I re-told the story of my friend below for a post on upliftgirl.com which I think you should totally check out! Re-told because it was by mouth it was said to me but I put it in writing.
True story, I hope you’re blessed, but even more, made more aware.
I had already known my parents to be very religious and principled at a very young age.
It was as though certain things weren’t suppose to happen to you when you named the name of the Lord so it was hard to comprehend when I found myself in certain situations.
My parents were very loving folks and I know they meant the best for me and what I think they did was shield me from the evil of the world but I think a better way would’ve been to make me aware of it but teach me how to navigate around it.
I was probably just 8, I was living in Port-harcourt with my family cause my dad worked there. My little sister was a little over 5 and my mum was mostly a stay at home mother who thought she had her eyes on us 24/7.
We had these neighbours and big cousins who’ll come around often.
They wanted to greet my dad and all so they’d stay the entire day till he came home and then greet him before they left. As time went on, some weekends, they’d spend the night some days.
One of those nights, 2 of the older girls. who weren’t too far from me on the bed started to touch me in places that my brain registered as “unfamiliar”.
It registered it as danger but oddly, it was pleasurable.
They were older so I think I assumed it was some sort of play for older girls so I let it.
It became very frequent and they would sexually assault me with their bare hands and have me do strange things as well.
Oddly enough, I knew this wasn’t right but I couldn’t bring myself to stop them or report them. Just the thought of what my parents would think if they found out was enough to keep my hushed.
I moved away from Port-Harcourt about 2 years later. I was older then so I knew exactly what had been happening to me and it had happened so frequently I had lost count.
But hey, it was going to be a new start. I’m moving away!, or so I thought.
We moved to Abuja and it was really all sunshine and roses until one night when an Aunty came over again to sleep over and it was like she had recognised what I had been up to from Port-harcourt and the cycle resumed.
“Touching and playing like adults”
I became so irritated at the thought of myself. I wondered how a child of such religious parents could be experiencing this, like “weren’t my parents covering me in prayer!?!!”
This led to my silence.
I was usually very talkative growing up but getting to a boarding secondary school, I became mute, speaking only when I had been spoken to and a response was required. I enjoyed the quietness. It deceived me into thinking the madness was only within and not around me and so to keep myself from being more dirty than I thought myself to be, it’ll be wise to keep it all in.
I began to see my body through horrible lenses. I felt I had eyeballs that weren’t proportional to the size of my face. I felt my cheeks were too big and God!, I hated my legs, I felt like they were terribly irregularly shaped.
These insecurities ate me up to the point where I hated to look in mirrors. I didn’t want to be reminded of what my head already knew.
How I managed to finish high school without failure, I can’t explain it, but that’s pain right?
It lets you get through one phase, doesn’t mean it ends there.
It was time to get to University, fortunately, my dad agreed to let me go to the United Kingdom despite his high level of over-protectiveness. It was the first time I’d be by myself, alone and the thought of what I would do to myself scared me so much.
But hey, life had to go on.
University started great, made a friend or two, had my own mini studio apartment and I had found a few activities to keep me from thinking often. But that didn’t last very long.
I became terribly depressed and lonely, it was like, I loved the muteness, but I wanted to be around other people so I was not too aware of it.
I started struggling in Just foundation year academically and I wondered how it all escalated so quickly.
I was back summer of that foundation year and one time I sat in the kitchen with my mum and God knows whatever even made me think she’d understand and I told her I had been struggling with anxiety and depression in the most playful way.
She said “see what you’re saying with your mouth”.
Meaning, ‘that shouldn’t be coming from someone of such religious calibre like myself’. Before I knew it, it had become fight. My mum wanted to know so badly what would be depressing me young as I was and I honestly didn’t have an answer so to keep Peace and for my sanity, I told her it would be fine and ended the conversation there.
Promising myself never again to bring it up.
I knew I had to get serious with God, I knew I was now on my own, the monsters in my head weren’t going to go anywhere if I didn’t send them away.
I think God heard my prayers because He began to send me friends, friends who allowed me open up to them at my own pace, I even got into a relationship with this guy who I genuinely thought was my everything. Him and I would pray together, talk about everything and just be each other’s best friends.
We were close to the point I could let him in on my past. He didn’t judge me, he had a past of his own so we were good, really good.
Life started to look brighter and this time, it was actually the sun, not some made up artificial light in my head. I noticed that the more I spoke to people, the freer I became.
I forgot to add that I stammer and stutter, (one of the many things I hated about myself), I think I inherited it though cause my dad stammers, however, not as bad as I do.
But the more I spoke, the less I stammered, I’m not sure how but I noticed it began to go away.
I started praying more too and talking to my best friends whenever I was at my lowest and they always had the best words.
I can say I’m in so much a better place now, despite having to retake a year in University, but I’ve picked my pieces up and everyday, I’m gluing each piece back to where it belongs.
I’m learning to forgive myself, but most importantly, to separate the blame from myself because I hated myself because I blamed myself for everything that went wrong in my past.
I look in mirrors now, very often and I tell my huge eyes and not-so-straight legs that they’re beautiful.
I was robbed of a normal childhood by girls who I even still meet today, who act like it was totally fine and normal what they did, and for my own sanity, I’d rather keep it quiet, but maybe one day, when my healing is complete, I’ll gather the courage to let them know what they did to my life, but even more, how much I forgive them.
And maybe one day too, I’ll share my story to encourage other girls who come from homes where “such doesn’t happen to Christians”.
It’s been a long eventful journey but I’m grateful and here’s reaching out to every girl/woman who is still bleeding from wounds of the past in her present, heal first. Only you can take responsibility for your healing.
My boyfriend and I broke up very recently too, as much as it hurt, it was great to realise how much I had moved past pain because of how I handled all of it, especially as it really wasn’t my fault, But I’m in a happy and content place now, back to being single but learning and loving up on me.
One day, I’ll tell Mummy too, that such does happen to Christians and what really mattered then was a listening ear and not what was ideal to be said by a Christian girl. I also know already that my daughter and I will be best of friends.
My past isn’t allowed to rule me anymore. I’m a free young woman!