Photo credit: Yianite Koppens, Unsplash
The Forgiveness Antidote.
Last year, while discussing one of my parent’s employees' young daughter who was molested by an older man, their neighbor actually, my mother got to learn of my “almost rape” incident, by one of my dad’s workmen that happened over ten years ago.
Before that, I kept it to myself for close to five years before telling anyone at all. How could I tell anyone? I wasn’t even sure of the outcome of the whole situation so I kept it to myself.
Sometime between the ages of 16 and 18, I summoned enough courage to tell my sister. Around that time, it was so hard to keep myself together. A hot pile of emotions ran through me. I believe I told someone else, not a member of my family before that, but I had downplayed it even then if I can recall.
I had called it “molestation” because I didn’t know what else to call it. “Almost rape” wasn’t and isn’t exactly a thing you can just spew out of your mouth.
When I was asked “How or Who was your first kiss”? To avoid being untruthful, I’d say something like “ well technically it was this guy I met when I was in Ss2”, which in fact was my first official kiss. Oftentimes, in moments like that I’d have to tug at the nerves in my brain that keep bringing back the memories of a man most likely older than my mum and also three times as big as I was at that age forcing his lips on mine and tugging at my dress and my not fully mature body parts whilst pinning me against a set of wooden door-like planks made to secure our Nepa meters.
Before that incident, he had called me “fine girl” and smiled at me in a way a man shouldn’t smile at a young girl. I wasn’t sure of what to make of it all, but I sure didn’t think it was going to end up the way it ended.
A few weeks back, when the whole “rape issue” was flying about, I found myself crying one of those days after someone kept going on and on about the whole thing. In times like that, I would just want to tune off all things related to that, because they always bring back memories. In my opinion, almost everything brings memories.
Till today, sometimes my mind treats the event like something I just made up. I can still see myself struggling as he tugged at my dress and touched parts of my body he shouldn’t dare touch. I can somehow still feel the physical pain, he inflicted On me by his roughness. I can still see his smile and I can picture him winking.
At the age of 16–18, I had to learn to forgive him, because at a point that was almost all I could think of. I didn’t how else to handle it but I think I prayed at that point. Of course, a prayer of help is most likely what brought me to the forgiveness phase of my life, but I had to make a constant decision not to rip off the bandit God had put over the wound.
Forgiveness is often easy when the person who offended you stays afar off when you’re healing. This wasn’t the case for me, and to date isn’t, because the man still worked and still works for my dad, and as much as I use to avoid seeing him, I was often sent to give him one or two things.
I would also confess that when his wife died, a part of me believed that was his payment for what he did to me. I had to change that narrative in my mind, cause I’ve come to realize it is very toxic.
Seeing him is hard enough, but walking past him and hoping he doesn’t see me is even harder. Wondering if he’s looking at me, being scared of the compound being empty. Would what happened those years ago repeat itself? Was I safe? Should I run past him?
Ever since my Mum heard about my issue with him, she ensured that I was never really he close contact with him again. Instead, she’ll run that errand herself. It felt better than someone else was trying to fight my battle for me.
For a man old enough to be my dad, to pin me on wooden planks, and try to have his way with me, a 12/13-year-old girl was and is still unbelievable.
My mind has erased most of what happened that day, but something about the pain in my breasts, because of how hard he was squeezing them can’t get out of my head. Till today, I believe if I didn’t fight as hard as I did, I would have been raped by that man.
How I got a man that was most likely three times my size to get off me, and actually run away from him is still a mystery to me. I actually read somewhere about how people do things they never could phantom ever doing when they’re afraid.
I mean I could have been raped. I’m just glad he was the only one there. Something positive out of this situation.
I’ve been so scared to tell this story. It’s a part of my life that I’ve always thought should be kept hidden, but I think it’s about time I let it out.
One of the reasons I believe I’ve restrained myself from ever really writing about this experience is because I believe in my mind that it wasn’t strong enough topic to talk about. “At least I wasn’t raped” is what I told myself.
The pain and memories will always stick with me as a memory for being “a girl”, or for being “beautiful”, whichever one made him do whatever.
This will always be my story. A part of me that I can never do away with. Forgiveness has made it a lot easier, but freely as I’m saying it now it’s not easy like I said earlier. It’s all by God’s Grace.
This is the point where I beg people to be more sensitive with others and things that relate to “abuse”. Yes, a lot more has happened to me that I can share and laugh over but this is something I can never just laugh over because I fought for my life and innocence.
When talking about things that are “emotional”, “sensitive”, “personal” or anything related to “abuse”. It’s best to be sensitive and not even play with any of it. It’s best to treat things like this way because you’d never know what people even the ones closest to you have gone through.
I’m emphasizing this because I’ve been a victim of such insensitivity.
Also, this story isn’t for empathy or sympathy. I just thought it’s about time this came out to the world.
Till next time, keep your head up.
Forgive more. Be kind and be sensitive.
If you don’t have any sensitive nerves in your body, it’s time to start growing some.
The world needs you to grow some.
Love always, E.