Rape: Letter To My Dear Friend, By Whyte Habeeb Ibidapo
It is with great enthusiasm and soberness that I write this letter which is of uttermost importance to me, you and every other fellow that gets to read this. I must first appreciate the fact that you took the courage to share your dreams of a better Nigerian society with me barely less than eighteen hours of meeting. It shows how eager you want to create the change our society deserves. Sharing a dream with a dreamer is not a bad idea at all. It is a right step to the right destination where success resides. A listening ear a times can be considered as a custodian of wisdom. Thank God you never made attempt to set sail using someone’s star. The navigation may seem north and wrong because we are voyaging different ships and on different oceans. I have learnt from you and I guess I want to share your fate.
Friend, you made me understand your misfortunes and I must say that I have spotted blessings from the story behind it. You are a lady of substance, your life have a worth even when you think it does not. The fears you keep never at any point betrayed the truth in your tongue. Fortune is already at your favour’s spot. The sky is going to weep to your victory sooner or later. I always like to look on the optimistic side of life, but I am realistic enough to know that life is a complex matter. Part of its complex nature is the hatred you filled your heart with. I know the hatred is as a product of bad acts done to your person. Such acts were aimed at depriving you of your dignity as a woman of substance. However, I want you to know that hate is heavy; I doubt if you would ever let it go. I do not think hating what hates us is good. For hate is the burden to exhaust the stare in you.
Friend, you made me understand the fate of your dark hours. You keep emphasizing that I do not know how you feel to be robbed off your dignity. The tears keep rolling down your cheeks as you keep murmuring the word ‘toilet’, ‘toilet’, toilet. You made it worse when you said he gave you a chapter in the bible to read after all he did to you. You mentioned Isaiah 51 or thereabout. You made me know that you cannot even explain how you lost your virginity but all you remember is the toilet issue and the main man that you see most of the time. It keeps paining you that he is now a pastor of God. He now wins souls. You made me know that you can never forgive him and that you feel like killing him. Even the lesson teacher that betrays the confidence your mum repose on him by making you stay with him after school hours is also a thing you cannot spare. The lesson teacher is a man you cannot see again but you still see your uncle who is now a pastor. You live and wake up with your mum who knows nothing about your misfortune. You were betrayed by fate the day you intend telling her of your mysteries because you met her in the pool of her own tears. At that very day, she was in tears over the welfarism of you and your brother. Rather than adding to her problem that night, you offered helping hand by telling her that you are ready to start hawking so as to help meet the family’s financial condition. Your everyday thoughts were destroying you. You tried not to think but the silence was a killer too. You suddenly became the flower that gives its fragrance to even the hand that crushes it.
Friend, it is not easy to have gone through hell like you have done. It is more or less like a paleontologist coming face to face with a dinosaur. No doubt, an odd combination of fear and exhilaration must have settled over you. To be a victim of rape or sexual harassment is so inhumane and degrading. To be a victim of separated family is also worse. To be raised by a mother that can do everything for the sustenance of her children but not knowing what happens to them after her daily exit is sad. Your reputation for secrecy is now exceeded only by that of your deadliness. An oasis where hope is gone and tongue glued to its root.
I know you are learning how to be okay without the world and I can’t wait for the day when you would get to look at the world and feel absolute nothing. Not even the bunch of hatred in your heart. I can wait for the day when you would stand tall before the world and say your story. I only had the privilege of knowing because you considered me as a change agent. You charged me to also address issues like yours when campaigning or making advocacy on sexual harassment and sexual related offences. You want people like your uncle to face the wrath of the law. Even as you stare through the fog with a look somewhere between stupefaction and anger, you still want the best for the vulnerable persons. Your heart is good my dear friend.
My friend, as you have decided to start an agency that would see to the development of kids and youths that are facing similar problem like yours, I pledge to support with all I have and I know every right thinking mind out there would do same. Before then, I would want you to forgive all those that have trespassed upon your dignity. I would want you to be hopeful as you have been till now. I only wish everyone could get talking like you have done. A warm tear of sincere repentance earns the mercy of the Almighty and wipes off our sins no matter how big or how many they are. Just know you would get through it. Life isn’t so much about what is happening but your reaction to what is happening.
N.B: To every person that gets to read this, it is a real story. Issues of sexual harassment and Rape have caused a whole lot to the development of some many female folks around. My own friend aspires to be great and willing to have a big platform to tell her story and educate others. If you have a worthy platform, don’t hesitate to contact me and let us help her achieve her aim.
(WHYTE HABEEB IBIDAPO is a Lawyer, United Nations Award winner, Africa International Arbitration Award winner, Coca cola/ The Nation Campuslife Award Winner, Promasidor Runner-up for the Best Future Writer in Nigeria, i-Hustle Campaign Initiative Ambassador and Editor Egba Youth Awards Foundation.