Rape survivors have different experiences. How it happened to a A isn't the way it will happen to B. Tanya has decided to share her story with us like other survivors have done (check HERE and HERE).
My name is Tanya. I was this "happy go lucky" young lady of 16 when I got married. I had this idea that a rapists looks like a monster. Its not true, they look like the regular man on the street, like your dad, uncle or cousins.
When I was in my second year, I lived off campus with a friend, who was afraid of staying alone. Many other people advised me not to move off camp that it wasn't safe but all the advice fell on deaf ears. I trusted my friend and moved with her. Throughout my 2nd year, my friend's family friend developed a crush on me. It was so bad that my friend became hostile to me but I had nowhere to move as half of the semester was already gone.
Of course being a cutie, I had a lot of toasters but I didn't want to sleep with anyone so I declined all the relationship offers I got. At the time I didn't know I was beautiful and I had acne and low self esteem.
At the end of the semester, I met this guy called "Kele." He was a lecturer's son, I hardly knew him, chatted with him and escorted him to his room, we chatted a bit and then he escorted me back to my room.
I told my friend and my sister about him but the said nothing. He asked me to come to his room the next morning to say goodbye. Lazy me, woke up late and by the time I had dressed up, my dad was around to pick me up. I forgot he even existed, I only gave him attention so my friend would know I wasn't interested in her bf cum family friend. When year 3 began 2 months later, I was 19 and still as naive as ever. When I got to school, few people were around, I check my faculty and then went to visit my tailor in school.
After seeing my tailor, I couldn't find a way back as I didn't have enough money. I hailed a taxi but it was too expensive so I decided to walk. As I got closer to the school area, I saw "Kele." He said he had some friends who would drive me to the gate that I should see him to his room. Happy go lucky as I was, I didn't notice anything about him. I got to his room sat down and was watching the TV when out of the corner of my eye I saw him lock the door and throw the key somewhere out of my reach.
I jumped up immediately and began pleading asking 'what is going on?'. He just laughed and slammed his hand into the wardrobe. He flew into a fleet of rage. I was screaming, my mummy, my daddy. I didn't know what to do. He slammed me into the bed and we began struggling. I was amazed that he could be so strong and I seemed so weak. I struggled until I felt his hands choking the life out of me. Then I relaxed. He eventually fingered me, only God knows what he damaged. I didn't bleed but I was sore all over. He made me hold his penis while he made sickening sound like a pornographic movie was going on.
Someone started knocking at the door violently. I don't know what more he would have done but the knocks on the door made him stop. I just stood up and left the room. He and two of his friends dropped me at the school gate. That day when I left, all my innocence I left in that room. I stepped in front of a trailer at a famous market and everyone was screaming. I stepped out from the front of the trailer at the last minute, that is how I knew I still wanted to live.
I went home and didn't return to school until 2 months later. Gone was my bubbly happy self, I was sullen and constantly in turmoil. I went incommunicado and I stopped being friends with her. 2 weeks after that incident he approached me and tried to go with me by threatening me and I yelled a loud NO. From that moment I began to hide, I'd go for lectures and from that moment on, I'd hide in my room. I never went out.
I started going to fellowship and my pastor had a word of knowledge everyday. I was miserable and refused to acknowledge his word of knowledge every time. We went on strike and I was happy for the 6 month hiatus. I came back from the strike looking dowdier than ever, I didn't want anyone to ever be attracted to me ever again, I didn't understand what I did wrong that made him change into a monster. So I stayed ugly.
The first month I got back to school, I went to a concert and got filled with the Holy Ghost. My grades fell down and died and I didn't give a hoot. When others were writing exams, I'd be gazing into the rain and crying; during an exam. Eventually I recovered a bit of composure but I was still skittish around guys, I'd be watching for the lecherous look and immediately I saw it, I'd cry. If I heard the word 'rape' I'd cry, if I listened to worldly music, I cried. It reminded me suddenly that the world wasn't safe. It was dog-eat-dog. No one cared about any other person, I saw the world for what it was.
Eventually I got over my fears, the guys in my fellowship were awesome, they were all popular guys yet they expressed the love of Christ to me. Through my fellowship, I learned to pray, fast, raise money, minister to God, operate the gifts of the Spirit, basically expressed christ through our lives. They were the best thing that happened to my Christian walk. Best of all, I learned the word at my pastors feet, my pastor personally invited for each fellowship program, I always came. He's the reason I am not afraid to preach to anyone or to follow up on anyone. He taught me to trust the Holy Ghost.
During this time, I had many supernatural happenings that helped strengthen my faith in God. Every meeting was a special meeting for me, I was healed emotionally but the Holy Ghost never let me be, the moment a worship song began, I would cry endlessly. It wasn't the trauma cos I tried to explain it away also. When I cry normally, I have headaches for at least 6 hours and I have the reddest eyes possible. But when I cry under the unction I have no headaches, I just feel light like I am lifted and just filled with joy. I can't explain it.
I learned to forgive the one who raped me, I forgave my friends who didn't warn me, I forgave those who mocked me and called me 'bad girl'. I forgave my lecturers who failed me without wondering why someone with a 3.8 GP would suddenly have 0.69. I forgave the Christians who tried to bring me down and I held on to God with all my might.
My entire family eventually got saved, I think God wanted us. I was happy. My life isn't perfect, over the years I have gotten healed physically. Just the way God kept leading me till I got healed. I'm trusting Him for a husband better than the one I'd have gotten and for three perfect children. After I got raped, I had no dreams for myself. But God came and began giving me beauty for ashes in different areas of my life. He kept giving me great dreams and so many of them have come to pass. I trust Him with my life and I know the dreams that haven't come to pass yet will, by the grace of God.
Words on the Marble
My advice is that all women shouldn't think rape can't happen to them or that it is not happening somewhere around you. Believe me, it is. Be alert and be a light in your generation. Let God use you to shine the light of the glorious gospel to your world. If you don't have a relationship with the Holy Spirit, start one today, all you need to do is ask. He's a gentleman, from that day, he will begin to walk with you.
We will be having a #SpeakOut tweet session with @smartsensitive, so please follow us on twitter @AyodejiOsowobi for updates. Let's keep inspiring survivors to #SpeakOut. Please feel free to share your experience with us, we want to hear from you and inspire others. Send us a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.