Resilience, rape, abduction, the struggles of women, determination, faith and courage, forgiveness, unconditional love
“Just accept my love and I will spare your life. I have what it takes to make you happy. Look at you…you are losing weight like a child born in the middle of a war. How can you refuse a good life, Jacinta?” Idoko asked. She was tied to the bed with a blazing light shining powerfully into her eyes. The room had no ventilation. She was soaked in sweat. She squinted as she tried to catch a glimpse of Idoko without getting her eyes burned by the blazing light that was hanging directly over her. “Are you ready to accept me now?” Idoko asked. He too was sweating. “Don’t you want to regain your freedom? If I wanted I could rip off your clothes and have my way with you, but I want you to submit fully to me. Your husband Michael is a pauper. He was destined for poverty all along, yet you went ahead and married him. Accept my love, Jacinta. I will send you abroad where Michael and his rabid poverty will never reach you. You and I can live on the coast of France, perhaps in Italy or in the Swiss Alps. You will never lack. Just say yes and you will be happy for the rest of your life,” he persuaded her. She kept her eyes shut, refusing to cry.Idoko moved closer and sat on the edge of the bed. Slowly, he placed his hand on Jacinta’s leg. She squirmed forcefully in a futile attempt to ward him off, but her legs were firmly tied to the end of the bed as well as her hands. He began to move his hand over her leg, gently moving towards her laps. She attempted to kick harder, but she could not generate enough power. “You are helpless my dear…this is exactly how you feel being married to a poor wretched goat. Nothing stops me from having my way with you right now. I am an honorable man my dear. I will not do that. I want you to fully submit to me. Say the word and you will be out of here. If you refuse, I will have my boys turn up the temperature in here and you will begin to bake. Isn’t that how you feel in Michael’s box that you two call a home? Just let me make you feel like a woman. I am sure Michael is incapable of that too.” “He is more of a man than you a million times. Real men don’t tie women to a bed and torment them. You are sick Idoko. I will never succumb to you even if you put a knife through my throat,” Jacinta shouted.
“Then you will die!!!” Idoko shouted at her. “I am ready to die. Death scares me not. I am better dead than to allow a lame coward like you touch me, how much more make love to me. My love rests firmly with Michael. He is a man of steel…the man whose love fires me up inside. He is a man whose will and resilience inspire me. I am willing to die for the love I have for him…the love that he showers upon me each day. We do not have the type of evil money that you possess, but we are as happy as birds of the sky that glide with pride through gusty wind with seamless grace and elegance. I know love and peace, and those are things you will never experience…things you will never take away from me even in death.” Idoko stretched and slapped her forcefully. Then he leaned over her and punched her in the mouth. “You are a fool!!!” He yelled as he pummeled her like a possessed beast. Blood streaked across her mouth and face. Her right eye turned red and then black from the heavy punching. Her breath was short and heavy, yet she managed a smile on her face. “Is that all you can do, weakling?” She asked him. “Beat me with stick or stone if you like, but my love will forever rest with the prince of my heart, Michael.” Jacinta said. Her left eye was swollen shot and blood drooled into her mouth as she spoke.
Fuming, Idoko left the room, shut the door and went to the central air conditioner regulator and cranked up the temperature in the small holding room to 44°C. He walked to the living room of his mansion on the edge of the city of Onitsha. He flipped on the television, crossed his legs and watched rapaciously. He and Jacinta had dated back in university. It had been a stormy off-and-on relationship. He was very insecure, controlling and untrusting. His insecurities drove a wedge between him and Jacinta. Then, Michael came into the picture. He was a real charmer; a gentle man. Jacinta fell head over heels in love with him, and in so doing, incurring Idoko’s wrath and enmity. Years after leaving school, Michael and Jacinta married. They settled into a simple life in Enugu working for the State government. Idoko vanished into thin air, only to return to Onitsha out of nowhere with millions. He bought a piece of land outside town and built a mansion. Two days earlier, he hired some criminals to kidnap Jacinta and bring her to his home. He lived on vast compound with no neighbors. Even if Jacinta shouted her lungs out, no one could hear her.
