“.. I saw a guy break a bottle and told me to cooperate, I struggled and fought but they stabbed me, pushed me down and did all manner of things to me. I begged and begged; they all took turns on me until they were satisfied..”
A week ago the entire world was greeted by the horrific gang rape story from India. A young lady was gang raped and thrown off a moving bus. Sadly, she died in a Singaporean hospital over the weekend. May her soul rest in peace.
Back here in Nigeria, the initiator of the EvictRapeAfrica project, Mr. Treasure ‘Teekay’ Kalu had an interview with a 30 something year old lady who was sexually assaulted from the age of 10 till she was 20 something. She happens to be a follower of our Twitter handle, @EvictRapeAfrica. A couple of weeks ago, she sent us a Direct Message that she would love to share her story with us. For convenience, we had to schedule an interview via the BlackBerry Messenger (BBM). For about three hours, Treasure engaged Sarah Jones (not her popular name; for the sake of privacy) who bared her heart.
Here’s the excerpt:
Treasure: Thank you Sarah Jones for granting us audience.
Sarah: No problem, I appreciate the opportunity to share my story with the world. I have longed for such an opportunity.
Treasure: Tell us about yourself.
Sarah: I am Sarah Jones. I’m in my late 30s, I studied at the Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU). I currently work with the Local Government Secretariat, I bake and I reside in Lagos.
Treasure: Can you tell us your story?
Sarah: It all started at the age of 10. My family had a houseboy who should be in his 20s then. He started touching and fondling me whenever my parents were not around. Eventually it graduated to having sex with me. This continued for several months without the notice of my parents.
Treasure: That means you lost your virginity at the age of ten.
Sarah: Sadly, Yes!
Treasure: Didn’t your parents ever had a clue to all these assaults and didn’t you report the incidence?
Sarah: Never! They never did and I couldn’t find the courage to tell them because the houseboy used to threaten me severely that if I told my parents, he would deal with me.
Treasure: What other experience have you had?
Sarah: There are alot more to share, the question is, can you handle them? When I was in JSS 1 in the high school, my father’s friend assaulted me several times. He was a very close family friend, so my parents never suspected him. He started by caressing me. He was a muslim Alfa and was quite diabolic. Each time he wanted to assault me, I would hear him muttering incantations. One day, while I was asleep, I felt a hand caressing me; when I opened my eyes, it was him. I tried to scream but he held my mouth and started muttering some incantations. All of a sudden, I became as calm and helpless like a zombie. He finally had his way that day, he had sex with me. My parents never knew about it; I was dying inside.
Treasure: It is really surprising that throughout these experiences, your parents never took note.
Sarah: Yea! Infact, at a time, I began to develop hatred for them especially my father.
Treasure: Are there other experiences you would like to share?
Sarah: Yes! My story is really a messy one. Let me share more if you can still endure it. I was gang raped two times. It happened through people I trusted and called friends. We attended the same SSCE Extra mural lessons. I was quite close to one of the guys. One day, he invited me to his house that we should just gist. As I sat in the living room, I noticed two of his friends came in. We all started gisting. My friend later called me in to see something, I trusted him, and so I had no cause to be apprehensive. He started showing me his photo album, sooner than later; the light went off, my mouth was gagged. Oh! It was too late for me; I remember I was on my period that day. They made me do all sorts of things. I was slapped, beaten and told to cooperate. My clothes were all stained; It was as though I should disappear. After they had had their fill, my friend started apologizing. I hated myself that day.
I couldn’t go back to that extra moral lesson for about 3 months but I eventually had to go back and face my shame and fears. The trio came to me, prostrated and started pleading. I told them that I had forgiven them.
Treasure: That was really horrific!
Sarah: Yes, it was! That one was even better than the second incidence which could have taken my life. In that same extra mural lesson, there was a guy that was asking me out. He used to be my friend before he started wooing me. I told him “No!”
I used to sell some stuff then. On a particular day, I left during classes to go show a friend the wares I was selling. By the time I returned, I couldn’t find my friend with whom I left my bag. On my way to look for her, I went James, I can never forget that name; though I may not recognise him if we met today. He told me he saw my friend Dorothy with my bag and that he can take me to where she was. (He was a student of Yaba Tech at that time). I anxiously followed him. He called a friend of his and asked him about Dorothy. It was all a lie; I never knew they were strategizing. We were walking inside a quiet estate. The time was 8pm; my lessons used to close by 9pm. All of a sudden, I saw a guy break a bottle and told me to cooperate, I struggled and fought but they stabbed me, pushed me down and did all manner of things to me. I begged and begged; they all took turns on me until they were satisfied. Infact, I don’t know how I didn’t die that day.
After everything, I got up; my clothes were torn and stained with mud. They all mocked me and made jest of me. I cursed them in my pain as I was crying. By the time I got home, my parents were already searching for me. They noticed the mud stain and asked what happened, I started crying. I told them I was raped. All of my family members got to know. But only my mum knows about the first gang rape. The next day, I was taken to the hospital. The doctor asked me if I was a virgin when it happened. I started crying. He excused my mum, I told him about the first gang rape, he started crying too. He called my mum in and told her everything but told her not to disclose it to my dad. Till today, my dad doesn’t know about the 1st gang rape and both of my parents don’t know about all the other assaults.
Treasure: Didn’t your parents make any efforts to apprehend the culprits?
Sarah: My dad wanted to get them arrested initially but later gave up the idea.
Treasure: What were the resultant impact of these horrific experiences?
