It's very important that more and more people #SpeakOut. Sharing your story is a step towards getting your healing... Today on the blog, I will be sharing the story of a lady, who was abused 13 years ago and yet relives the incident in her head daily.
Bidemi says her rapist ''OLUKUNLE KOLEOSO IS NOW A CUSTOMS OFFICER WHO HAS BEEN EMPOWERED WITH A UNIFORM AND A GUN, THE THOUGHT OF WHAT HE possibly CAN DO WITH IT SENDS SHRILL DOWN MY SPINES.''
She said watching my Moments With Mo session helped her find her voice... She sent this to me and I thought I should share this (with her permission of course).
''Again, I find myself falling into that deep pit of depression but this time around I’ve decided to do something about it.
Looking into the piercing eyes of my daughter some days ago, I knew I had to do this, I knew the time is NOW; else I lose my new found strength. I’ve tried to forget, I’ve tried to forgive but honestly it’s so hard, really hard. I heard talking about helps, so for the first time I tell …
WHY WHY WHY???? As I sit here and look out into this beautiful world I can't help but repeatedly ask WHY??? Why so much violence against women, girls, children, the elderly, and just basic mans' inhumanity towards man? This makes my heart break and bleed not only for women but for all of us and most importantly all the VICTIMS OF RAPE and CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE out there.
13years ago I was raped!
13years after I still remember EVERY detail like it happened hours ago.
While OLUMIDE put a gun put to my face, OLAKUNLE KOLEOSO dishonoured, violated and trampled on womanhood, OLOWOYEYE OLADOTUN with his hands and legs abused me further in ways better left to imagination, their other two friends continued to threaten and shush me.
The world suddenly became dark and I remember wishing the floor will open up and receive me just like it did Korah, Dathan, and Abitham, since I was the enemy. The usual excuse is ‘she was rude’, ‘how can she take my money and give nothing in return’ . . . I didn’t even know this guys except for Olakunle Koleoso, (who happened to be my lecturer’s son and met few days before doom day) let alone collect a dime from them.
Everywhere I went to in school, they were there, haunting, taunting, teasing and daring me to talk. I stopped going to classes and found solace in my room, my pillows drowned with my tears,the few times I had the courage to attend classes they followed me whispering obscenities. Atimes, they go as far following me into the hostel and I will quickly dash into the nearest room. I practically stopped living; I died over and over and over again! I prayed to God to ‘help’ them graduate on time.
It’s been 13years of trauma, indescribable pain, depression, shame, tears, anger, why(s), silence,. . . I recently just realise I’ve been living in bondage, the bondage of SILENCE, the power a rapist has over its victim.
Rape, the most pervasive crime committed against women and girls; sadly 13years after my ordeal, this menace still continues, almost on a regular basis!
The effect of rape is more psychological than physical, it is a scar carried life long, it has nothing to do with education or poverty, it has EVERYTHING to do with COMPLETE AND TOTAL POWER AND CONTROL OVER ANOTHER PERSON!!!!!
There are so many questions that border around the issue of rape, from the silence of the victims to the incompetence of the police officers who the initial report is made to. If you walk into a police station first they ideally ought to take you to the clinic first and document all the evidence collected. But sadly 70% of them are grossly incompetent.
Even the criminal justice system is quite merciless on the victim sadly. You seat in court facing your rapist and reliving the horrible experience again. Then the victim takes the stand and has to endure brutal questioning from the defence counsel of the accused. They dig up your past to assassinate the character of the victim and discredit her.
Rape is very delicate. People think they understand the victim but they most times selfishly protect themselves from the tarnish too. Hence the silence that shrouds the whole issue, some might think the effect of rape is overrated but I say NO, it is not! 13years after, no matter how hard I try not to, I remember EVERY detail.
It is saddening to say that because of the social stigma, victims are daily dying in silence; this inadvertently gives the rapist the permission to continue in his stead and an excuse for his act, with questions like “wetin you too go do there”, “why you too wear clothe wey open”, “she asked for it”! What are we teaching the young men of our society if there is no punishment for a crime of this magnitude?
And they wonder why these things aren't reported, who wants to get raped and then blamed by the authorities/society?
What do we have today? Rapist don’t only rape but for effect, they record the lurid details of the ordeal their victims are subjected to probably satisfy their maniacal instinct. The video then posted on the internet, daring all, there you have it, what can you do? I sometimes thank God social media had not gotten the kind of presence and wave it has now when it happened to me. But I’m I better for it???
