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Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - Kaduna State Polytechnic, to study Mass Communication, Ibadan, continue with my education, the rape, how I got pregnant, married, in my marriage with him, my business in Ibadan, to sell my uncompleted building

Growing up my dreams knew no bounds. I was convinced I would be a big hit in life. The manner in which my life took off was a testament to my convictions. I was a brilliant, young, beautiful girl, driven to bring joy to my parents. At 18 years, I got admission into Kaduna State Polytechnic to study Mass Communication. At 20, I was done with my National Diploma program. I was raring to go further with my studies when tragedy struck. My uncle who was the chief sponsor of my studies died suddenly. That singular event changed the entire course of my life till this day. With no money to continue my education, I dropped out of school and returned to Ibadan to live with my parents. Having to stay at home with my parents instead of being at school like my friends almost drove me mad. I tried everything I could do to raise money and continue with my education but it all failed. Slowly it began to dawn on m that the door to education had slammed shut in my face. It was hard for me to accept that.

Sadly, with each passing day, reality began to hit home. I had to find ways to keep myself from losing my mind. I felt I was wasting my brilliant mind and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. Being a pretty girl, it was common for men to walk up to be with all sorts of senseless offers in the name of love. Having to stay at home with my parents gave the men in my neighbourbood the chance to flood me with their insane offers. I had to realize that for me to get rid of them, I needed to dig deep into my moral strength. Being a virgin, I had the dream to present it to my husband on my wedding night. So I put up a pretty good fight and had the men on the run. And when I had thought my battle with men was over, I had no clue it was only just beginning. On a certain day, I went with a friend of mine, Modinat by name, to visit another friend of ours, Ashraf.

Being the type who trusted people easily, I had no reason to suspect my friends. Sadly, for me, they had planned to have Ashraf’s brother rape me since I would not allow any man to touch me. When we arrived at Ashraf’s house, we plunged into our usual girly chats. Midway into our litany of gossips, I began to feel drowsy. I did not know why I felt that way. All I had tasted in Ashraf’s house was a cup of drinking water which was served to me by Ashraf herself. As my condition got worse, Modinat and Ashraf stood up and left me alone in the living room. Then Ashraf’s brother entered the living room and began to remove my clothes. Even though I wanted to fight him off, I felt as though my nerves had collapsed. I couldn’t move my hands and legs. Only God knows what they had put in that water which I drank. Ashraf’s brother had his way with me in the most humiliating way. When he was done, he left me in the living room and went away.

When I had recovered from the effect of the drug they gave me, I dressed up and went home in shame. I wanted to talk to someone about what happened to me, but I was scared. My mother was the only one I knew who would believe my story but I could not even tell her because I was scared. A month after the rape, I found out I was pregnant. I wanted to kill myself. It was as though my life had been damaged in a flash of light. I tried to hide it from my parents and from everyone else. However, by the third month I knew it was wrong to hide it. I knew it was time to come clean with how I got pregnant. It is devastating to be raped and much worse when it leads to a pregnancy. Since there was no way I could hide the pregnancy from my parents, I told them the truth. To confirm my story, my parents stormed to Ashraf’s house to confront her brother and parents. To my surprise, my rapist did not deny raping me or being responsible for my pregnancy.

After the confrontational meeting in Ashraf’s parents’ house, I was sort of abandoned to carry my burden alone. My parents were very poor and the guy who raped me had nothing to offer. He thought he had done the best thing he could do for me by accepting he raped me. When the men in my neighbourbood found out I was pregnant, I became a thing of mockery, a laughing stock. I was called all sorts of names. I cry as I write this story. God is the only one who knows I was not wayward and that I did not get that pregnancy jumping around with men. He is the only who will judge me and those who did that to me. Without any help, I worked my fingers sour to take care of myself till I gave birth to my baby. Till this day, I am still the one taking care of my baby girl alone.