Sarah: I became very rebellious to my parents, I attempted suicide several times but I was saved. That’s the story of my life dear; men have been my worst nightmare. I once vowed never to get married but it has been God who has helped me and healed me. I still have the scar of the stabbing those guys gave me. I had relationships but I always terminated them because I kept seeing all men as the same. That’s why I told you the other day that I’m afraid to get married; the mess in my life is too much. Which man will be able to stick with me? Tell me!
Treasure: There is a Boaz out there prepared just for you.
Sarah: Is it a crime to trust your friends? All the people that did this to me were people that I knew very well. I thank God because He used it all to shape my life, I have found true love in God. Most of my tweets are based on lessons I have learnt in life from my mess which has now become a message to the world.
Treasure: God is a specialist at making great messages out of our mess.
Sarah: Yes indeed!
Treasure: This is quite personal, I hope you don’t mind. Did you struggle with any form of addiction as a result?
Sarah: I don’t! God is telling me to pour it all out that someone out there needs it to heal fast. Yes! I struggled with a couple of addiction. I wanted to get the memories out of my head, so I gave smoking a trial, I started smoking in JSS. I drank lots of spirits too. I remember I was going to start getting addicted to drugs, so I started by trying my hands on sleeping pills, I took overdose, just to make me forget and sleep away. I also got addicted to masturbation and pornography. I didn’t see any dignity in myself again, so I decided to be a bad girl. I pushed all guys away even those who really cared about me. My last relationship was in 2007. I also tried to seek solace in married men, I felt there was nothing to lose. Lastly, I also became addicted to hurting myself with sharp objects. I used needles to pinch myself until I saw blood spilling out and I felt a bit of pain. Sometimes, I sewed my hand too and at other times, I will put my hand in the fire just to feel pain. I was already used to pain. There was a time I wanted to try weed (marijuana) but I never saw one or got anyone to give me any until I got into the university. I smoked it once while in the university, a close friend found out and had a serious quarrel with me for it. I had to discontinue because of him, I just stuck to cigarette.
Treasure: Tell us how you pulled out of the hold of these experiences?
Sarah: I am a book waiting to be read. It wasn’t easy like I told you. I never had a good relationship with my dad and brothers because I saw all men as the same. I blamed myself, hated myself and I wanted to die but God said “No!” What doesn’t kill you, will only make you stronger.
My help started the day I asked God to come and help me, He did, He healed me one day at a time and I’m still in the healing process. I once asked God why He allowed me go through that much. He said because He wants to use me as a healing balm. It takes someone who has been through an experience to properly counsel a person going through a similar experience. In the midst of all the hell I went through, I lost my younger sister at the age of 25. That experience almost killed me but at the end, it made me fearless.
Treasure: Wow!! This is really really touching. What are your comments about the EvictRapeAfrica project?
Sarah: When I first noticed the project on the internet, God told me that was my opportunity. That was why I followed your Twitter handle immediately and tweeted at you. It’s a great initiative!
Treasure: You have had an opportunity to interact with our volunteer psychologist, how would you describe your experience with her?
Sarah: It was an opportunity I have been craving to have for quite a long time. She received me warmly. We have fixed an appointment at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) for early 2013.
Treasure: I’m glad to hear that.
Sarah: OMG! You brought back alot of painful memories, I can’t believe I’m all in tears but it’s all good.
Treasure: I’m so sorry dear.
Sarah: It’s okay! Sometimes the tears are needed.
Treasure: What advice do you have for parents and guardians out there?
Sarah: Mothers especially should be mindful of who they allow to hang around their kids. They shouldn’t leave their kids anyhow with just anybody. They should educate their kids about sexuality from an early age. They should teach their kids how to speak out whenever anybody tries to violate them. Lastly, they should cover their kids in the place of prayers, these times are terrible.
Treasure: Thank you Sarah! What advice would you give to ladies out there who have been sexually abused?
Sarah: They shouldn’t bottle the experience, they should speak out or else it will be destroying them bit by bits. They should give their pain to God. The violated should forgive the offenders. They should go for counselling also. They should let go and let God. They should never see themselves as trash but as treasures. You will never be healed until you use your pain to heal someone else.
Sarah: The stigma may always be with you but you have an option either to do something positive or negative about it. I remember in my SSCE, the essay I wrote was “I wish this stigma never stuck with me.” I told my story and at the end i wrote, “a true life story.” I passed that exam in flying colours.
Treasure: Speak to the men out there since they are mostly the offenders.
Sarah: Men should be very careful of what they do to ladies because karma is always hanging around the corner. They need to realise that God never sleeps; He will avenge those who maltreat the defendless. Men who rape ladies should be castrated I tell you! Having forceful carnal knowledge of a woman is as good as killing her.
Treasure: What are your final words?
Sarah: To everyone out there who has been abused or raped, I want to say let go and let God because He’s the greatest healer.
Treasure: Thank you so much Sarah for sharing your story with us. I look forward to a time when this experience and solutions will be articulated in a best-selling book. May God continue to uphold you. Do keep your dreams alive, there are better days ahead. I also pray that God will send the right man your way in Jesus’ name!
Sarah: Amennn! Thank you for your audience and thanks for not blaming me. I trust God for better days ahead. He knows what I have been through and He knows I’m a fighter that doesn’t give up.
What a touching story! Would you want to leave any message for Sarah? Kindly drop it in the comment box below, she’s sure gonna be reading this. If you would want us synergize with this initiative in any way, kindly contact us through any of the media stated in our contact page.