As a young girl, my mother taught me that virginity is a pride to be held to high esteem. I lived through my teenage years with this belief in my consciousness and sub-consciousness. Except for my siblings, I was wary of all boys around. My acquaintances who happened to be boys could only be that - acquaintances.
The ultimate plan was to wait for that magical period of marriage before the dear husband would touch me. Being a virgin afforded me a sense of pride, and I kept the rule even into my 20s.
In my golden 20s, relationships did not come easily, my prince charming was taking his time. It was awful as I was disappointed by men repeatedly but there was not much ado. I remained my virgin self and bragged about it to close friends while waiting patiently for the magical night. I socialised a lot and had some major fun, sex was just a no no. They say life's pin-balls sometimes knock you around, if only I was warned before hand on December 25, 2006, I would have traveled home for the holidays.
I fell ill and almost bedridden when a guy strolled into our house just outside the campus. He found me ill and offered to get me drugs and food. He was a past 'toaster' that I had forgotten about, but mysteriously I found him in my house on that fateful day. I was comforted, at least someone was helping me to do my running around while I recuperated. He did quite a lot for me for all of a week leading to the new year, and I became much better. I thought God had sent an angel to me, but he wasn't going to do all that work for nothing, typical Naija guy.
He took advantage of my condition, being weak and alone, he raped me. Yes, he did raped me. After nursing me back to health, he came like a lion one hot afternoon on the 8th day, tore my clothes and stripped me naked. He pushed and shoved me onto a flat mattress on the floor and hit my head against the wall, Gbam! In that space, I thought I had fainted until I hear the tearing of my pants and he unbuckled his belt and removed his trousers. I screamed, rolled and moaned in wriggling pain thinking someone would come and save me. No one was around. Nobody could save me. Now I’m going to die. Words like that kept racing through my brain while the pain narrowed down my spine.
Reality dawned on me that this mentally derailed boy is taking away my pride! My virginity! My life! My quartz of an inestimable value! How could it be? Oh Allah!
Please come to my rescue and do not be quiet while I die. I have been keeping this for too long and only for this unfortunate boy to take it from me forcefully. Would I ever look at him again the way I’ve been. He was supposed to be a friend, a care-giver, an angel. Gosh!
Minutes went by, minutes but all seemed like a year. I wanted it to be over with and probably stab the guy or do something. I always thought there was no difference between sex and rape until that moment, I realized I was so wrong. There is a great difference. One is from the heart while the other is animalistic. They are different.
This was a guy that came in the previous night to check on me. We had talked and I slept off, all to wake up around 5:30 a.m. to pray subhi and noticed he slept in my room, on the carpet. At first, I was impressed, this guy really cared about me. And all of a sudden he had turned into an animal.
Why are human beings like this? I was already impressed with all the care and attention he had showered me, maybe he could have been the husband I had been waiting for. Maybe if he took some more time, we might have a story together, a history, maybe, just maybe..... . How? why? and what actually got over him to rape me only to start begging me after the deed was done. I started to weep, he was weeping quietly too, begging me and enticing me with all sorts of material things. Said he didn't know what came over him. Nothing can be compared to what I had lost forever. The guy was so wicked, evil and heartless.
My mouth suffered from both dysentery and diarrhea at the same time because words just kept coming out. I sent him out of my room, then I managed to stand up and saw blood stains on me, the bed-sheets were stained too. I was weak, famished and went straight down, could not stand up again. I vowed that day never to have anything to do with a man again. I hate men now and not even thinking of marriage.
I have not set my eyes on the guy ever since, he could be dead or alive I really don't care. I left everything to Allah as He pleases. Am healed emotionally, physically and mentally, this just leaves a dent on one's soul and an indelible mark on the heart. No woman, lady or girl should ever go through this. It is a sad hopeless experience. I felt worthless for years.
I pray all rape victims find inner peace and the ability to go on with life meaningfully. I also pray the authorities find a way to apprehend those culprits. We all need to speak up, these cases are real.
Zainab works for an NGO on Women's
Rights and Empowerment.