Gloria Kanu (not real names), through the psycho-social support received from CEE-HOPE Nigeria is now emotionally healed. She however cautions that parents must be friends with their children so that the children can confide in them on anything that happens. Above all, she wants government to protect the girl child with everything within its power and make the punishment meted out to rapists more grievous. She believes the girl child deserves the best because ‘when you train a girl, you have trained a nation’. Her story…
At age 13, something happened again. There was this uncle that used to come from Cameroon. Whenever he comes, he doesn’t sleep in the house but when he sees that nobody is around, he would take me into one of the store houses and rape me. In fact, once he has finished raping me, he would leave me there and run out. Then, there was this other man, old enough to be my grandfather. He was in business partner with partnership with my daddy in this clearing and forwarding stuff. They used to buy goods and resell. He would come in, call me all kind of beautiful names and everyone felt it was normal since it was coming for a man of that age. My father sometimes would hear it and pretend like it all well. He was my father’s friend. He was also molesting me.
And like that, for 15 consecutive years. It was just going on and on. When I was 16, I moved out. I felt now that I am out, it won’t happen anymore but I it was as if I came from frying pan to fire. It was worse, I was staying with an aunt and the husband started molesting me again. The last one that broke the camel’s back was when I was 20years old; I met a friend of mine, who has been a cover, shield and everything to me. He has been a brother; in fact, he was the father I never had. Yes I have a father, but he wasn’t playing the role of a father until I met this guy. After the last rape, actually it was a gang rape. I remember that a cousin of mine set me up, right there in her house. It was a gang rape of three guys. This cousin of mine happens to be a club girl. I was living with her in Lekki and she goes to the club and sleeps with guys to make money. She was trying to lure me into doing the same but I was like “No I won’t do that. It’s not going to work for me, I just want to go to school and live a good life. When the pressure became too much, she had to bring her friends to talk to me but still I refused. One night she went to the club and these guys came in. Of course they would not have had access to the door if somebody inside had not given then access. I was sleeping at that time because it was dark as there was no light. So they came in and raped me. When my cousin came in the morning, she met me crying but was totally unperturbed. Even when I accosted her, all she said was “You have learnt your lesson the hard way. As a matter of fact, you are leaving my house today.” She threw my things out and that was how I left. I couldn’t do anything because I was too devastated. I didn’t know where to go. I wouldn’t say I have a proof to nail her because she could deny it.
When I told my fiancé, he decided that I should stay on your own and not with anybody again. So the gauge, between my family and I started breaking off. I started living a very single life and like that my fiancé helped me to get off the trauma. Sometimes, I would want to commit suicide; sometimes the things would start playing back in my head. I attempted suicide twice but it didn’t work for me. Until I was 20, I did not meet my fiancé. In fact, my fiancé really helped me so much that now, I am gradually getting out of trauma. Now, I know that all that happened is in the past, it cannot happen again. I am better person today. My fiancé even sponsored my education because I told him I wanted to go back to school. He went to National Open University, got the form for me, filled the form, paid my school fees and that was why I started schooling. I’m in my third year now. He has been the support I never I had; he has been the strength I never had. He always pulls me through when the tough times come. He has been there always and today we have plans of getting married very soon.
As to whether or not my parents know all I have been through, the truth is that my mother is a very emotional person. She won’t be able to stand it if I tell her; she might even die. My father on the other hand will be nonchalant about it. He would just say it has happened, it has happened. We are glad you are a stronger person now. He would just feel its one of the things that should happen to anybody out there.
Above all, my advice is that parents should make it easy for their children to talk to them as friends. It’s unfortunate that as a growing child, I couldn’t confide in any of my family members. I would prefer talking to outsiders than talking to my relatives. Also, government should really look into this issue of child rape. I think this rape case is something that they should try to stop. This is because if people know the consequences of raping a girl child, they won’t dare it. I think they should increase the penalty that should be meted out to rapists. Sometime I feel people just feel like 14 years is nothing, and they might even go for an appeal and get a lighter punishment and pay out their way. So it’s something that the government should take more seriously because when you are helping a girl child you are building a nation. I see a girl child as a mother of a nation. When you educate the girl, you are educating a nation. Girls should be protected with everything that is available. Once this is done, I think our world would be a better place.
To be continued…
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