Six years after I had my baby girl, I met a guy who took a lot of interest in me. Even though he was married, it did not bother me. I was a Muslim and in Islam, a man can take as many wives and he can. I was happy to find love. I had borne a lot of emotional and material burdens alone and needed a shoulder to cry on and someone to hold me. My relationship with this man was a quick fire relationship, before I knew it, he had asked me to marry him. I was happy to do so, especially since many people saw me as damaged goods.  Sadly, for me, before I could settle down in my marriage with him, the man asked me to leave his house without giving me any reason. It was as if it never happened, one day I was in love, happy and married to him and the next he had kicked me out. Though I tethered on the edge of insanity, I held on because of my daughter and persevered till I found a break.

With the little money I was able to save up from petty trading, I started a fabric trading business at Gbagi market. God was kind to me and blessed my business. From that business I was able to acquire an uncompleted building which I hoped to finish and move into. With the blessings God had brought my way, I began to realize how lonely I was and began to desire to remarry. I could not tell if it was God who brought him, but he came anyway and I was happy he did. His name was Muri. He was also married like the first man I married. He loved me and was willing to marry me even though I had a daughter out of wedlock. After our marriage, we were blessed with two daughters. He also had two boys and a girl from his first wife. Muri was living in Lagos with his first wife and I was in Ibadan managing my business. After Muri had built his second house, he began to persuade me to join him in Lagos. He told me that the second house was for he and I. At first I did not want to join him because of my business in Ibadan. However, when he wouldn’t let me have peace over that, I decided to close my business and relocate to Lagos with him.

One year after I left my business in Ibadan to join him in Lagos, he began to beat be up and subjected me to a lot of physical abuses. I was so much abused by Muri that I thought I was going to die and above all, I hated love and regretted loving again after my failed marriage. After some time, I found out that Muri was neck-deep into infidelity. He was an incurable pervert. Because of his infidelity and having abandoned me to take care of our children, I lost my business capital. I could not stand the children starving. After I had spent my capital, I went back to Ibadan to sell my uncompleted building. I began to bear a lot of burdens in the family while Muri showed no sign of stopping his life of infidelity. Daily he treated me with disregard and beat me up most times. I didn’t know why he treated me that way. The only reason I could think of was that I gave him only girls.

When Muri realized that I had sold my house in Ibadan, he began to ask me for money. Of course I gave him and he never stopped asking until the money finished. When he figured out the money had finished, he simply disappeared. Just last year he reappeared with a letter of divorce and drove me and my children out of his house, a house I helped him build. In spite of all my efforts to make the marriage work, and my money which he wasted, he still had the guts to drive us out and quickly sold the house. He betrayed my trust, my love, wasted my time and all the efforts I invested in the marriage. When I sit down to take stock of my life, I see that I wasted my time with him. He was after my money from the beginning. To be able to wake up and face a new day, I have left everything to God. He will judge Muri and I. He will avenge my cause. Right now, I have gone back to Ibadan to start life all over again. At the moment, I am working as a fuel pump attendant in a filling station so that I and my children can survive. I know that one day, God’s help will locate me. Now I am a Christian. In the midst of my pains, when my light became darkness, Jesus was the only one who stood by my side. I just can’t hold back the tears as I write.

My mind is full of questions. “Will I be able to love again?” “Can I still marry again?” “Is it possible for a single man to find me in my condition and show me true love? Is that possible?” My mind is not on sex right now, please understand me. I am 32 years old and I think I am too young to live alone and bear all these burdens all by myself. I need a shoulder to cry on. I need a listening ear. I don’t know if you understand me. I am dying on the inside. Pain is crushing me on the inside. I cry myself to sleep every night.

The above story was narrated by Halima Okunola (actual name withheld) and was edited by editorial team. Halima is a friend of the house and an avid lover of stories. She needs encouragement for what she has been through. Please be generous with words of encouragement in regard to her story.

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Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - Kaduna State Polytechnic, to study Mass Communication, Ibadan, continue with my education, the rape, how I got pregnant, married, in my marriage with him, my business in Ibadan, to sell my uncompleted building An African Literary Blog
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