When my grandpa used to tell me a decent person doesn’t walk in the night, I used to laugh at him, making him believe he belonged to another age. Many times, I would scoff at his advices and simply turn deaf ears to them. The event of December 1, 2018, made me wish I had heeded my grandpa’s advice, at least the one about the night walking and how it could land one in trouble. I am sure he is looking at me from the terrestrial terrain where he now belongs, either shaking his head for the level of my stupidity even as a young adult or feeling sad he couldn’t leave his place to rescue me from the men that attacked me that night. Whichever way it is, I would still blame myself for what happened. I should have travelled home to my mom as the ASUU strike had turned out to be longer than I had prayed for when it started on November 4, 2018. I decided to stay back here, with the hope of deliberately allowing myself miss home where everyone is watching out for me and I can feel safe. I might felt stupid thinking I should be blamed for getting myself robbed and raped in the same night by the same men, but I still have to tell the story regardless. It’s not in your place to judge me. Worst things have happened to many of you, but you did not have the courage to write or talk about it. For coming out to write this for you to read, I deserve some accolades.
The event of that night is still fresh in my memory. That eventful night, everything and everybody appeared to connive against me. The moon refused to embark on its usual journey across the sky and the road that would normally be walked by many at that time of the night turned out to be deserted. I should have known better that evil lurked ahead as I turned from the main road. There were trees overshadowing the road and there was darkness that the moonlight would have dispel on a regular night. I saw a car parked at the side of the road as I walked confidently, the music of Sia blasting from my headset. My greatest undoing that night was walking with my headset on when I should have put it off. Without it, I would have been able to hear the footsteps of the men that accosted me. If I had heard their footsteps, I would have found a way to take cover, the surest way being running as far as my legs could carry me. Another mistake was not walking with a torch in that part of school even though I have one on my phone. If the torch had been on, I could have seen where they were standing beside the car and they might have been not be very bold to attack me.
Immediately I walked past the car, precisely twenty metres away from it, I felt a hand touched my shoulder. I was very frightened. I stopped and removed my headset immediately. Another guy joined us. They were two against me. They were full of annoying odour of local gin and marijuana. Immediately they started nudging each other, I knew I was in for a big trouble. They made sure I was standing in between the two of them and there was no way I could have run. I was flanked by a long stretch of bushes on my left and a very tall fence on my right. The building that were around were covered by trees and the occupants wouldn’t see properly what was happening on the road. There was no street light which could have made people walking down the main road see us and probably come to my aid. But that itself is doubtful in this part of the world where people are so quick to judge anyone other than themselves. They could have said I deserved everything that was happening to me and walk away like the Jewish priest in the story of the Good Samaritan told by Jesus in the Good Book. Everywhere was still as I felt my heart would jump out of me.
“What do you have in your bag?” the first guy that had touched me asked. I told him I had nothing but my books in the bag. They believed me. “Can we see your phone?” he asked again. I was mute. I unplugged my headset from my phone and threw the phone inside my blouse.
“You can see I can’t let you have it,” I answered him as I adjusted my blouse that was tucked inside my jeans trousers. The two men looked at each other. What followed was a hard slap that almost blinded me. As I was struggling to know which of them had slapped me, I felt a hot palm covered my mouth and the next thing was a blindfold on my face. I let out a muffled cry. But it was not enough for anyone that could have been passing through the main road to hear me. I was powerless against the two men as they took me to the car that was parked along the road fondling and having a field day on my breasts and one of them even threatening to dip his dirty hand in my bra. After all, he said, I have no power to fight back. They stuffed with a large piece of fabric in my mouth and tied my hands to the back forcefully. All this while, my phone was inside my blouse but my bag had been taken away from me. I was taken to the backseat where there was a third guy. Though I couldn’t figure out what I was seeing through the linen blindfold, the voice of this third guy sounded familiar. It was like the voice of a guy I had gone down with at a night club in the heart of Dugbe about three weeks earlier. I wasn’t sure. But the way he appeared at the club the night we met, I knew he was not a well-to-do fellow and it still beats me how I let him had his way with me because I was not really drunk like I always do each time I turned up at the club.
I heard something clicked. Of course, it was a gun though I couldn’t see it. I knew the sound of a gun from the movies I had watched. Just when they had made sure I was lying down and facing up, I felt a hand run through my blouse looking for my phone. My blouse was tucked out and the phone slipped out and was seating on my weak lap. When the guy I had suspected I knew touched me, my suspicion was confirmed. Was he trailing me now? I asked myself. No answer came but the guy with his bad breath trying to kiss me perhaps to turn me on. I sneered and turned my face away. The face was returned to where it was by a soft slap. I was breathing heavily. If you don’t have money, one of them said, we’ll make do with your body.
“You brought this on yourself,” I heard another one say as he undid his belt. The moment that followed was what I couldn’t explain in this piece other than to say I laid helpless as three men had their way with me. They had it all planed and I was just an unsuspecting victim. At each round of forceful intercourse, two of them would go down from the car and continue their smoking as if nothing was happening in the car. When it was time for another to feed himself on my helpless body, the person whose turn it was to go down would make sure I was pinned to the seat until the person that would take over from him was ready and was on top of me.
I had always enjoyed sex with any man of my choice but the one of that night was certainly not enjoyable.
Three men forced their way between my legs and I couldn’t do anything. It was the worst thing I had ever experienced. At some point, I was hoping men from the security unit in the area would just pass by as they go about in their usual night patrol and would rescue me. I thought the road was always dark and security presence there would have increased especially that time of night. But what can one do when roads with lights are often paraded and dark ones are left out? But, everything could have been forestalled if I had not decided to walk in that part of the school where street light are only seen close to the school clinic that was at the end of the road.
After they were done with me, I heard one of them say the time was 10:55pm. Everything that happened was between twenty to thirty minutes. That means I had decided to take the road with a loud music coming from my headset and without a torch around 10:30 pm.
That was not all. The money I had in my bag, about ten thousand naira, was taken away with the bag. My phone was gone and so was my fancy watch. I was left with nothing as I was dropped off at a junction around my hostel.
This is the conclusion of the whole story; make sure you don’t walk in the dark without torch and you must make sure your ears are not blocked when walking through alone in the night. I have learnt my lesson but it seems too late. But whichever way you see it, I am healing because I have the courage to tell my story. Even though you don’t know me, you must commend me. There are many people like me who wouldn’t tell a story like this because of stigmatisation from the society. Let me encourage them that their stories could be told anonymously like I have done.
Peace be upon the minds that will read and learn from this. Shalom!