It is no longer news that rape cases are on the increase.
Neither is it news that fathers and caregivers and many times, close family members or friends have often been fingered as culprits in these rape cases. Many times when we read the newspapers and see headlines that scream for our attention on rape, we hiss and move over to the next story. It seems as if we have seen and read it all before or maybe we have become inured to cases like these because each story seems to be the same with just a few twists and turns to make it slightly different.
But the fact remains that no matter how common-place and trite these cases appear to be, rape is a crime. A serious crime we ought not to allow in any decent society.
I had one of such cases thrown in my face weeks back. Lately, I have got too lazy to do many things for myself, I sought help through an agent for a cleaning lady and one was promptly sent to me. A very shy young girl I suspect should be no more than 19 years.
“Just come in three times during the week,” I said to the girl standing before me as I pointed to the dusty places plus the bathrooms and toilets.
“How old are you?” I asked. She hesitated.
“Nai…eighteen,” she eventually mumbled.
“Huh? Which one is it, 18 or 19?”
She mumbled something again.
Aha, this one isn’t sure of her age, I said to myself and good thing age isn’t what I was concerned about. 18 or 19 works fine for me.
“You don finish school?” I asked her as she made her way slowly around the house attempting to clean up.
“No…yes ma,” was another feeble reply I got.
“Just clean, huh? Clean the house,” I said and I went back to my work.
Two days later, I got a call from the agent who sent the girl to me.
“She’s pregnant,” he announced.
“These children!” I howled into the phone as images of me back to sweeping and cleaning flashed through my mind. I became angry with her. But the agent was not done.
“She was raped!”
That didn’t add up. When was she raped? I was later to find out that the girl had been raped late last year but was probably too stupid to realise the enormity of her situation. She also probably didn’t even know she was pregnant.
Yes, I know you’ll say, there’s no way she shouldn’t have known. Truth is, these kids behave like adults but they are mostly naïve. She was coming home from work late one night, somewhere in Abeokuta, when she was ambushed and she foolishly assumed a one case rape by two men she said she couldn’t identify wouldn’t get her pregnant.
Why didn’t you report the case to your parents? Or any older person?
“I told my friend.”
“Didn’t you notice you weren’t seeing your period?
“My period doesn’t come regularly, so I didn’t realise that I was pregnant.”
Yeah, one as foolish as you, huh?
Her mother left her father shortly after she was born, then her father handed her over to his aged mother. Both parents remarried, relocated and left her with the granny in Abeokuta who died late last year.
So, with no mother or father to talk to, she kept the shame to herself and her foolish friend and both didn’t realise their silence would cost her anything until she came to Lagos a few weeks back to live with her estranged mother and her new family.
Mother noticed her odd behaviour, threatened her and when she finally confessed, mother threatened to send her back to Abeokuta as she wasn’t ready to raise a bastard.
So agent turns to me, “Madam, please help us.”
“Help how, dem tell you say I get NGO?”
At this point, I wanted her to go do a scan, let’s even be sure how far gone she was, she wasn’t even precise about the date of the so-called rape.
Scan came, she’s five months gone!
Abort a five months pregnancy, are you nuts?
But she needs help.
It’s obvious. Her mother won’t take her, her father won’t even pick her calls, grandma passed away last year and this young life is on the precipice.
Help came. The PBO foundation (Pastor Bimbo Odukoya Foundation) came to our rescue.
They listened to her story, they called her mother to counsel her. They got both mother and daughter to learn to love one another again as both were virtually strangers. They will care for the girl and her pregnancy until she delivers but they need help. Help from you and I.
Why can’t the woman care for her own child, wasn’t it her negligence that got everyone here in the first place?
“I can’t keep her in my house.” her mother insists. “I’m pregnant, too.”