>> Monday, June 29, 2009

Dear everyone

First of all. I sincerely thank each and every single one of you for taking time to read my last post and making time to comment. They ALL help. So thank you.
Secondly, I apologize for not being able to get back here sooner and not staying updated on your blogs..I've been so very busy.

I never knew posting about what happened to me would actually make a difference to me, but it really does. You guys weren't kidding o. It really was a big step. I feel like some of the burden has been lifted off my shoulders and I am a bit more convinced that it wasn't my fault. But can you believe that? A bit more convinced. That's how strong the feeling of guilt is ingrained in me.

I want to talk about what rape did to me to shed some more light on the issue.
The guilt is undescribable. You go on living your life like before and from day to day, you don't feel anything. But as I look back I realise how much it all effected me. I am not trying to dramatize, in fact I was trying everything but. But the guilt is just so strong.
You feel so stained. So dirty. So broken.
I asked myself - Who is going to want me now?

I don't know what it would have been like to be raped if I wasn't a virgin. It's just as bad anyway, but somehow I feel like the fact that I was raped when I was a virgin made the whole experience worse. The feeling of loss has been overwhelming. Not even the first years, but later on I realised what I had really lost.
Losing virginity physically isn't the big deal here. It is the mental aspect of it all. My virginity should have belonged to me. It is my right to decide when I want to give it up. I never got to experience that, and it severely fucked up my sexuality. My initial introduction to sex was through violence and force. As a result, sex was very much reduced to a necessary routine to me. Just something that needed to be done. Not something for me.
I'm going to be very candid here, because it is the only way I can make people understand, so forgive me for being explicit.
The first year after I got raped completely secluded myself. I stayed inside mostly - depressed. I focused on other things. I wrote a lot of poetry. I listened to a lot of music. Sometimes, I'd be caught by flashbacks. Very strong, frightening flashbacks. I've supressed a lot of these memories so they don't stand out as very clear, but I remember waking up at night from nightmares and being set back to what happened. The guys face, the guys moves and the whole experience would reinact itself in my head so strong it all seemed real. I would smell his disgusting cologne. I'd sit shaking in the corner of my room.

It did get better.

After a year these flashbacks didn't come as often. I opened up a bit more but still remained closed. I think people sensed this about me and kept away as a result.
I felt unworthy. My confidence was low to say the least. I was very self-conscious. I'd dress in ways to try to make people not notice me as much.
I met my now husband and I think that did change things, but we sure have had a lot of problems because of it. I was broken when I met him. I was afraid and had not healed. Of course this affected our relationship. For me to trust him was not an easy thing and sexually I would struggle. I still do sometimes. By that I mean you would see no physical signs of struggle, but in my mind my head was somewhere else. My head would go back to that day. And after the whole act, I'd start crying. He'd try to comfort me, puzzled at my reaction. He didn't know then, but I've told him now. I put myself in his shoes and realise it is very hard to understand.
It all culminated into one day where I completely broke down and I was hospitalized for 3 weeks. But after that, I think I got it more out of my system

I'm more relentless now. I get annoyed with women who act cheap, dress cheap and behave like hoes. Because they're playing with fire and won't know what hit them the day something wrong might happen to them. The ones who get carelessly drunk and walk home alone. I am a feminist and I think we should be able to dress however we want without having to fear getting raped. But at the same time we need to get real and get responsible.
I struggle to express myself because this issue is so close at home. I fear being misunderstood.

The women I'm talking about are women who have no problems sleeping with men they don't know. Who can throw themselves on men and shows just a bit too much to everyone. I'm sorry, but they DO give some fucked up guys the impression that just having sex anywhere anytime with anyone is just FINE. And it is not.
Assault-rapes are not so common. But rapes between people who actually know each other happens every day.

I guess my point is: YES, ideally we should be able to be free and even act crazy if we want to (even though that is not my thing). It wouldn't affect "normal" guys, but we can't forget there are plenty of predators out there who doesn't care or understand. It's those we need to worry about. No we shouldn't have to shape our lives because of those stupid guys but lets get real.. No matter what we do in the world rape is never going to stop completely. There will always be those crazy guys who are capable of doing it.
Clarification: I am not blaming any girl or any woman for any rape happening out there. We deserve to remain untouched no matter how we behave or dress. BUT there is nothing wrong with taking precautions and use our common sense. We can be in situations where another guy, whether it be our friend, brother or father, won't be there to protect us.

I am not talking about guilt and blame here, simply about being smart and as precautionary as we can.

Talking of guilt, we really need to change the attitude in the population. Even though most people I meet always seem to think rape isn't the victim's fault, there is unfortunately an attitude in people that rape actually is the victim's fault. Many people don't say it out loud and clear, but it's easy to sense. This causes stigmatization. This makes us afraid to stand out and tell our stories. Because we are afraid of what people will think. And this in turn keeps a lid on the whole subject, which makes debate difficult.

