THE #METOO & #TIMESUP MOVEMENTS (MY EXPERIENCE)
So while we are all still recovering from Queen Bey's coachella epic slayage, I would like to share my personal experience with sexual molestation and assault. When the TimesUp and MeToo movements were gaining momentum, it triggered buried emotions within me I thought I had dealt with years ago. For those that don't know, I'm Nigerian and have until recently, lived in Nigeria all my life and it was while I was there that these situations happened. Had there been a forum like the MeToo or TimesUp back home at the time, I probably would have been too ashamed to say anything because like most women, I blamed myself for what happened to me and concluded that perhaps I deserved it somehow, i.e the assault and not the molestation because that happened to me as a child.
I must have been just 6 or 7 when I was molested by a lebanese man who was a member of the family club my family were also members of at the time and I recall one day walking past his office to go to the playground where my friends were when he called and signaled for me to come say hello to him. I knew he was friendly with my parents so he wasn't exactly a stranger to me; he sat me on his lap, proceeded to ask me typical questions you ask a 6 or 7 year old child while fondling my private parts. Even at that age, I knew this didn't feel right and I remember telling him I wanted to go play with my friends, I very vividly remember him licking his fingers after he was done, offer me a bag of chips and then let me go. I never told anyone about this until early last year when my mom and I were talking and I just said it. Naturally, she was devastated and angry and told me she always used to wonder why the man's own sister hated him with such a passion and we concluded that it must have been because he probably molested her too. He had died years ago as I learned and whenever I remember it, it just makes me sad to think how many other kids he must have done this to.
The 2nd incident happened years later in my 20s and this time, I was actually raped by someone I considered a friend. It was such a traumatic experience that I have somehow blocked out this person's name and face from my memory and probably would be unable to identify him if I saw him today. I had been looking to change jobs and this person was in a position to assist because he had a successful business at the time and he claimed he could help. One afternoon, he called to say he was driving past my then job and wondered if I would be able to join him to discuss the opportunity he had for me over drinks. It was still early afternoon, I was just getting done from work and felt glad that finally something better was on the horizon. He picked me up, we exchanged pleasantries and drove to a bar I had been to before but only at night and so never knew exactly how to get there or that this place had lodging facilities available. While talking, the lobby area where we were seated was extremely hot due to the air conditioning breaking down and so he suggested we go into one of the rooms ( which now that I think about it, he must have planned all along). As I said, he was my friend (or so I thought) so I wasn't concerned not until we entered the room, he locks the door and takes the key out of the keyhole. I asked why he did that and I don't now recall his response but just as I was figuring out what his intentions were, his hand was over my mouth to prevent me from screaming. I was crying at this point but he was only telling me not to refuse or say No to him. He was a big muscular man and with his other hand, pulled down my jeans and proceeded to rape me.His hand was still over my mouth and I was crying the whole time. when he was done, he went to the bathroom to clean up while I got dressed quickly, gathered my things and left the room. I had to wait for him to drive me out of the area because I had no idea how to leave where I was, he came out apologizing profusely and offered me money (in cheque form). I said nothing to him the whole car ride but bolted out as soon as I got to a familiar place and never looked back.
When I got home, I jumped in the shower, just crying and blaming myself. I went out and got some morning after pills because he hadn't used protection of course. Shortly after, I told a girlfriend of mine, who empathized with me and we said nothing more on the subject. A few years later, I told my then boyfriend who actually blamed me for what happened and sadly, I believed it even more than I already did. It's only when the #TimesUp and #MeToo movements began to unfold that I relieved the experience all over again.
Never publicly shared this and nobody in my family has heard this particular story but I'm grateful to the women who are at the forefront of these movements for giving fellow women all over the world the courage to speak up and no longer tolerate this animalistic and entitled behavior from men.
This was a difficult one to share but if I've given someone the courage to tell their own story or hold their perpetrator accountable, then I'm glad.
Thanks for stopping by guys. See you Thursday with a new post.