I didn’t understand my first encounter with sex. Yes, I didn’t have an inkling what it was because I was about six years old. You heard me, six years old!
My mum would leave us- my two brothers and me in the care of a male neighbour when she goes to the market. He lived in a one bedroom apartment downstairs and we lived in a flat upstairs. My mum went to the market like two or three times a week.
We would all be playing in the room, then he would bring out a coin for my brothers and ask them to go buy sweets. He would lay me on the floor, remove my pants and remove his trousers and in my young mind, I didn’t know what he was doing to me. He would get up when my brothers start knocking on the door after buying and eating their sweets.
I remember one day I felt this peppering sensation in my vagina and I kept scratching down there and I wanted to tell my mum but I didn’t know how to say it. I tried to say it but couldn’t know what to call my vagina to my mum or say exactly what he did to me.
It happened every time my mum left us with him, I can’t remember how long this happened. It was in my teens I finally got to know what he did to me but at this time I was afraid if I tell I would get beaten for not saying anything that time so it was my best-kept secret. It killed me to imagine I wasn’t a virgin, here I was a believer in my teens and I can’t even say I was a virgin but I reasoned if I say am not a virgin then the question of how I lost your virginity will arise and for the love of me I can’t even remember his name or face so who would I say I lost it to, a total stranger, how do begin to say I was abused, oh the shame I felt and I wanted to delete the memory away from my mind forever. I cried so many bitter tears for so many years asking God why he allowed it to happen to me knowing I would know Him early in life and will not sin against my body. I imagined how disappointing my wedding night would be when there won’t be blood to prove my claim of never being with a man.
This particular neighbour’s room had a particular smell, one day out of the blues more than fifteen years after, I smelt something similar and it was really unbelievable how it unleashed a rush of memories of pain buried in the deepest corner of my being. I thought to myself I know this smell and this began a chain reaction of events, I started having nightmares, sleepless nights of crying, asking Lord but why me, praying, getting angry at God, up to the point I started thinking I already lost my virginity so there is no big deal about committing fornication even God will understand that am just angry and He won’t count it as a sin. Believe me, I had woken up from a nightmare once and that smell hit me momentarily, when this happened I perceive I was being tormented and I was being crippled emotionally. Before now I had been able to deceive my brain into forgetting the abuse happened. Then at a vigil one night a word of knowledge came in the fellowship on forgiveness and before I went for that vigil I had another bout with the tormentors, I was led to open up to the pastor of the fellowship who prayed with me and I got respite for some years because I managed to keep it locked in the very recess of my brain memory.
Then I got engaged I struggled with telling my fiancé the truth because I had told him I was a virgin which technically I was. I was afraid he would find out when we get married I lied to him. Each time I read a novel and the heroine happens to be a virgin, I would read and reread her first time to see if I can learn some things so when the time comes my husband won’t know the truth. I checked adverts about sales of vagina tightening cream, nursing the idea of buying one close to me wedding day.
I lived with this torment for more two decades until one day at church, my pastor’s wife was ministering and said something about being abused and the Lord is saying let it go, forgive your abuser and you will find emotional healing and she prayed.
Right there in the service I cried hot tears, I cried because God wanted me to forgive the person that stole a gift that my would-be husband would have thoroughly enjoyed opening, I cried because it was easier to hate my abuser than forgive and I wanted to hate him forever, I cried because it was so unfair that he probably doesn’t have an idea that he had scarred me for life, I cried because I wanted him to so suffer that he would begin to look everywhere for my family so he can ask for my forgiveness and I will have the greatest pleasure to gloat at his sufferings.
Then I thought God knew I was suffering and it had doubled since I got engaged, I thought of how of the thousands in the service He singled me out to reach me, oh He must really really love me, He cared that I was being tormented. Joy and peace flooded my heart. I forgave my abuser but told God I don’t care to know how He would do it but I won’t mind my abuser suffering for his sins (laugh) I got home gave more serious thoughts to it and felt inspired that as long as I kept quiet about it, I was still a victim. I choose to tell three friends and my fiancé. I hurried over my words as I told them. My fiancé didn’t say much but he was apparently confounded, one minute he was marrying a virgin and now this, I told him I was technically a virgin because I haven’t been with a man and didn’t know what sex felt like. He was like this had happened a long time ago so just let go. I also wrote in my testimony and my pastor’s wife chose to read out my testimony during the service the following week and she prayed again.
I felt totally free, it wasn’t my best-kept secret anymore. The shackles of shame was broken in my life, my friends’ response of love and compassion helped me too. They didn’t feel pity for me and I stopped throwing me, myself and I pity party. I think about the abuse without an iota of shame or guilt. It was a long walk to freedom but worth every step. As I started writing this piece the foolish tormentors wanted to rear its head but I laughed because I have been set free indeed.
If you have suffered abuse as I did, please speak out, the torment is real. Not talking about it will continuously give your abuser power over you. Yes, it feels shameful but bearing the burden alone isn’t worth it. Forgive your abuser and move on. It won’t be easy but in the long run, forgiveness will be a small price to pay compared to a lifetime of being a tormented abused soul. Abuse has a way of keeping one trapped in a vicious circle of shame, guilt and rejection. Take the power back from your abuser.
If you are a parent reading this please err on the side of caution, be protective of your children both male and female. Don’t leave your children with just anybody. Trust no one no matter who they are,e, call me paranoid. People prey on children of both sexes. Tell your children from time to time they can talk to you about anything. A friend’s father discovered she didn’t know how to ask or present her issues to him so he encouraged her to send him notes. Find out how best you can get your children open up to you and don’t get mad when they confide in you no matter how grievous if not they will clam up. Assure them you love them unconditionally, yes you would correct them when they go wrong but will never blame them if anyone takes or tries to take advantage of them.
Show empathy to your children always, this will fuel their trust in you.
In His Steps,
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