I also think we need to make it easier for women to come forth and go to the police if they become a victim of rape. Practices are different in all countries, but here, the examinations you would have to go through are very traumatizing. I don't know it all, but I wish there could be an easier way of getting this done. Of course I understand it's needed for proof, but all this hassle combined with fear just keep girls away from going to the police. I never did. Because I just wanted to pretend it didn't happen, and I was really scared. The guy had threatened he would kill me. It's hard to be strong enough to resist that fear. I wasn't.

Lastly I think it is time us women bring our brothers, husbands and friends into this fight. It is time they fight this too. This battle is not only for us. We are their daughers, sisters and wives. Rape is very common. Men who are capable of it doesn't "look" like rapists. They look normal, have friends and jobs. They may look completely innocent to their friends. I don't know, but I think we just need to make rape even more unacceptable than it already is. Men need to fight this battle together with us. Speak out when you see or hear something wrong. This goes for domestic abuse aswell. I don't think it will solve the problem, but I do think it would help if more men spoke out about how wrong rape is. How unacceptable it is. Defend us. Speak up when they're hanging with the guys.

I no longer have flashbacks. Only a few nightmares in a year. I dress how I want to and I enjoy turning down guys who try to hit me up. I am careful, but myself. I am confident that I can be the woman I've always wanted to be. The rape no longer shapes everything in me, but it is part of who i am today. It's made me who I am today.I have bad days where I feel weak, but it is no longer dominant. And I am going to use it to empower me rather than weaken me. Empower me in the battle against it. I am going to use it against every rapist out there. The one who laughs last laughs best and karma will get your ass one day, mr. Rapist.

Thank you everyone for giving me the strength to realise this and push me another step higher on the road of redemption.

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Sir Scribbles II June 29, 2009 at 1:32 PM  

Okay I'm going out for a bit but I just want EVERYONE to know that I came her first lol! I will comment when I get back...come my space ooo! I bin dey here!!!

Sting June 29, 2009 at 2:03 PM  

I'm glad you are working past the issue and things are getting better. Yay for feminists, we rock.

Good Naija Girl June 29, 2009 at 3:01 PM  

I'm so glad that your followup post is full of glimpses of a woman who is getting past this awful experience and moving forward with life. I'm also glad that your husband was someone who you felt comfortable sharing your experiences with, and he's able to be part of the healing process.

I agree whole heartedly with your advice to women to be careful. I don't think anyone that gets raped is ever "asking for it", and normal guys like you said would not venture further if a woman says no. Unfortunately there are men out there whose heads are not correct, who think a woman's way of dressing, or the fact that she's drunk and saying nonsense is an open invitation. It is because of these crazies that women have to be careful. Just like it's a stupid idea to walk through a bad neighbourhood late at night, flashing your jewelry and/or money, it's a bad idea to dress in a way that might call unwelcome attention to yourself, especially if you know you will be somewhere where crazies reside. It would still not be the woman's fault if, God forbid, she was raped, however I would recommend women try to minize any potential of something like that happening, recognizing that even with every precaution, women can still get raped and violated.

And yes! More men need to be involved in the fight against rape. Even just more open discussion with their friends would be good, bringing the topic up, taking a stand on the matter knowing that it's not only a certain kind of woman who can be a victim.

yinkuslolo June 29, 2009 at 3:42 PM  

As a female myself, I understand how precautionary one has to be. sometimes though, one gets carried away and can fall in the hands sexually forceful men.

We need prayers all the time and I am glad u feel better

doll June 29, 2009 at 3:49 PM  

good to know you are letting it all out...hope it gives you closure

Beulah! June 29, 2009 at 3:58 PM  

Reading this brought tears to my eyes. Nobody deserves to go through this brutal experience. Thank God you've been able to move on...thanks again for sharing

SOLOMONSYDELLE June 29, 2009 at 4:40 PM  

Again, your bravery will give strength to others. I for one applaud and thank you for sharing your story.

A woman's life is very complicated. Some will try to dull the shine that God granted us by verbally, physically, sexually, mentally abusing us. Ultimately, we cannot forget that it is crucial to gather whatever strength we have, and the love we receive from others, to overcome any challenges placed before us.

Reading your story only reinforces that people, men and women, have an inner strength that can be relied on. Sometimes, we have to dig a little deeper to find that strength, but it is there, nonetheless.

As to including men in the fight against sexual abuse - that is a no-brainer. I advocate that women should only marry feminists, personally. Or at least a man who understands/empathizes with the complex nature of a woman's existence. As women, we do have to teach our son's to respect not just a woman's body, but her mind. We have to teach our son's to understand how their actions could potentially affect women. We also have to embolden our daughters. Fathers are crucial in this, I feel. Abeg, let me stop my speech, o jare. Allow space for others to discuss. God bless you my sista. It is the courage you have displayed that changes the world, you know.

Take care.

downtheaisle June 29, 2009 at 5:54 PM  

Babe you are strong, and I am glad u have moved past it.

I agree with you that women have to be more cautious, especially as there are brothers out there that can't just take a NO.