“Officer, have you heard anything about my wife?” Michael asked the police officer in charge of her wife’s kidnapping case. Jacinta had been abducted in broad day light on their street while she was returning from work. The kidnappers shoved her into a waiting jeep at gun point and drove away. “We have no leads yet,” the policeman answered absentmindedly. “As soon as we hear anything, we will get back to you,” he added peering at the week’s publication of Guardian Newspaper. With a sullen look on his face, yet with an unflappable will, Michael left with his best friend, Jide. “I told you to forget the police for now, Mike. They have no clue what is going on. Let’s see what we can do for Jacinta,” Jide suggested. They returned home, took a sheet of paper and began to write down all possibilities as to who may have abducted Jacinta. Soon, Michael’s hands began to shake and tears began to drop down his face. “I can’t do this,” he said. “I can’t go any longer. I can’t stop thinking of her. I wonder where she is and how she is being treated. How come we have not gotten a ransom call?” He asked, barely able to coordinate his thoughts. “I can only imagine how you feel, Mike, but we need to keep going. We have to act on our own to save her.” Michael wiped tears off his face and tried to refocus his thoughts and energy. “We should have gotten a ransom call by now, but since we haven’t it appears that the kidnappers have other plans,” Jide rationalized. “Do you know anyone who might want to harm Jacinta?” Michael sat back and tilted his head backwards as he ransacked his brain for answers.
“I can’t think of anyone. She is loved by everyone. Jacinta never hurt anyone. She loves people and they love her too,” Michael replied after a prolonged thought. “There has to be someone. Someone from years ago…it does not have to be someone in her life or yours now. Has she had issues at work with anyone in recent years? Have you had major problem with anyone that may want to come back and hurt you by taking her?” Jide asked. “Think back to some years ago,” he urged Michael. “The only one can think of is some guy at university years back, but that was quite some time ago. I doubt that he would come back to hurt Jacinta after all these years.” “Who was it?” “Some guy she dated before she met me. I think his name was…Idoko. He was a psychopath. He stalked her and threatened fire and brimstone after she ended her relationship with him. I nearly came to physical blows with this guy to get him to leave Jacinta alone.” “Where is this guy now?” “I have no idea, but I could make a few calls to find out.” “Do that. We can’t take any chances.” “You think it might be him after all these years?” “You never know. I have seen worse.”
A few days later, the door cracked open and Idoko walked in. The room was baking hot. He left the door open and turned down the heat. Patches of blood and sweat had left streaks across Jacinta’s face. “Are you still waiting for your prince to come and save you? You will die here unless you accept me.” She ignored him. Her eyes remained shot. “Open your eyes and look at me when I am talking to you,” he shouted. Jacinta kept her eyes shot. Idoko moved closer and slapped her across the face. She winced, yet she refused to cry. Then he held her face and bent over trying to kiss her. “Open your mouth and kiss me. I know you want me,” he mumbled as he reached for her mouth. She moved her head to the left and then to the right with her mouth tightly shot, refusing to kiss him. He grew angrier. He rose to his feet, removed his belt and began to whip her relentlessly. Pains swept through her like a tsunami. She kept her eyes shot and her mouth tightly closed, taking the whipping with dignity that made him even angrier. “Why are you so stubborn? Accept me and renounce him. How can you love him this much? You will soon be dead if you continue like this,” he said as he lashed out against her.
Then he stopped. Her hands and legs were torn and swollen. Blood and body fluid oozed out of everywhere. All of a sudden, Idoko dropped the belt and sat beside her. “I am sorry Jacinta,” he pleaded. “I don’t want to hurt you anymore. You know I care about you. Just stop being stubborn. You make me do all these evil things to you. Please just accept my love and we can be happy again. Don’t you remember how happy we once were? I would take you to Golden Dishes restaurant back in the day and we would eat, laugh and then walk home arm-in-arm. I have never stopped loving you. Please tell me that you love me. I can’t love anyone else as much as I love you.” Specks of tears circled her eyes, but she kept her eyes shot. She said nothing in reply. “Please say something to me honey,” he pleaded. “Say something!!!” He repeated, raising his voice. “You don’t treat someone you love like this, Idoko.” “If I untied you, would you tell me you love me?” “I am a married woman, Idoko. I cannot say what you want me to say to you.” “Just forget Michael. Come with me and we can go anywhere. I have all the money in the world. You will never lack.” “There is more to life than money, Idoko.” “Yes there is…there is love and with you and I together, we would be as happy as children with no cares.”
