How do I deal with this pain that floods my heart? Who do I speak to? No, speaking cannot even numb this pain. I am broken. Within and without. I am damaged goods. I am no longer worthy of care, or pity, or, even, help. My heart bleeds, it bleeds out misery, shame, frustration. I feel dirty, angry and depressed all at the same time. My mind has been twisted. My nervous system no longer knows ease. A single touch and I break down. Can anything save me? No, I don’t think so. Killing myself will surely bring an end to this misery, but I can’t bring myself to doing it. ‘What could have happened to this girl? Why does she speak in this manner?’ you may ask. You won’t understand, but I will still tell you.
My mother died when I was seven and I am so sure, that my father saw that as a right of way. The blockade was finally gone. He was mourning through me, he said, when he would tell me to sit on his lap and start touching me there. He was letting go of the pain, he said, when he put his thing inside. I was just seven, I let him. I helped him chase away his sorrows, in my mind, while draining it into my heart. It wasn’t until I was twelve, in my first year of secondary school, the fact that what was happening to me was wrong glared in my face. They had given us sex education. They said the best thing to do was speak out, but I promise you my mouth was tied with chains, of the strongest metals, my throat was tied up into a ball, and my vocal box, it was nowhere to be found.
I went home that day and let out a river of tears. But wait! Where would I go? Who else did I have? I didn’t have any fancy nice uncles or aunties and helpers who could take me in. I only had my father. Besides, I couldn’t bear the shame of telling my friends and becoming the object of pity of the whole school. My name would no longer be Tinuke, it would be Victim. So, I strived to keep my name. I let my father have me. I let him break me more and more. That was the only option. What would you do? Don’t tell me you would run away, ‘cause that’s a lie! Your mind would be twisted. Where would you go?! You’d stay. You’d remain there.
My periods first greeted me when I was thirteen, six years after I had first had sex. This meant I could have children. Children for my father. I was terrified. Where would I get the money for birth control? How would I tell my father to use a condom, for physical abuse came with the sex. The first abortion was so wrecking for me, but after the fifth one, it was normal for both of us. My doctor was very fond of me, so fond of me, that he even saw beauty in my shattered body and decided to taste some of the forbidden apple, every time I went to meet him.
I dreamt, every day, of the day when a prince charming would come and rescue me from this bondage. But it was only a dream. The first day after my wedding, my father came to my house. He said he’d missed me and he did it again. He kept coming like that while my husband was at work. I couldn’t possibly speak of such a thing to my husband. Like I said before, my mouth was tied with the strongest metal chains. I tried to escape him by always finding something to do with friends, always filling my day with activities, but even outside, I was sexually assaulted. What is wrong with me?! Do I have a poster on my forehead that says ‘I want it, come and get it’? Does my face invoke men’s libido? Are my clothes too tight? Is my body too attractive? I don’t even know anymore. I am so torn!
I thought I had experienced it all, but my eyes had not yet seen the worst. My husband had gone on a business trip so he left me alone in the house. My father was already seemingly tired of my worthless body so I felt I was safe. Just a feeling. Not the reality. My husband’s friends came to pay me a visit, rather pay my body a visit. Five of them. I was at unease immediately I saw them walk in. Life had taught me to expect the most horrible possibilities. They asked me to serve them some beer. I did, and in their drunken state, they had turned into monsters. I was pinned to the ground and taken from the men from different angles. I had never experienced such excruciating pain in my life before and I promise you, in that moment I wanted, so badly, to die.
And now, I am going to. These pills, as prescribed for me by a quack pharmacist, are for very serious insomnia. He said one was effective enough daily, but in my hand, I have 10. I want to kiss the world goodbye forever. I want to end the pain and shame that encompasses my soul.
I close my eyes, awaiting the most crucial visitor, Death. I can feel it closely taking me, slowly carrying me to nirvana. I am in a tunnel now, a tunnel filled with screams of pain. A tunnel filled with tears, but alas, I see a light! A blinding light which guides me, leads me away from the pain. I am finally in nirvana. I hear music, the most soothing music and I find myself dancing and laughing. I hardly did that on earth. I hear a voice telling me it’s not my fault, telling me I’m not worthless. I start crying, but this time, tears of joy.
The light starts dimming slowly and soon, it’s totally gone. I feel myself being pulled back into the darkness and I find myself on earth, on a bed, in a hospital, with my husband crying by my side. ‘You should have told me.’ He wails. ‘I couldn’t. I just couldn’t.’ ‘We will scale through this. Together.’
PAULY D. O
This was written by my younger sister, Oyindamola Depo- Oyedokun. It’s important that you know you are not worthles. You do not deserve to have your heart and body go through agonising pain. Please speak out if you are a victim of rape. We are here to lovingly listen to you because we know it is in no way your fault. You are loved and valued. You have to believe that. IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT!!!0