This is the case of adults. Reported cases have indicated that children and under aged are also increasingly becoming also victims of rape and sexual abuse and parents are still treating it as ‘family issue’, especially when this evil is carried out by a family member.
Those, who indulge in this, are paedophiles. In the eyes of the law, these acts constitute criminal offence punishable by life imprisonment.
Ironically, it somewhat appears difficult to secure conviction for rape. For instance, the law requires a victim to report the incident to the police immediately after the offence is committed. The proof, such as semen stain, torn underwear (what if there was none?) and bruises (the physiological cannot be seen) must be intact.
The police would then call a medical practitioner, who will examine the victim and confirm that she has been raped. It is very unlikely that any rape victim would want to expose herself to such further humiliation in order to convince anyone that she had been violated. That probably explains why most victims don’t come forward; all I longed for after, was to fall into a very deep sleep, wake up and find out it was just a bad dream. Plus the stigma that’s been attached to it by the ‘society’, not knowing that for every female and child raped and sexually abused, the same society will one way or the other pay for it.
It is against this background that I plead with YOU to use your influence and platform to implore our representatives to take a second look at the provisions of the criminal and penal codes as well as criminal procedure act in order to make conviction for rape less rigorous. Rapists are psychopath and social misfits. They deserve nothing but maximum penalty of life imprisonment which the law prescribes.http://www.academia.edu/3515953/PENETRATION_CORROBORATION_AND_NON-CONSENT_EXAMINING_THE_NIGERIAN_LAW_OF_RAPE_AND_ADDRESSING_ITS_SHORTCOMINGS
Also, so upsetting, for lack of a better term is that in the states, as well as the country, Nigeria, many non-government organizations, including those working specifically on prison reform, have reported that women and girls are frequently raped while in detention.
Rape is universally regarded as a crime against humanity. It is a violation of United Nations and Africa Charter on Human and People’s Right to dignity of human person.
It is also a violation of Section 34 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended which in subsection (a) says that “no person shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment.”
Are we ever going to evolve past this primitive savagery? Maybe Darwin would reconsider his theory if he were alive today! Absolute disgust!
Well, maybe not only Darwin, but God, too, depend on whether you believe in evolution or creationism. Either way, human beings all too often make all the other animals, no matter how savage, seem gentle in comparison to human atrocities.
I wish I had the words to express how distressing this is. It is really difficult to quantify the level of pain and suffering a victim of rape has to endure all the rest of all her life, not having her attackers brought to justice, having her attack outright denied, having to bear the stigma and shame of her own attack. Is it wrong of me to support the idea of these rape victims banding together to castrate their rapists? To mark them in some way so that all of society knows of their crimes against women?
Thus why I dare to raise the CLARION call for collaborative action to curb this worrisome menace to women, children, society. Hence, the following are imperative (but not limited) for a sexual assault free society:
- The first point of call for any victim of rape in a country like ours should be good government hospital. They should have FEMALE social service workers and police officers on standby to make reports to. They should also collect a rape kit – http://www.rainn.org/get-information/sexual-assault-recovery/rape-kit.
- Effective training of the police to handle these cases. Or the setting up of special offences unit to handle issues such as rape in each police station across the country.
- Policy and society does not understand the psychological and neurological damage rape does to a victim, there is need for the Government, a responsive Government, to build a large scale public awareness, the same sensitization given to Malaria, AIDS, Immunisation, Payment of Tax, Cholera, should, if not more, be given to RAPE and CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE, its effects and consequences.
- Need for a "National/State sex offenders' register, which must be made accessible to the public.
- Encourage victims (or families/parents/witnesses/relations) to report to the appropriate authorities (Nigerian Police Force) closest to the ‘assault’ environment or designated centers).
- Rape and child sexual abuse is no less a crime than robbery, kidnapping, murder, tax evasion, and should be treated as such, a crime!
IF THESE ARE NOW PUNISHABLE;
· Fashola Bans Mini skirts..http://www.cknnigeria.com/2014/02/fashola-bans-indecent-dresing-by-lagos.html?m=1
· "Urinate In Public And Face Arrest!"-Governor Fashola Warns Lagosians... http://t.co/tUaqfMxTa5
7. We then should have billboards, documentaries, dailies, flyers, commercials, voice-overs, bombarding the air and screaming it to the high heavens, RAPE AND SPEND THE REST OF YOUR LIFE IN DETENTION, STRIP ANYBODY NAKED AND GO TO JAIL, yes, it is barbaric to strip anybody naked for stealing biro, meat pie and ANYTHING!
