Harassment Changed My Life | by Deborah Agboye

I sleep and wake up in silence. I breathe with my stolen voices. I should halt my thought from speaking out. I assumed much damaged would be done and reputations would be damaged. Indeed, a reputation was tarnished but overwhelmingly, it was not theirs but mine.

I googled what this meant, it was too much of stress and drama. All I could bring out from my research was bully, intimidation, fear, submission. Yeah! It all starts with struggles, but submission of ambiguity and uncertainty, thinking it is the appropriate way for us to be treated, and that gradually slides into our soul as a torturous acceptance.

I cried not because it hurt my existence, I cried because I have lost my identity in fighting for what I want. I try to find my soul but it is opaque. My voice was trembling beyond immerse disquietude. What I heard next was come lie next to me. As if devouring my early years was not enough, I still had to sleep next  to the beast in white clothing. No one would believe me if I should make a report concerning what he is doing. I would be mocked and laughed at, and stoned to pain, without any fair hearing. I accepted what has seem to befallen me. I knew this had to end but how? I prayed, even though it seemed like God had forgotten about me. I have written several letters to the T.V station, praying they find my story captivating. They never gave it a second look because no address or name was written at the other end. No one wanted to get stand of a person whose face was hideous. This has to stop but How? Oh lord, sleeping on the same bed was not enough, he spreads his arm around my waist.

Tonight is the night I would finally take matters into my own hands. Finally justice would have to be served. Even if I do not clearly believe in the law anymore, I would consciously take matters into my own hands. I picked up a knife under my pillow and stabbed him for what felt like a million times, because by the time I finally had the time to place my hands on the bed, it felt tremendously heavy. It was the moment I dropped the knife down and cleaned the blood from soaked face that I realized that I just took the life of a man. A prestigious man. I knew mercy was far from my shield, I still had a lot of hope knowing that I had been abused. Who on earth would believe me? Who? All I heard next was siren. I knew gallantly, they were coming for me. I knew it would be the end of my life, so I prepared to end my destiny in a manner where I would never speak again. The police came and saw the murder weapon on my hands. They saw me crying. I think they were as confused as I was. I wanted to tell them I was raped, that I have been getting raped since I was eight years old. The look on their faces told me otherwise. They did not find trouble dragging me to the prison as I was more than willing to end my life. Lawyers came to my rescue but I refused to say anything. It was refreshing that I finally ended the life of that man who killed me Ten years ago.

Silence brought me here. I had every chance to talk, when he raped me countless times; I could have gone to the hospital to be examined. But no one has the time to prove rape cases when corruption has taken over this economy. He was very smart in his own way, telling me to drink one kind of herb to another to flush out every part of him inside of me. It worked because there was a time I was fed up with life, I went to the hospital to get myself examined and tell the whole world what a beast he was. The doctor said he found nothing in me that constitute rape. No force entry, no scratch or tear. Everything was peaceful and beautiful, that was how they define whomever I thought raped me. They thought I was just an angry teen who wanted to get back at her boyfriend. I should have never stopped trying to speak out even though my voice was never heard. I remained quiet and allowed that to go on for years. It affected my academics and I became rebellious towards every opposite sex. It was as if everyone staring at me wanted to get something for me.

Growing up had the hardest days so far, I thought abuse followed me from birth. I was used to seeing mom and dad fight. I saw how dad threw mom punches like as though he was in a boxing ring. He does not stop till she starts to bleed. This continued for those early years I spent with them. Dad died of alcohol poisoning. I did not see mum shed a tear. I think she was happy, she could get a chance to start life all over again. I was also happy because the beatings she received frequently had stopped. I felt mom probably killed dad because if she hadn’t, he would have killed her soon anyways. Her attitude towards me changed. She hardly wanted to see me, saying I was the problem child. She said I reminded her too much of my father. Mom claimed she wanted to start a new life and I was one big obstruction to her new beginning. I cried and begged her not to go but she did. She just abandoned me in an orphanage, and only shows up with money and gifts. I felt that was enough, knowing fully well that she still loves me. She never showed up and I accepted my shadowy fate. I basically learnt one thing from her, you kill when you become defenseless. She was silent and powerless. She had her greatest strength in killing dad, luckily no one would point a finger at her because they all thought the marriage was prefect like she had always painted it to be. Behind all that happened, I suffered the separation, the hurt and the torn family. I endured the bitterness and the guilt. No one understood me. In school, they always thought I was weird, which I sort of contributed to. I always wanted to isolate myself, because I thought no one could understand my pain. I always see people laugh at my unmade hair, sometimes at my dirty socking or torn school bags. If only they could walk in my shoes, they would understand half the burden I carry.

