Please, listen to me.

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I read a story on bella naija today, that inspired this post. The story was about a girl who was raped by her boyfriend, and how she felt she could tell no one because, they would blame her. “What was she looking for in his house”, they would say. In Africa, we do not believe that a girl has the right to visit a man, how much more, sleep over. This has changed in recent times, with folk expecting you to not only visit, but do what ever it takes to nail the guy. I remember paying a visit to my husband, before we got married. When I was leaving at 5pm, his neighbour, a lady, asked why I was leaving. Despite the fact that I assured her that my home was just an hour away, she insisted that I should spend the night. I was surprised at her insistence, knowing that my mother would skin me alive, if I disobeyed her.

My patient, who I will call Udoamaka, for the purpose of this story, was about 17 years old. She came in, looking so excited to meet a lady. I chuckled, thinking she was just being shy. She waited for my male colleague to excuse himself, before telling me her story.

“I am worried that I may be pregnant”, she began.

“When last did you see your period?”, I asked.

She was nervously biting her fingers. It took her some time to answer.”I’m still expecting it”

I was still trying to phrase my next question, bearing in mind her age, when my colleague came in.

“Can I finish up, while you attend to an emergency in the ward”, he asked.

I looked at her, and saw how her eyes widened in fear, she was shaking her head behind him.

“Let her wait a while, I don’t think she minds”, I replied. He shrugged and left.

I stepped out to do as he asked, and returned to find her waiting. Sitting in my chair, I invited her back in from the waiting lounge. She continued her story

“I had sex with a man 2 weeks ago”, she informed me.

“Okay, was it your first time?”, I asked.

“Sort of, I have a boyfriend but, we’ve never gone all the way”

“What really happened?”, I asked.

“I just want to confirm whether it was sex we had, because I don’t know what it’s supposed to feel like” I described the sexual act in graphic terms.

She nodded tersely. “I think that’s close to what happened”

“Who is this man?”, I asked.

“He’s my uncle”, she whispered.

“Uncle? Is he actually your relative?” I could not believe my ears.

“I think he’s a distant relative. He gives us money, helps my mom and I out. She usually asks me to go to his house to visit him, and help with some chores”

“Is he married?”

“His wife and children live abroad”

I took a deep breath. Some times, my job puts me under serious strain. I was praying under my breath. “Did he force you? “, I asked

“No. Each time I go there, he tries to touch me. I told my mom I don’t want to go there again, but she got angry”

“Did you tell her why?”

“I did not, because, I know she wont believe me. He is well known in the society, and very religious. People don’t know who he really is”

My heart sank inside. To have a mother who does not listen to you, has got to be the worst thing a child could go through.

“Let’s run tests for you, to rule out pregnancy, STDs, and so on”, I rang the bell for the nurse.

Few days later, she returned for the results.Fortunately, she was not pregnant, and appeared free of diseases. I advised her to confide in her mother, whether or not she would understand. Then, refuse subsequently, to pay him any visits.

“I can’t tell my mom”, she insisted.

“If you can’t tell her, tell an aunt, or someone else. People have to know what he is doing, so he won’t take advantage of some other young girl out there. Don’t accept gifts from him, stop calling him, don’t answer his calls. Live your life in such a way that if these tests are repeated, they will remain negative”

I shared this story, to raise our awareness of the role we have to play as fathers, mothers, aunts, uncles, sisters, and friends. The bible counsels us to take an interest in one another’s affairs. Constantly tell young adults, that you are there for them, that their secrets are safe with you, that you will defend them even if they went wrong. Teenagers need strong role models; people who keep their word, who respect their bodies, who serve God in truth. That is the only way for change to come. Be a standard, then go ahead to show your commitment.

I used to tell my younger sisters, ‘Wait till your wedding night, but if anything happens, you can still confide in me. Even if you get pregnant, I will help you make the right decision, down to taking in that child, whatever it takes’. The truth is that no one knows the thoughts of your heart, you have to voice them.

Be blessed.

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9 thoughts on “Please, listen to me.

    Femmetotale said:
    November 27, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    The whole blame thing for rape really annoys me like crazy. Our society should get past the idea of blaming the victim instead of the criminal who committed the act. I was discussing something similar with a friend of mine and almost went crazy when she insisted that it was the girl’s fault for allowing the man into her house. I asked her if she had never gone to visit a man in his house before she got married and supposing something like that had happened to her would she have insisted that the man was not at fault?

    Someone did an analogy and compared it to an armed robber coming into someone’s house and robbing him. Would the victim be blamed simply because he forgot to lack his door at night?

    The most annoying part is when it happens to kids. May God help us! As for the young lady involved, she wasn’t raped but I don’t believe she did it willingly either. In fact, depending on how young she is we can even call it statutory rape. Mothers really have to be very attentive and vigilant. Young ppl need guidance and protection. I know mothers are often busy caring for the whole house and earning pay but kids need their attention. Most of these child molesters are able to do it bcos those kids lack supervision.

    I’ve almost turned this comment into a post, lol.

      drnsmusings responded:
      November 27, 2013 at 2:00 pm

      I know. Can’t help getting passionate about it right? I think it was statutory rape, but the poor thing was too naive to even know. Besides, she has d burden of proof, as u wld say

    driphie said:
    November 30, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    Her mum could have wanted her to go all the way to keep receiving gestures from this “uncle”. have u thought about that? Most mothers will not send out their teenage daughters to a man’s house without supervision especially when she tells you she doesn’t want to go again on a background of him living alone.

      drnsmusings responded:
      November 30, 2013 at 5:11 pm

      I agree with you. I was so worried about that Iphie, but unlike such moms, she didnt even empower the girl with information. She wasn’t even sure what sex was.

      E' said:
      July 21, 2015 at 7:09 am

      I actually agree with dr iphie…tz not impossible.

    driphie said:
    December 1, 2013 at 6:49 am

    Exactly! Again this story buttresses the importance of having a fatherly figure involved in a girls life because it is said that girls who have a sound relationship with their fathers while growing up have delayed sexual debut and are wiser when it comes to intimate relationships.

      drnsmusings responded:
      December 1, 2013 at 3:31 pm

      Right? But what do we do about girls from broken homes? Are we raising godly men who can mentor them without demanding anything?

    E' said:
    July 21, 2015 at 7:06 am

    I don’t even know what to say.
    Reads like a movie.
    Na wa. What is wrong with men like this MOLESTING under aged girls?

    Kai. We need to mentor the younger generation, not just in any fancy programmed/mentorship classes way but one-on-one. You don’t even need a title to. Just ask that ur eyes are open, sensitive to the plight someone may be going thru. Like u said, be the standard, then show ur commitment.

    Interestingly, I was just randomly thinking of sharing with my mentees on how from the little they know, they should deliberately mentor another (girl) especially as most are in uni. I’m amazed at the ignorance I encounter both on the ‘streets’ and then online.
    Just as I thought on this, I stumbled on this post. Talk about divine direction.
    Tz well. Thank you mama. Lemme go talk to my mentees

    Love,
    E’

      drnsmusings responded:
      July 21, 2015 at 7:25 am

      Yeah, it is something that eats at me. We all need to look out for others and no one is too young to mentor others

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