Introduce “Law and Sex education” or “Law” or “Law and consequences” into our educational syllabus, catch them young; let them know if you do the crime, you will do the time.
8. Educate our Police Force to stand up to responsibility, one of their responsibility in policing the society, is INVESTIGATE questionable situations, to start handling RAPE with more empathy,
a. Complainants have a right to be treated with respect and have their complaint taken seriously and dealt with confidentially. (It is ONLY in Nigeria that a ‘celebrity’ (Obesere) will be accused of rape and even before the case is brought before a judge he is already considering making a movie out of it. What impunity!!! Talk of reverse psychology.
Taking Advantage Of The Situation! Obesere Set To Shoot Block Buster Movie On Rape Scandal...http://t.co/n9nb9FWunc
Update:Obesere Pressures Police To Drop Rape Case As Victim Relocates After Receiving Death Threats... http://t.co/j3JZLg1BEU
b. Complainant have the right to have their complaints heard promptly and not coerced into writing a statement that is not true.
c. Respond to all complaints, investigate and solve the case within a prescribed time
9. The Nigerian judiciary must rise above board and be seen to apply lasting justice to victims, while punishing convicted sex offenders.
10. I do not endorse death penalty but rapists’ must be dealt with severely to serve as determent to others.
11. Community support for NGOs (Non Governmental Organisations’; e .g. Nurses' Guild, National Association of Nigerian Students, Women Organisation, Community Unions, Market Women Associations, National Union of Road Transport Workers, NBA, e .t. c.) and enlist their collaboration in 'FIGHTING THIS MENACE'.
WHAT AM I DOING?
Because of the African culture and it’s a man’s world, the women are meant to just live in it mindset, we continue to place the responsibility on women to not get raped. We tell women that as long as they are aware of their surroundings and take all of the right steps, they'll be safe . . . or at least as safe as they can be in this terrifying world full of scary men. Then, when rape does occur, we talk about the men who were "lured" into the act by what the girl was wearing (even that grown up man raping a minor???)
Then the message is clear: men just can't help themselves. They're all would-be rapists just waiting for the opportune moment. That nice man who helped you carry your bags up the steps, held the door for you, helped you with assignments? He's probably just scoping your door to see how easily he can break in to assault you later. That man walking funnily behind you? He's probably waiting until you get to a secluded part of the path to drag you off. The friends you're out with? They can't be trusted,
I say, men should be outraged at the way that rape portrays them. Men should be marching in the street right along with protesters in much higher numbers than they currently are. As one blogger succinctly states; “Perhaps, it may be worth protesting against when it happens to a daughter, niece, sister or relative of a prominent figure.” Hence, this salient question needs to be asked; why is rape on the increase in Nigeria and what are you, oh man, doing to curb this social anomaly?
If you believe that women who don't protect their precious bodies are all "asking for it," what you're really saying is that men are incapable of controlling their sexual urges. You're saying that men are beasts. You're saying that men are vile, filthy criminals just waiting for an opening.
I know better!
I know many, many men who are good and kind and respectful. My husband is one! I know many men who would never think that a lack of a "no" means "yes." I bet you know these men, too.
So please let’s channel our energy to them, the men, our men, schools, streets, shoemakers, baba eleran, fathers, parents, churches and mosques to let them come out and claim their rightful place and boldly saying#RAPE?I’M NOT THAT MAN
We’ve spent a lot of time focusing on what rape does to women because it often leaves us fearful and paranoid. It makes us afraid of strangers and suspicious of friends. It puts us in a constant state of alert that is stressful and terrifying. We should definitely be talking about these things.
But we need to start talking about what it does to men, too. It desensitizes them to the responsibility of assault, which is why something as simple as the #RAPE?I’M NOT THAT MAN should be a campaign every man, right thinking and responsible man, should embrace and identify with.
Yes, there are people out there who are truly predatory rapists. These people consciously set out to violate others. They are the people we're trained to fear, and they exist.
