My name is “Courage” and I am 20 years old. I am a rape survivor and this is my story. In January 2012, I felt the biggest change was coming into my life, hmm… I was right but not as I presumed. My ‘ex’ uncle (as I would refer to him now) arrived in Nigeria and wanted me to travel abroad with him so I could further my education, to be honest, my mum was extremely sceptical about me going with him because she was trying to protect me from being abused (generally), my family and I later considered that I could go with him basically because he was staying with his wife and 5 years old son.
I felt I could be safe with him because he seemed to be a responsible man, in fact, he kept reminding me then that he had a child my age (from his previous marriage) so he considered me to be his daughter. From that moment, I took him as my dad and referred to him as ‘daddy.’ Months passed and my traveling processing was completed, I was overjoyed thinking I would finally get to purse my dreams of becoming a medical doctor.
On the 5th of May 2012, I left Nigeria with him, the following day we got to the ‘promise land’ (as I referred to it then). We got to his house and I saw his wife and son, everything seemed perfect, I was of my best behavior so I had little or no issues with his wife. I even helped his little son with his academics and did all the house chores, did I mention anything about my school? NO! because nothing was done.
The story changed, despite all, I never complained. He made it known that he was short of money and I was understanding. I believed him and every word he said, (why?) because I pictured him as my dad and he kept telling me he wanted the best for me, and that he was proud of me for being decent, and good at my academics. A year passed, no school, to cut the story short, his wife and son decided they wanted to go to Nigeria which they did. Before they left, I disclosed to his wife that I was scared to be alone with him, I didn’t want her to go but she told me she trusted her husband and he also kept saying he had nothing to do with me between I’m his daughter.
Few months after they left, I discussed with my mum that I wanted to leave him and return home since he failed his promise of putting me in school instead I was just functioning as a maid. My mum agreed with my decision and then I had just one step left to take; disclosing to my uncle that I intend going home. I tried several times to tell him but I was too scared, so I stopped. After a few days of failed trials, I made up my mind on the 28th of September 2013 to inform him that I am ready to return home. He got home late that night, I sat him down and started with prayer for him and his family, I told him how much I appreciate his help, and then disclosed to him that I already made up my mind to return home. That was it! I said nothing else but prayers for him and I tried expressing my gratitude to him.
He acted like everything was fine and told me he had some pictures on his phone which he wanted me to upload for him, he then asked me to go into his room to take the phone. I never had any cause to think his intention was to harm me, did I mention I was a virgin? Yes and I also made a vow to keep myself until marriage. It was already past midnight then, he came into the room just after me, I was startled when he put off the light and started tearing my clothes (I always dressed with my whole body covered during my stay with him).
I screamed and begged him to stop, I cried for help, when I realized he would never listen to my plea, I stopped begging and decided to fight back. I used the entire strength I had in me, we fought for over an hour, I guess, at the end I got weak, I could no longer fight him. He already cut my body with his finger nails and I was in pain. At that point, I resorted to begging him, even with God, well he did it and I lost my virginity! He then told me not to disclose to my mum or family.
I stopped panicking and confronted him, making him realize how terrible he was and how much curse he has brought upon himself and his family. I told him I was going to tell it all to my mum and that I was no longer scared of him. That was the end of my journey with him, I was confused and sad, it was hard to believe what happened to me, I felt betrayed and still do. My covenant with God to let my husband be the first to have sexual intercourse with me was broken by the man I called “dad.”
No words could express how I felt that day. After that day, I saw a doctor to take care of myself. When I thought it was over and I could move on, I realized it’s not as easy as I thought. I tried to be strong but I kept loosing it. My life has been filled with regrets since then, I learned never to trust any man ever again. I have been suffering from bi-polar disorder since then, I have become really temperamental and moody.
I am still trying to recover and I know I will. My pride is not in my hymen, it’s in me and I will never lose that. I have renewed my covenant and will stay celibate till marriage. I won’t let one circumstance change my destiny for the worst. I will still strive to pursue my career in medicine and become the doctor I want to be. I won’t give up, I believe this has happened for a reason. I stand strong and I hope to tell this story again in the future, not with tears like I do now but with smile because it has brought out the strength in me -– which I never could have thought I had in me. My best-friend and family have been really supportive. Oh and I am lucky to be disease and pregnancy free. I have learned to look on the bright side of life.
Thank you for reading.