With the hashtag, #diaryofadamagedAfricangirl, a writer, Tope Delano shares her story of rape, depression and loss. In a series of tweets, Tope shares how her parents strict upbringing contributed to the sad experiences she went through in life as she urged parents to look into how they raise their children.
Let me introduce you to the 32-year-old who was molested between ages of 7 and 11, raped twice, battled depression almost half her life, dealt with post-partum depression, lost 4 persons in a space of 1yr 5 months, and now lives with…
May it is time we finally talk about African parents and their toxic ways of bringing up kids…sadly it’s a circle now and I hope to God it ends now!
We had this tradition back then, my eldest brother would take us all to the beach on Sunday after Church. I enjoyed those times as it made me feel closer to my family until he decided to invite one of his friends to the beach with us.
On this particular day, I change into something comfortable as usual and headed for the waters, he was right in there with me. As the waters got stronger, he tried to act like he was trying to save me and held onto me from behind.
In no time, I felt his hands on my barely there boobs…here was a man I saw as ‘uncle’ touching me inappropriately. I knew this was wrong, but I could not say a word, maybe out of shame or pity.. I kept quiet as this man molested me right there
No one knew anything until last year when I finally opened up to my folks and another elder brother in our block back then…I learnt from him that this ‘uncle’ was accused of doing such to many other kids and he passed a few years ago
You’d think this was it right? if only I knew was just the beginning of my journey into abuse, molestation, violence and what not. Fast-forward to a few years later, I and a couple of block kids headed out for Christmas day greetings..
We arrive at this ‘uncle’s’ house and out of all the kids there, he picked me. I felt happy, I felt special…he picked me out of all the cool kids around…yeah, I grew up not having so many friends, we were practically not allowed out
We were only allowed outside around 4pm, when dad comes home and it was always just outside our flat not downstairs. So from the time we return from school till dad arrives, we were only allowed to peep out the window and watch other kids play or listen to them
while Jesus was being forced on us via the Christian music being played from our old cassette player in the sitting room. I could sing every Don Meon record word for word back then….yup! sHow about
The TV some would ask, yeah, programmes came on around 4 then, so you had the option of watching tv or sitting outside the house with dad…oh how I miss the multi-colored interlude that would first appear back then
So anyways getting the opportunity to go downstairs and be seen was always a big deal…and then he chose me and asked that I sit on his laps, I did and yeah…rest is history….At barely 11, I had been molested twice by men, people around
trusted and no I could not tell anyone…I come from a home where talking about your feelings or finding anyone to do it with IS alien…so no, no one to talk to…you just must do as you are told and never ask questions
Somehow I moved on with life and had now grown into a young person filled with massive low self-esteem. I somehow struggled to live with this, masking it with brilliance in my academics and a sharp mouth…
I had a comeback for every time I was told you ‘you are so ugly or see how pimples full your face’ or ‘you are so fat’…yeah, I was bullied…at a point, I was being described as this in secondary school…’that fat girl with pimples like boil’
Fast forward to 2004, I came back to Lagos after my secondary school and decided to take up a job as a sales girl while I awaited jamb. For the few months, I worked there, I was on almost all the time molested and assaulted by my boss.
At some point, he even tried to rape me…I later found out his niece was being abused by one of his friends right there in his house yet he did nothing to stop it. Anyways, with my boss on my neck, constantly making me feel like trash, I met the one who took my virginity via rape.
There I was daydreaming of this really cute person who saw me and liked me…he actually did like me and in my head, I was already picturing us living like a family and having kids and all…
Minutes later, i sat there begging that we not have sex as I was not ready, you can guess it…it fell on deaf ears and boom Aniette raped me. He came back begging for forgiveness with the story of going to church and all of that shit they say
200level, I was raped with a knife on my back…as he had his way, I laid still praying that he not mistakenly stab me or I not move too much and have a knife finding its way into my body…I just laid there as numbness took over…
What did this man want, money…I had none, I was a broke student who rarely spoke to people around….but somehow he found his way into my room and raped me….when he was done, I got up, wore my jean and just kept walking…I had no idea where I was headed
I just kept walking until I finally stopped. Then I took a bike to my then BF’s place…he took me to a hospital for God knows what and I stupidly followed as I felt he knew what he was doing…there and there I experienced what someone has now explained to be how abortion is being done…
my insides were literally being diced with equipment all in the name of the doctor wanting to clean my insides….I was in massive pain
By the time he was done and we headed out, i saw my so called bf walking faster as he did not want people to know we were together, all the ‘I love you’s ‘ and shii, lol..he explained later on he was well known in the area and didn’t want people
To see us together….lwkmd….as my friend would say, ‘love kee you there tope.’ university was a blur, I was literally just surviving. I preferred to be in my house all alone, I hated having people around or going to people’s homes
Feb 2017, I lost my inlaw, April, I lost a pregnancy, same month I lost my job and another in a space of weeks. As if this wasn’t enough, I lost another person, not to death but to the society…as if this wasn’t enough, may 2018, I lost another person to cancer…So why didn’t she see a therapist? Yup i did, and she called me ‘DAMAGED GOODS’
I have made peace with my past and can only believe the future will be better…to every African parent out there now i hope we learn from this and the million other stories out there…kids these days are way smarter
Depression is real and struts its stuff in broad daylight, enough with the ‘las las everybody go dey alright,’ enough with the ‘snap out of it, enough with it, ‘my story is worse,’ no one is competing when someone wants to talk, just listen.
Now check these out:
“I Remind Myself That I Am My Parent’s Legacy So I Try To Stay Focused On My End Game Which Is To Be Better Than I Was Yesterday” – Chigoziem Emereuwa On Surviving The Loss Of Her Parents And Siblings