I thought a miracle smiled at me when I was adopted by my foster parents. I thought perhaps, all my prayers have been answered. I thought I could finally find a loving family whom I could somehow call my own. I was so thrilled someone wanted me. I was finally realizing then, that I could still be loved. The feeling of someone wanting me was an aura of passion and love. True, I was shown all the love and spoilt with riches and gifts. I was so happy for the first two years, till puberty began. I was soon able to forget about mom. This new family has covered that hole in my heart. I was dazed I could be loved, and that feeling gave me another sense of humor. If only puberty did not kick in too early, I would have been happy till the end.

I was only doing my assignment on that beautiful couch, when my foster dad saw me with that revealing dress. He looked at me weirdly that day. I should have seen this coming, but I was too little to figure out what was in his mind. His attitude towards me was changing as he stopped seeing me as his daughter but more intimately. It started with a tight hug, to kiss on the cheeks, to helping him scratch his back. Even if most times it made me feel uncomfortable, I just assumed that perhaps he could never hurt me.

Harassment! Yes I was not only harassed sexually, emotionally and mentally which affected by social dexterity. It made me secluded and that made me feel I had no right to be seen or mingled amongst my peers. It made me to think I was not good enough. I felt I was the cause of my problem, maybe something was wrong with my existence. I blamed myself for not speaking out. I blame myself for thinking I could handle it own my own accord. I blame myself for thinking no one would listen to me. I blame myself for thinking that death was what he deserved. Oh! I just wished I had said something, At least I won’t have ended up here in this dark room where ventilation is worth more than life. I did not wish for my life to end this way. Behind all the torture or how hard my life had been, I somehow dream of a prince charming saving me from this hell hole of a life I had been.

Come in here, Tara, as he fondly calls. Now I want you to do to me as you see on the T.V. I stood up like I was told I had passed an exam which of course had never happened to me in ages. I drew myself closer to him, with each step I took. He pulled his trouser and asked me to place my mouth on his manhood. I should be irritated but I was not. I was just 18 and this seem like a frequent routine already. Somewhere in his mind he thought I liked it. He called me a bad girl most of the times, he had forgotten that he had killed any sort of pride I have left in me as a Woman. After I gave him what he demanded for, I just could not take it any more. He has stolen my innocence. He has stolen my existence and my being. I am just walking on a surface hoping I would die. I picked up the knife and stabbed him till I feel no sense of pain anymore.

I gave her my journal, so she could read my stories. In the end I wanted to end my life even if I had been freed from prison. The lawyer really fought for me and I ended up out. My story is not surprising in the society but it is quiet alarming, rapes, diseases and pregnancy has been reported mostly from age 13-19 years. Teens are not speaking up because the society has proved to be untrustworthy. Even parents doubt children. They assume that it is easy to say you have been abused. They do not know the number of struggles we had to go through to speak up and when we finally do, 6% of parents would assume you are right and the remaining 94% will think you are just been a child.

At schools mostly, Teens are harassed by the principals, even male teachers. This has to stop. You will see them talk about abuse in school assemblies, while they are the devil in sheep clothing. Even at work, superiors harass subordinates. This just has to stop!

I began my life again, campaigning on Teen Silence and thousands of teen had so much to talk about. Wow! Staying silent kills faster than a straight bullet.


About the Writer

Agboye Deborah

 

My name is Agboye Deborah Praise. A student of the University of Lagos, 200L Actuarial science, faculty of Business Administration. I am an aspiring writer. I love to read, write, and adore new experiences. My enviable talent is acting coiled with rapping. Writing is a way I explore life in different dimensions. I appreciate challenges and enjoy competitions.

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