Saturday, June 29, 2019 6:52 pm
By Funmi Peter Omale
I really detest doing this, but I think it’s high time I did. The social media has become a powerful tool in calling out the good and the bad, in celebrating and mourning, in influencing for positives and negatives, and on and on.
I think it was high time we had a #MeToo kind of campaigns in Nigeria. Because there are so many rich men, publishers, politicians, pastors, editors, celebrities and people in high places who have abused their positions grooming and/or abusing vulnerable young persons and even not so young persons. And this cuts across all strata of our society, and victims are both women and men.
Many of these of course have remained unreported, mostly for fear of not being believed. And fear of being blamed. I make bold to say I know all these, because I was a victim. (The first being when I was only 10 years). I am not ready to share all the details here (I only ever told Peter a bit before we got married)
In fact, it was just recently I shared my experiences with my big sister. I have also shared with a friend what her trusted friend who is now a pastor did when we were in the university.
Listen, you can not understand, except you’ve been through it. It is the most humiliating experience when someone you trust and respect start doing stuff you didn’t like. All you can do is just avoid being alone with that person, or just run away as fast and far as you can. Do not allow these bad people define who and what you are. You just want to move on with your life.
After my husband died, I have had really bad experiences of close friends, including a pastor of his who wanted to or actually took advantage of my situation. (they know themselves, God knows and sees them) I have had a boss who wanted to “help” me pay my children school fees, but ended up assaulting me. Who is gonna believe me? I have had a boss who wanted to help me advance in my career, but I have to be his “secret girlfriend”. Because I refused, I paid dearly for it! (My birthday is next week, maybe I will use that opportunity to name some of them!)
Listen, work out your own righteousness and leave others to do theirs. Nobody should defend anyone that has been serially called out for being a sexual predator by not one or two, but several women.
No man or woman, would stake his or her integrity and credibility for cheap fame and say they were sexually assaulted or molested. It takes so much to do that. It is a means to an end; it is finding healing and closure for the trauma one has gone through and hurt and maybe hate you have had to carry around inside of you. While you plaster smiles on your face, just wanting to get on with life and not allowing what was not your fault or choice to define you.
As a parent, I have taught and still tell my children, do not ever allow any stupid uncle, auntie, boss, friend or whatever to take advantage of you in anyway. I taught them, if you have to visit, go with a friend.
I mean, after I told Peter, he made me promise that together, we’d never allow our children to go and spend holidays with extended families on both sides. Plus, never ever to allow his children to sit on any body’s lap or give hugs! There were other funny rules he made. But I can understand his palpable fear in this broken world of us. And I did keep to that promise, until they were of age.
Over the years, I have had to receive therapies because of all those bad experiences that I pushed behind me that I never had closures for. Now I’m at peace, I can speak openly about my experiences, the brokenness and reproach of being a young widow and especially of how God has helped me and my children all the way, after their dad died in 2001.
I have learnt and accepted that you should never allow the bad behaviour others to define you. It is never who you are; it is WHO THEY ARE!
I will walk tall because I didn’t do anything wrong being who I am and what God has made me. I didn’t ask to be hurt, touched inappropriately. No I didn’t. Sometimes, I only asked for help.
Your identity is being a survivor; mine is being a survivor through the grace of Lord Jesus Christ. That is my identity, He is my worth. No more shame.
Please I am not begging for pity partying, or looking for any sorry comments. I’m really past that stage. All is forgiven. My write up is to identify with #BusolaDakolo.
-Funmi Peter Omale writes from the UK.