Flower (not her real name) was on a routine trip from school in Zaria to Kaduna when she was raped. By a long-time friend, she knew in her church band.
He was in Kano and called her up, asking whether they could see. He was going to Kaduna and offered her a lift.
When they drove into Kaduna, he took a route to his house. He needed to use the bathroom, he said.
Flower waited in the car, even when he asked her to come in for a while. He changed the tactic, asking her to help him unload the yam tubers he had bought on the way.
Flower didn’t see anything wrong and helped.
“After that, he insisted, we rest a while before he drops me at home but I refused and that was when he asked me to kiss him,” she recalls.
“I sensed there will be trouble so I got up and went for the door but he pinned me down. He was so strong and brutal.
“I struggled and shouted but there was no one in the house. He forced his mouth to mine but I refused. He picked me up and spun me around knowing fully well it makes me dizzy.
He pushed me to his bed, tore my pants and forced himself on me.
“While he was raping me, I kept crying and pleading. He got up and looked at me, he said, ‘why are you crying, are you not mature enough to do it. I thought you are enjoying it.”
Those words tormented Flower. The man who raped her was a friend, and his wedding—to another woman—was in two weeks.
Living with rape trauma
Flower wanted to report the incident but her choices of listeners were limited.
And then she needed evidence, which was difficult.
The rapist was a “god-fearing, hardworking and responsible young man” who was preparing for his wedding in two weeks.”
He was loved by his church and society. Reporting to her pastor, his friends or family was out of the question.
Flower would be seen as the femme fatale out to destroy a marriage even before the wedding.
“The church, society and his family will think I want to ruin his wedding, so I decided to stay quiet and deal with the trauma.”
Flower was forced to live with the pain of being raped while her rapist enjoyed his wedding and continued living without having to face the trauma of his act.
“Dealing and living with the trauma after seven years, has been tormenting,” Flower lamented.
“I was so traumatised that I kept asking myself if I was possessed with the spirit of sexual immorality.”
She believed she needed spiritual deliverance, blaming the rape on herself.
“At first I faulted myself that maybe it’s the spirit in me that enticed him to rape me. I was completely at a loss and confused.”
The ugly experience made her query every of her move, her faith and personality afterwards.
“I struggled with myself thinking probably the rapist exploited my weakness as an easy-going person, I started contemplating of becoming hard and not friendly to friends, especially to the menfolk.
“I concluded that all men are the same, so I became very strict, unfriendly and isolated myself from people”
In pain, she revealed she decided to live her life without having any man in it.
“I was so traumatised that I told myself I don’t need any man in my life any longer. I said to myself I can become anything and die without a man in my life.”
Flower while sharing her ordeal said her idea about trusting males, completely changed.
She was forced to build a strong wall against men “especially those that seem too friendly.”
“I always give a second thought before meeting men generally, especially those in church. I scrutinize and suspect any guy I come across before even exchanging pleasantries. I don’t trust them around me anymore.
“I had to be deliberate on healing and living above the pain.” She said.
On things she did to recover from the trauma, Flower revealed that she listened to sermons on love and forgiveness.
“But after I got to know I’m physically fit by going to the clinic for check-ups and test. I decided to let God handle it. My friends too encouraged me with words of consolation and prayers.
“I am healing daily.” She said, smiling.
Rise of rape cases in Nigeria
According to the Nigerian police 717 rape cases were recorded between January and May 2020 alone.
The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu said 799 suspects have so far been arrested while 631 cases have been conclusively investigated and charged to court.
He said 52 cases are still being investigated.
The Police Chief hinted that the cases on record is with central police alone. Borno and Kaduna alone have reported more than 500.
While several rape incidents occurred unreported for obvious reasons of stigma and lack of evidence.
Also, findings by Women at Risk International Foundation on Violence Against Children in Nigeria confirmed, one in four females reported experiencing sexual violence in childhood.
The National Survey carried out in 2014 also revealed that seven in ten females reported more than one incident of sexual violence.
Unfortunately, there are other victims like Flower who haven’t officially reported been violated in Nigeria.
Recall Miss Vera Uwaila Omozuwa, an undergraduate of the University of Benin who was gang-raped and murdered while reading inside a church.
This was followed by a manhunt of 12 men, including a 57-year-old man who on several occasions raped a 12-year-old girl in Dutse, Jigawa State.
Sadly, the daily reports of rape have revealed that Nigeria is facing a rape epidemic with sex maniacs everywhere.
These sex maniacs have metamorphosed into gruesomely murdering their victims after raping them.
What the future holds for the young and vulnerable in Nigeria- is the scary question we should answer.
Flower has decided to forgive her rapist and move forward “although I can’ t ever forget the painful experience.” She stressed.
She is among the few lucky victims who manage to live above the trauma. Some victims end up traumatized, losing their mental stability.
She called for more enlightenment on sex education and rape education.
“Constant sex and rape education must be properly explained and taught even at a tender age, else we will still be experiencing rape every day. Religious place of worship and school should also partake in educating children.
“Parents and guardians must be more conscious of their young ones. They should not ignore the tiniest or silliest signals from their children.” Flower advised.
Flower advised other rape victims to speak out to the person(s) they can trust to help them get better.
“Seek advice from psychologists or person u can trust. Things like rape should not limit u but bring out the best in you to prove that your self worth is above the painful experience.”
For marriage and her future, despite her reservation for the menfolk, Flower is optimistic she will find a good man and build a good home.