“You can’t force me to love you. I wish I could, but my heart is elsewhere.” “Don’t talk like that. You belong with me. We promised each other in first year at university that we would love each other forever. I have never broken my promise to you. You broke yours. You left me.” “We were kids, Idoko. We knew nothing about life and love. Besides, things turned sour between us.” “They turned sour because you stopped loving me.” “I left you because you became like a hawk watching and controlling me every step of the way. Love is meant to be free. When you control people, it takes the fun out of love.” “But I was only doing that because I cared too much about you. Can’t you see that now?” “You were doing it because…” “Because of what?” He asked. “Because you were insecure. You don’t treat people like that and expect them to love you…Just like you are treating me now.” “But all you need to do is say that you love me. It is so easy…so simple!!!” “It is not that simple to the person you treat this way.” He went on his knees, took her hand in his and pleaded with her. “Please just say you love me Jacinta. Please just say it.” Jacinta closed her eyes tightly. More tears descended down her face. Idoko reached out and attempted to wipe her tears. “I am sorry sweetheart. I did not mean to hurt you.” “Please let me go home to my husband and children, Idoko. I just want to see them. I don’t hate you but the type of love you ask of me, I cannot offer you. There are so many beautiful and even younger women out there who will fall at your feet. Please take your pick and let me be.” “It is you that I want. You can’t tell me what to do!!!” “And I can’t be what you want me to be to you.” “It is easy, just say it and let me kiss you.” “I am someone else’s, Idoko. I can’t.” “No, you are mine.” “I am not and I will never be.”
He began to punch and smack her again. One of his punches landed heavily on her stomach and blood began to flow out between her legs. She had been pregnant. In a matter of seconds, the bed sheets were covered in blood. A knifing pain went through her body. Idoko stood there staring at her. He did not know what to do. Then, there was a bang outside. Before he knew it, armed policemen rushed into the building in all directions. Michael and Jide and found out where he lived. They spent all they had to get the Onitsha area police to raid the house. It was a gamble that paid off. “Jacy!!! Jacy my love,” Michael shouted as they carried Jacinta outside. She was in a deep pain, but she managed a smile at him. “You are going to be alright honey. We are taking you to hospital.” He held her hand as he sat beside her in the police van.” “You will be fine soon, Jacinta,” Jide said. She opened her eyes, looked at Michael and smiled again. “I love you honey,” she whispered. “And I love you with every breath that I draw…with every blood that runs in me.” She smiled again, tilted her head into his shoulder and went numb.
“Jacy!!!” Michael shouted. “Please drive fast,” he yelled at the driver. “God please don’t let her die. What am I going to do without her?” She was rushed into the emergency unit at hospital. Michael’s heart pounded for every second of the entire six hours that Jacinta was there. Thankfully, she survived. Two weeks later, she returned to Enugu with Michael and Jide. Her two children, Ikenna and Lucy were overjoyed to see mommy again. Idoko was arrested and charged with kidnapping, battery and attempted murder. At his sentencing, Jacinta refused to attend the hearing, but she sent a letter which was read in court.
I am supposed to hate you!! If I did, I’d be perfectly justified. I am supposed to lose my faith in humanity – distrust people because of what you did to me. I am supposed to be become negative, afraid…paranoid because of you. I am supposed to live with anger and pain in my heart, because of you. If I did all that, it would be understandable given everything I went through in your hands. I have not, and I will not. NEVER!!! To do that would be as good as letting you control me from far away for the rest of my life. I refused to give in to you in that room where you tortured me, so why should I give in to you now? I wake up each day with glee in my heart and praise in my mouth. I chose to be an inspiration to my children and the people in my world and not recoil into a sad and lonely shell where I would no longer amount to anything. I will lift up the needy no matter who they are because I still believe in the goodness of humanity, despite what you did not me. I am living each day with passion and will and I do not intend to change any time soon. I want you to know that I have no single anger or hatred towards you. I forgive you…first, for you and then for myself. To hold all that anger and hate inside would be too much baggage to carry around with me. I want to live free and travel light. I leave all that behind. I hope someday you find the strength and humility to let go of all the hate and insecurities that you carry with you. May God bless and keep you.
Idoko fought back tears as the letter was read in court. Afterwards, the judge sentenced him to twenty one years in prison.
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