” and reckless living because to them they have been “damaged forever”. For instance, a victim of rape may resort to prostitution or just allow themselves to become an instrument of sex. They don’t do this because it is what they want it; sometimes they do it because they have lost hope in themselves. In this way, they get exposed to certain addictions.

There are many other effects not mentioned here ranging from diseases to body damages. Everyone has a role to play in the case of domestic violence in general. Sometimes we hear cases of a wife stabbing the husband or a housemaid stabbing the man and other similar cases including vice-versa cases and we think it just happened! Some of these things are results of unrevealed abuses, some women kill in a bid to defend themselves. These things are real and we must start speaking up.

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I want to say this very clearly. No victim of abuse is the cause of that abuse. Whether a woman decides to dress half nude or not wear anything at all, the blame of rape shouldn’t be placed on her for whatever reason. If you must have sex, there are people willing to give it free or at a little price. Why force it on someone? That people look inviting doesn’t mean you are the one they are inviting. How about boys who are being abused by homosexuals, are they also dressing “inviting”?

The motivation for sexual abuse is the feeling of superiority and feeling that one can have anything he desires the way he desires it. There are people who are too weak to even fight sexual assault and if they never fought hard it doesn’t mean they gave their consent. How do you want a little child to fight it? How do you want a minor to fight it?

Please, we need to start building an enabling and comfortable environment that can encourage people to speak up! If you are going through any kind of abuse, please speak up. If you don’t know who to talk to, talk to me and I will connect you to people who will ensure you get justice!

Don’t keep it to yourself, speak up!
Don’t keep your story a secret, share it!
God bless you!

~ George O.N

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