I don’t want to sound like a broken record, yes. But no matter my intro to this writing, some might feel like they’ve had enough of all these. Honestly, there’s no such thing as enough when it comes to experiencing a life-altering moment.
This is a quick story of a girl who only wanted to be as happy and expressive as a child could hope for. She thought if only she could do the right things at the right time, she’ll be well on her way to finding fulfilment. What she didn’t factor in was how something that chose her would determine quite a lot about her life, HER GENDER. She didn’t choose to be a girl, but that alone would determine how far she’d go.
She struggled as a child with knowing what exactly “right thing ” meant. Mummy says be respectful and never to be rude then again it changed to run when you’re touched. Be friendly, but when he gets too friendly, avoid him. At some point, it changed from don’t come off too strong to try to defend yourself. As a girl, the right thing kept changing, day after day.
She got into the university and she had a lot to look forward to. There was a lot she had been told that they said will keep her safe from predators. The list was endless, from dressing decently, being respectful, being close to God, taking studies seriously and on and on. She listened but didn’t know she’ll be tested so early.
With the constant ringing of the advice in her ears, she did all the right things. But, why was she cornered to the wall of her room with his hand choking her and the other fondling with her clothes? He was her neighbour. As she kept begging him to stop, she wondered what she had done wrongly. Did I greet him too much? Was I too loud? Was it my dressing? Whatever it is, she thought to herself, she’ll correct it. The neighbour-cum-predator finally let her go, whatever the reason was, she was grateful.
She thought she had to re-evaluate things, maybe she had to add to the list of “right things”. So she chose the three angled life; home-school-fellowship, no space for more. She couldn’t afford to let go of her inhibitions, too much was at stake.
It worked for her, until one night. She thought she woke up from a bad dream, quite the contrary, it wasn’t a dream, it was real. She was on her way back from school, trying to get her project work ready for submission the next day when she was waylaid. It wasn’t something anyone could have prepared for. That should’ve been enough but she was wrong, they wanted more. Begging just won’t do this time, so she fought. She couldn’t wait to be saved, maybe she could be her own deliverer this time.
It got rough, she got tougher, but it just didn’t do. Backed to the wall, hands pressed down on her neck and everything went bleak. What had she not done right again? Maybe it’s a flashback or a deja-vu. But this wasn’t her room or her neighbour, this was an uncompleted building and this time, a stranger.
Something had to break, she thought and she did. She felt free and right, the predator-cum-stranger didn’t exist in this new place. She’s awake now, glad to be finally done with that dream but as she feels for her bed her hands meet sand. There had to be a reason why she was not on her bed in the middle of the night or why her clothes were not in place or why her eyes felt swollen. She was hurting everywhere but the heaviest hurt was from a place she couldn’t feel or see; her mind. What did I do wrong? What didn’t I do enough? She asked.
These questions are what rape victims and survivors ask themselves. It’s like a constant drum beating in their heads. They didn’t choose to be victims or preys, No. Rather the predators/rapist chose for them. Let’s not join the wrong side of the field with our words, silence is better in such cases. If you can only afford to question the victims and not the rapist, then we’d appreciate that you just be quiet.
She didn’t choose to be a female.
She didn’t choose to be a victim.
Stop the questions.
She’s doing enough of that already.