Every year in April, organizations and individuals come together to raise awareness about sexual assault and how to be of help. In this article, we asked women in our email list to tell us the most unlikely places they have been assaulted at. Here’s what they had to say:
It was in a danfo. I was in Js 1. The man that sat beside me would use his right hand to scratch under his left arm while using his elbow to rub my breasts. It was weird. I tried to shift but he would come closer and do the same thing. It happened twice on my way to school and it was the same man. The first time I couldn’t get away from him till I got to my stop but the second time, I was able to move to another row. When I got down, I was happy I was able to get away so I brought out my tongue to tell him ntoo. I told my mum about it when I got home and she said I should have screamed at him.
I think it’s funny how when you get assaulted, you are sometimes too shocked to even react. In November 2020, I was on my way to the bank on the mainland and because I wanted to get there faster, I decided to use a bike. I got on the bike and told the bike man the bank I was trying to find. As I was talking to him, another person climbed the bike too. I complained and the bike man told me it was normal, besides I was going to alight before the man.
On our way, I felt a bulge pressing hard against me. I kept trying to adjust but this man slipped his hand underneath my shirt and was trying to touch my waist beads. I immediately told the bike man to stop. I was too shocked to even react — I was crying. The bike man asked what the problem was and I narrated it to him in Hausa. The bike man was angry and he told the man to come down before he caused a scene. The man came down and the bike man took me to the bank. On the way, he kept apologizing. Till today, I still feel uncomfortable when I have to use a bike now.
Last year, I was raped in my own room. I am a radio presenter. I had a colleague who I used to work with before I changed stations. We had had sex twice in the past but I didn’t enjoy it because he was rough. Months after I left where we used to work together, he messaged me saying he missed me and would like to know if I was down for a sleepover. I had turned him down many times before but that faithful Wednesday in October 2020, I agreed to let him sleepover on the condition that we won’t have sex. He agreed and said that he missed talking to me. I believed him.
He got to my house by 10:30 pm that Thursday. I told him before he came that I had to be up the next day at 5 am and he was okay with me going to bed by 11 pm but that’s when the nightmare started. I shared my small bed with him and he knows that I am a cuddle bunny so he offered to cuddle me till I fall asleep. I agreed because I thought he would respect the no-sex rule I had set but he started trying to fondle my boobs. I wiggled out of his embrace and I held my body in a way that he couldn’t get under my blouse but he kept trying. When he realized he couldn’t touch my breasts, he went for my butt and vagina. I remained curled in the most uncomfortable position instead of telling him to stop because I was too stunned.
His hands eventually found a way into my pants but I removed his hands and laid on my chest to stop him but he took that as an invitation to sex. He got up, undressed and proceeded to penetrate me from behind. He did not even use a condom. I was stunned for few seconds but I was able to gather myself and push him away. I ran to the bathroom where I peed and started crying. I was struggling to process what had just happened and it was already late into the night. I managed to get some sleep amid frightful dreams.
I confronted him when I was ready to go to work and he was about to leave. His response was “I’m ashamed of myself.” After work, I came home to my room and cried my eyes out. By evening, I was feeling suicidal. I blocked him on WhatsApp but unblocked him on Saturday to talk about everything that happened and he said “Stop trying to paint this as a rape incident. I didn’t rape you. Sorry if that’s what you think but I didn’t rape you”. I asked him if in the past when we had sex if I was ever unresponsive to touch and he said no. I asked why he assumed that my unresponsiveness this time meant that I wanted it despite everything that I had told him before he came over and he kept mute. I blocked him on every social media platform after that conversation.