The day I almost got raped

SINGLES MATTER with ChinyereDistinguished

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Recently, there has been a frightening increase in rape cases across our country, Nigeria. Also, more people are opening up on their rape or near rape experience – which is a good thing, because silence empowers rapists.

Sadly, rape apologists always find a way of blaming rape victims, rather than convicting the rapists. This is the reason most victims keep quiet; no one wants to be victimized.

However, if anyone should be victimized, it is the rapist; not the victims.

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Nothing, whatsoever, justifies or excuses a rapist.

In 2016, I was almost raped by a supposed Honourable member of the House of Reps in Abuja. And for months, I blamed myself for putting myself in such a position. However, when I realized that what happened wasn’t my fault in any way, I reported to the right spiritual and human authorities, and justice was served, albeit discretely.

I’m sure you’re eager to hear the story. I’ll tell you about it shortly as you read on.

In July 2016, I had an appointment with a member of the House of Reps. He’d posted on Facebook that he needed some bloggers to work with, I indicated interest and we agreed to meet. Though he was a total stranger, I was willing to attend the meeting because I’m not averse to strangers or opportunities that could boost my career or visibility.

We had the meeting at a highbrow unmarked restaurant in Maitama, then proceeded to a chalet in Wuse 2. I bet you’re wondering why we went to a chalet. I was wondering, too.

When we left the restaurant, it was raining heavily so I couldn’t get a cab to go home. Have I mentioned that before I came for the meeting, the Honourable had told me that I wouldn’t go back to my house after the meeting? That I’d follow him to the club then go home with him? I’d plainly told him that I don’t go clubbing, neither would I follow him to his house because I am a Christian, engaged to be married and live with my elder sister. He’d simply said okay and I assumed that that settled it.

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Prior to this time, before and during my NYSC year in Abuja, I’d met and became friends with some politicians, some of whom were Alhajis, and we sometimes met in hotels, chalets or restaurants. And nothing funny ever happened even when we met in hotel rooms – alone. I always made my stance clear and they always honoured my wish. No amount of money or treat has ever swayed me. Hence, the Honourable saying he wanted to spend the night with me didn’t frighten me; I was used to such amorous statements from men like him and I’ve managed to remain good friends with most, without giving in to their demands.

Back to this interesting day in July 2016, when we left the restaurant in Maitama, I thought the Honourable was driving me to a place where it’d be easier for me to get a cab since it was raining and our meeting was over. Plus I’d emphatically said that I needed to return to my house ASAP.

When we arrived at the chalet, I didn’t get the memo because he asked me to remain in the car while he went inside. He returned some minutes later and asked me to follow him. When we got to the reception, I saw the receptionist give him a bunch of keys and that was when it dawned on me that fish was in the neighbourhood.

I became a bit scared but I refused to show it. I knew we were in Wuse 2 but I didn’t know exactly where. I didn’t even catch the name of the place. It was raining, remember?

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The people at the reception saw two of us walk in as a couple so I didn’t want to draw unnecessary attention to myself or embarrass the Honourable. Like a sheep to the slaughter, I followed him to the room and desperately prayed to God to deliver me. Once we entered the room, he locked the door and seized my two phones. Next thing, he started some stupid sweet talk about his desire to marry me and take care of me for life.

This dude was 51 years old, married, a father and was supposed to be an Honourable member of the House of Representatives!

That night was my closest shave with rape. Thankfully, God in his infinite mercies saved me. Nothing terrible happened, not even a kiss on my lips. But it was the most horrid 45 minutes of my life. I couldn’t even shout; I could only laugh and shed tears at the same time.

You bet that we didn’t get to work together anymore – the supposed primary reason for the meeting.

It took me months to recover from that shock. When I did, I spoke to the right people who could handle the matter. And they did.

As a Single, if you’ve ever been raped and you somewhat blame yourself, please let this truth liberate you; the rape was not your fault.

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Speak up!

To the right persons.

Through the right channels.

There are a number of NGOs and other agencies who are willing to take up the case and fight for you.

Again, nothing justifies rape. And the victim is never to blame.

Till I come your way again next Thursday, please stay safe and stay connected to the only true source of love – God.

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CHINYEREDISTINGUISHED CHIMEZIE (nee ANOKE) is an Award-Winning Author of three fast-selling books: SINGLE, FRUITFUL, FULFILLED, TURNING 28 and 29 LESSONS AT 29.

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