I recently spoke to a friend of mine. I’ve always had her number on my phone but haven’t called her in a long time because I’ve always felt ashamed of my reaction towards her being raped years back.
Aku (not her real name) lived just a few houses from where I used to stay years back at Nsawam. She was 17 years at that time, in JHS 3 and was in love with her teacher.
I remember seeing how she looked at him whenever he came to buy provisions at her mother’s store. Sometimes instead of taking his money for the goods, she would add more and even take them to his house.
I counseled her on her actions but like most teenagers who think they know more of this world than we those older than them, she ignored me.
One day, her teacher came to buy provisions as usual and sent her to his house to cook for him. She did so and he raped her. She came home but was too scared to tell her mum.
The following day, I noticed how weirdly she was walking and asked her mom what was wrong with her. That’s when the whole truth came out. Boy did her mother tan her backside like wele!
I also gave it to her and I’m ashamed to say, I refused to be friends with her because I felt that she deserved what she was going through.
I was wrong to have done that.
I left the area some weeks later but I still kept in touch with her mum and was told of how the case was reported to DOVVSU. The teacher was fined and he left town without paying the fine, (the swine- pardon my language).
Well, after so many years and my reaction towards her, I decided to call her. When she realized that it was me, her voice got subdued, mostly sad.
I apologized for my behavior but she rather asked for forgiveness and told me that I had every right to feel the way that I did about her. It was her fault if she hadn’t gone there, none of that would have happened.
That gave me pause. I had been thinking of how her actions had made me feel but I had completely ignored how she felt because of that. Also, she was the one who would have to relive that pain over and over again. She alone, not me, not anyone else. (One of the many crimes of being raped, when the victim becomes the accused)
She told me how few had wanted to listen to her story or find out how she was feeling after the whole story went out. How her family called her a bad child or ashawo for willingly sleeping with him and lying about being raped. Her other classmates had doubted her story because the teacher had never made a pass at anyone they knew so why only her?
She lamented how none of them thought of the idea that she could have been the only one he targeted. How she had been happy to be of service to a teacher she respected and trusted. Nobody cared to find out how she felt after her trust had been broken. All they cared about was how she’d destroyed his reputation as a good teacher but thankfully she had moved on, gotten married and has children of her own now.
I ended the call some minutes later with a promise to visit her soon.
But my advice to everyone reading this is to advice every young person we know to be careful.
Gone are the days when people taught or helped others without expecting anything back. They found joy knowing that they had imparted knowledge or helped someone become a better person but, nowadays as more and more people become selfish, the more of them demand payment for their services usually of the sexual kind.
Blindly trusting people has resulted in so many rape cases and it’s high time we all took cues and learnt lessons from the millions of such cases reported world wide.
Our teenagers especially our girls have to know that even animals are raped so what they’re wearing might not matter to a sex fiend but they must avoid situations that will give such people the other hand.
Be friends from a distance.
Don’t kiss and then say no.
Don’t hug and then say no.
Say no before a touch and save yourself years of pain and rejection.
Because those who’ve been raped wish they had someone to advise them.
An advice to the rest of us who hear of such stories is to hear from both sides before we start judging and must above all, refrain from accusing the victim until we know the truth.