I also agree with GNG's comments, 100%

Severus Snape June 29, 2009 at 6:32 PM  

So touching...thank God you let go.

Afronuts June 29, 2009 at 6:50 PM  

Thank God u've got a blog. How else would u have an outlet to let go?

I feel so much for u...stay cool, u'll be fine. And there will be people who will want u, rape or no rape.

akaBagucci June 29, 2009 at 7:24 PM  

I salute your courage.... It can only help others and raise awareness on the subject......

leggy June 30, 2009 at 12:47 AM  

rape is something i hope never happens to me...its a pity it happened to u and is still happening to peeps out there.

Nana Yaw Asiedu June 30, 2009 at 7:19 PM  

this is not the kind of post i'll post a long comment on. i'm happy about the strength you've discovered. and karma will certainly get his ass!

simeone July 1, 2009 at 12:09 AM  

this makes plenty sense..

Sir Scribbles II July 1, 2009 at 2:10 AM  

Back after 14 comments...

mehn this is really touching u know...ur Hubby is a sure boy...or man lol! Glad u overcame

Lady X July 1, 2009 at 4:10 AM  

Good on you!
You're an inspiration. More grease to your elbow. Can't remember ever saying that to anyone- 'You're an inspiration'

aloted July 1, 2009 at 12:34 PM  

hmmm loved reading this...and u have raised some valid points...

I agree that the men in our lives should join in our fight...it would go a long way...

Also i am glad to know that things are looking better for u...and i pray your healing will be complete

jhazmyn July 1, 2009 at 3:15 PM  

We walk through situations and when we come through, we become guides to others that life might push along that same path, that's what you've just done.

God bless you luv

Enkay July 1, 2009 at 3:39 PM  

You are truly an inspiration to many ladies out there.

You have gone through a really bad experience yet I see through your post, a woman who has refused to be put down.
You have risen above this, affirming your feminity and your right to a beautiful life free of stigma.

Truly, the men in our lives must join their voices with ours. We are, as you rightly put it, their daughters, sisters and wives.
Our sons should be taught to not only respect women but cherish them too.

Our voices shall be heard.

Cheers dearie.

StandTall-The Activist July 1, 2009 at 6:12 PM  

you are one strong woman my lady and I so agree with a lot you have said above. You have turned your experience around to help others both men and women learnt to love and cherish one another.

Together my dear lady, we will help change the world.

I will always love your bravery and good heart!

Original Mgbeke July 2, 2009 at 2:16 PM  

Wow! You are SO brave and inspiring. I love how you refuse to be put down by the incident and I enjoyed your honesty and candidness. Thank you so much for shedding light to the issue.

Adaeze July 3, 2009 at 10:51 AM  

@ Scribbles - Yes, you are first! First, first, first. Lol.

@ Sting - Yes, YAY for us feminists. Lets unite.

@ GNG - I love every comment you make. They are always long and I can tell you care. Thank y ou for taking time out of your life to give me all these sweet words. My heart goes out to you. You are so right about everything else you said aswell.

@ Yinkuslolo - We do, my dear... Thank you.

@Doll - I hope so too. Thanks for your warming words.

@ Beulah! - And thank you to you for helping me out with your warming words. They make a difference, remember that.

@ SOlomonsydelle - Thank you for taking the time to write a long comment and even email me. I appreciate it so much. I appreciate hearing from you, being that you are older and wiser. I think you put it just right "A woman's life is very complicated". I agree that we should only marry feminists..that is a graet idea and that is how we can fight it. Women need to smarten up! And you mentioned what i meant to mention in the post but forgot - that we need to raise our songs right. Bomboy and TK Will be great men one day and god bless you. And I also agree about fathers being cruical in emboldening our daughters. I love your way with words. You're a powerful woman!

@ DOwntheaisle - Thank you my dear

@ Severus snape - I thank god too. Thank you for your comment.

@ Afronuts - I also thank God I have a blog. I had no idea it would help this much!

@ Bagucci - Thank you. I appreciate it.

@ Leggy - Let it never happen to anyone..thats what I pray for.

@ Nana - I appreciate your coment nevertheless. Let Karma rule the world I beg.. :)

@ Simeone - Thank you..

@ Scribbles - thank you. And thanks for being such a good guy. I admire your courage in protecting your sister. That's what I needed. Nothing bad will ever happen to her with you around. God bless you!

@ Lady X - I feel honored that you can say that to me. Thank you. So much.

@ Aloted - Thank you for your prayers. Bless you

@ Jhazmyn - Thank you. The way you put that makes perfect sense and I will pursue my goal of helping others more forcefully.

@ Enkay - You are so right about our sons being raised right. >I am so happy that I could spread this awarence around blogville. Thank you for your sweet words my dear.

@ Standtall - Together, we will change the world. Na you biko.

@ Original Mgbeke - Thank you so much for your wonderful words my dear!

Brokeass July 3, 2009 at 6:04 PM  

Whoa! Im glad you are much better...

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