Here is My Story! I was abused as a child, got rejected after years in higher institution and went through several stages of depression. I’m gradually getting better and hoping for better days. I’m telling you this story to reach out to those who had been abused or going through one abusive situation or the other; please speak up and seek help. You are not broken.
I’ve always been that extroverted child, the vocal one whom nothing could ‘befall’ till abuse came.
As a six/seven year old I didn’t know what it was but as I grew up, I understood more about what had happened. What our houseboy and family friends did to me was very wrong.
I began to remember those ‘events’ in flashes and patches. I’ll push them away most times, but after twelve years I spoke out for the first time. All I managed to say was “I was abused as a child”; it happened in the church at a workers’ vigil.
A dam broke that night.
I wept so hard! I felt ashamed that I’d been stripped of my ‘shield’ and dignity. I thought every one knew my ‘secret’ now and I would become a laughing stock amongst members. From that night onward, I became more aware of what happened and learned to deal with it. Then began the ‘fight’ to deal with ‘it’; my abusers live right opposite my house, I’ve seen them everyday of my life since then!
I couldn’t muster the courage to tell my folks; I knew blood would flow, I was scared. The next battle was to stop seeing myself as an object of pleasure, its has been a constant battle and I’m winning it but I needed a ‘weapon’, so I choose hate. I hated men, house-boys, and male family friends; as long as you’re male, I see you as an enemy. I was losing myself! My folks tagged me “sadist”, there was no explanation for the erratic mood swings or the sudden need to be alone in reclusion.
I’d inflicted wounds on myself, I couldn’t build relationships – erratic at them. I had lost trust for everyone and if I eventually trusted a person, it was the unhealthy kind because of my extrovert nature. It was hard to know but I had dark days.
I had contemplated suicide; even attempted it!
I met Christ while at the university. Life became better! I was progressing; I read books on child abuse and I read other people’s stories too. It looked like life was finally getting better, then another tragedy struck.
Two days to my final exams I got a call to report to the Administration office; on getting there, I was told there was a problem with my registration. The man said: “you’re not a student! you’ve been using a fake matric number” all these while. At first I thought there must have been a mix up, could be there was a mistake, but it turned out that it wasn’t a mistake.
It felt like a bad dream, it took the next 24 hours for the news to sink in. I saw all kinds of black, I moved like a robot, I wanted to die. It took me fifteen months to tell my mum. Those days were the darkest hours of my life, I craved death at every opportunity. I would forget to eat, comb my hair or even take care of my health.
I stopped living, I lost so much weight that I became stick thin.
There were moments of complete darkness! There was a blanket that descended on my soul. There was complete numbness, sometimes I would forget where I was. I felt worthless. I harboured guilt and hopelessness towards myself. I was hurt, depressed and felt abandonded. I thought maybe God hated me and He was ‘punishing’ me for an “unknown sin”.
Why only me?
I’m a ‘good’ girl – that, I’m very sure of. I’m a believer too. why would He let all these things happen to me? I went everywhere for help, I had to get back to school. I went to the governor’s office, commissioners and permanent secretaries offices. I was desperate! I met men who saw my desperation and banked on it, they wanted the ‘cookie’ before they would help. it was tough! After two years of running from pillar to post, I gave up and started over again. Seven years down the drain just like that and there was nothing I could do.
I had to come to terms with what had happened.
I remember telling my parent that I needed to see a psychiatrist and she went “Olohun maje!”. I’d been writing before then but it became more frequent, I found solace in writing; I’d write and weep! The dark days are still there that blanket descend on my soul….. I still see my abusers anytime I’m home, a lot of times I feel nothing and I wonder how many more little girls they’ve broken. I don’t know if I’ll ever confront them. Everyday is new and I always choose to live. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to visit my old school (tried it once, not a good move) or tell my folks about the abuse.
But today, I stand tall and I’m grateful for everything I went through and how I’ve been able to stay the course. I understand now that its okay to cry, its okay to be weak.
I’m a victor!
I’m a survivor!
I’m @OmowonuolaMaja on Twitter