* Meeting with schools, especially during their PTA to tell my story, Parents; impart Godly values. Fathers, let your son(s) see and know that you’re a #RAPE?I’M NOT THAT MAN ambassador "Nobody wants to think of their son as a potential sexual assaulter. I know I don’t. You look at your sweet, sweet son and you say I know in my heart that he would never hurt a fellow human being, let alone violate and disrespect them. But I’m also saying do not live in a fantasy bubble. I’m sure the mothers and fathers of the boys involved in this act thought their sons weren’t capable of such horrific, violating actions either. Be their role model.
WHY I’M I SPEAKING OUT NOW?
I want our born and unborn to grow up in a NEW NIGERIA,
I want JUSTICE for every rape and sexual abuse victim,
I want rape, if not totally eradicated, at least brought to the very minimum.
I want every victim to know it is not their fault,
I want the victim and their families to stop hiding and speak out; it is the rapist that should hide,
I want the society to know they loss more blaming the victim (she might marry your son someday, your daughter might be married to a once-upon-a-time rapist)
I want to plead that you use your esteemed position and platform to start (or intensify) a revolution against rape and sexual abuse in whatever form. You might not be able to identify with me but please don’t wait till it happens to someone you hold dear to your heart (or maybe it’s happened and they’re dying in silence)
I want everybody to come together in solidarity, in criticizing administrative failures in curbing, preventing and punishing instances of such violence; showing solidarity with survivors and the families of the victims;
I want my husband to stop suffering for what he knew nothing about,
I want to stop been snappy because I’m always on the edge,
I want to train pacesetters, change agents, trail blazers NOT vengeful, angry and spiteful children,
I’m want to stop been fearful,
I want to stop going out with liquid wash when I go out to dry my daughter’s clothes, ready to splash it into the eyes of the imaginary rapist that I think might pounce on me again,
I want to stop falling in and out of depression,
I want to stop having emotional crisis,
I want to stop double checking the locks,
I want to stop depending on sleeping pills to have a good sleep,
I want to stop having nightmares,
I want my healing process to begin,
I want to stop been angry,
I want my life back,
Importantly, I want to be able to look my daughter in the face in the future and proudly tell her my story and when she asks me, Mummy what did you then do?! I can look into that beautiful eyes of hers and respond, I broke the jinx, I did this! I shared my story with the public, my public, YOU! (That I’ve over the years respected and admired because of what you’re doing and achieving in your sphere of influence).
To all mothers and men of reasoning, you really can't allow this to go on.
Now that you know . . .
NB: OLUKUNLE KOLEOSO IS NOW A CUSTOM OFFICER WHO HAS BEEN EMPOWERED WITH A UNIFORM AND GUN, THE THOUGHT OF WHAT HE possibly CAN DO WITH IT SENDS SHRILL DOWN MY SPINES
*APOLOGY, the attached video and pictures I got through broadcasts, they’re not to insult our senses but to let us see the reality of the world we live in now, a lady, child is going through that humiliation and trauma right now!
SOME FEW CASES OUT OF THE THOUSANDS,
3. @DailyPostNgr: JTF officer accused of raping four-year-old girl in Plateau - http://t.co/yQwyqsgd5i
4. MojiDelano's Blog: Another School Proprietor Arrested For Rape In Abia http://t.co/NEeY1rjrex
5. Benson Idahosa student raped to death in Benin..http://www.cknnigeria.com/2014/03/benson-idahosa-student-raped-to-death.html?m=1
6. What are some of these so called Pastors turning into?..http://www.cknnigeria.com/2014/03/pastor-arrested-for-fingering-12-years.html?m=1
7. Man kills pastor's wife for refusing to be raped..http://www.cknnigeria.com/2014/02/rapist-matchets-pastors-wife-to-death.html?m=1
8. 17 Years old Bowen University student killed in Lagos for refusing to be raped http://www.cknnigeria.com/2014/02/17-yrs-bowen-uni-student-killed-in.html?m=1
Ayodeji Osowobi (@AyodejiOsowobi), the young lady whose story helped me find my voice, THANK YOU!
My name is ‘Bidemi, a woman, a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, an entrepreneur, integrity driven, excellence focused. I am a NIGERIAN.
*Bidemi thank you for choosing me to talk to...I pray total healing comes to you in Jesus name!
The path to your healing starts today. #SpeakOut and Stand To End Rape Initiative (@StandtoEndrape or firstname.lastname@example.org) is here to help you.