Sexual abuse and molestation in Nigeria is something we are all used to as females. A guy can boldly and shamelessly share the story of how he forcefully had sex with a number of girls to a mixed audience of male and female, young and old. Instead of the expected outburst from the audience, especially the female ones, don’t be surprised when you get nothing but boisterous laughter and such comments as ‘serves the bitch right’, ‘what was she even doing alone with you?’, ‘if they won’t give you freely, you take by force, after all, you are the man’ and that ends that.
Rape in Nigeria is often the fault of the victim and therefore there is nothing to discuss or fight for, they ask for it. And so the culture of silence continues, we feed it and nurture it, all of us. We nurture it by not speaking up, by not supporting the victims, by shaming the victims, by pretending and accepting it as a norm.
I searched for #MeToo Nigeria on twitter and I came up with mostly lamentations of how it just cannot work in Nigeria – which is probably true, but can’t we just try a bit?
No, I have never been abused by a celebrity of any sort, but yes, I have suffered sexual molestation. In fulfillment of my promise in my last post, here goes…
My first gory experience with rape was after my university when I was looking for a better job than the one I had. He was my school mate in elementary school, I met him again as a course mate and the president of my departmental students’ Union in the university. He became my friend and the brother I didn’t have. This relationship continued even after school and we graduated into family friends.
My crime however, was that I pleaded with him to assist me in getting a better job, nearer home to which he gladly agreed. And when we met to discuss this issue, Buli, my friend felt that if he should help me, then I must have sex with him and when I said NO, he saw no other alternative than to forcefully have his way. He was a married man at the time, still is, with kids he adore, he is a church minister’s son. He was my friend, my brother from another mother, and he raped me and I did nothing about it aside feel sorry for myself and angry at him and myself in addition to dealing with the guilt.
My second experience with rape was just a couple of years back; you would think I would have been smarter by then. Ben used to share a shop with his brother in my cousin’s compound and my cousin’s house happened to be my second home. He was a likeable and trustworthy guy whom my cousin could entrust her shop and home to any time. He asked me out countless times and I politely declined each time. When I moved far away from home, we stopped communicating and I felt he was fed up with me. But when I relocated back home, he became a regular visitor in my mum’s home.
He invited me to his apartment several times and I declined but my cousin told me that since he was a nice person whom we all knew, that there was nothing untoward in going to his apartment. I visited him one afternoon. After the pleasantries, Ben began to list my sins for me, how I had declined his advances for so many years, how he had loved me for ages without my reciprocating. I apologized and explained to him again that I declined because I did not love him and we began to argue back and forth. Then he gave me the verdict that I cannot leave his apartment till I had given him sex. I guess that was my punishment and payment for all my atrocities. He locked his doors and took the keys, telling me that even the shouting spree I wanted to embark on would not help me as no one was around to hear me. After all the drama, Ben succeeded in sexually abusing me.
Maybe this would have helped. I think I need some lessons in taekwando.
Say No to Sexual abuse
BE HAPPY WHERE YOU ARE
Most times, when I write on this blog, I am talking to me first, before anybody else. I need to hear these things more than you or anybody else, so when I write them out they are alive in my brain, they become more real and it is easier to remember that way.
So I recently listened to the American ‘smiling Preacher’, Joel Osteen, speaking about trying to be happy where you are while waiting for the next step, for a better tomorrow and I felt like he was talking to me. After all, when you think of it, most of our lives is spent waiting – you wait to walk, talk, go to school, get a job, marry, bear children, one phase at a time. Indeed, why not be happy while waiting since half out time is spent waiting?
Are you seeing the implications? If you are not happy while waiting, it means that half the time, you are sad, angry and depressed. We worry about this and that, there is always something that is not the way we would like it to be, things are never perfect so we spend our lives in an endless stream of worry and anxiety. I do not suggest that you cease hustling to attain your goals and make your dreams come true, no, it simply means relishing what you have, appreciating where you are, while happily pursuing your dreams and aspirations.
The funny thing is that once we get that which we seek at a particular point, we move right on to the next, forgetting to pause and appreciate our conquest. Where is the joy in that? We start immediately to pursue another, to worry and fret when it does not come as wished. We have no time to enjoy our lives, to enjoy the ‘little’ we have while hustling and waiting for the next.
Meanwhile, that which we look down on as ‘little’, to another person, might seem gigantic. That low paying job that you murmur and complain about, you know it is possible that there are hundreds of others around you that would kill for that same job? You complain to your friends about how lame and ugly and slow your spouse is while your friends wish they could have that same person you complain about – irony of life.
I have come to the conclusion that most often than not, our happiness is in our hands, that our attitude is the problem, not the situation itself.
Patience is not just waiting, it is the ability to be happy while waiting.
Happy new week dearies!
“Nothing is as important as passion. No matter what you want to do with your life, be passionate”. – Jon Bon Jovi
What’s your flavor? What’s your passion? Have you discovered it? Are you pursuing it fervently? Or you are yet to discover it?
I think most successful people around the world succeeded because they discovered what they were passionate about and followed that passion with fervor. Imagine if there was no passion, how Thomas Edison would have been able to go through with trying and failing thousands of times before he could succeed at invention of the light bulb as we know it now. That is probably why the Formula one champion, Michael Schumacher said “Once something is a passion, the motivation is there”.
Famous authors like the Danielle Steeles, John Grishams Stephen Kings of this world would not have been able to churn out so much best-selling books without passion. I am sure of that because I know what it feels like. Sitting down over my computer to put one page together can sometimes be an uphill task. Some days, it is only the passion and urge to write that propels one to write at all.
Unfortunately, our Nigerian environment does not allow us to easily pursue our dreams and passions. But I know this is a very essential ingredient in our pursuit of happiness and must therefore be pursued at all costs. In Nigeria, you are fortunate to read a course of your choice because parents and the education system connive most times to push you where you would rather not be. In the job market, insisting on following your passion might leave you jobless and penniless for years if care is not taken. But I’ve read about some great people like Harrison Ford who had to do odd jobs like carpentry before he had a break in acting which was his passion and look where that got him.
If following your passion cannot support you at the beginning, never mind, support yourself with whatever is at your disposal. In good time, you can devote your whole time to that passion. But NEVER allow it to die.
“Passion is one great force that unleashes creativity, because if you are passionate about something, then you’re more willing to take risks.” – Yo-yo Ma.
It will take you to heights you never even dreamed of.
Action and passion work hand in hand. The dreams you have must be acted out with your hands to turn it into reality. Donovan Bailey said,
“Follow your passion, be prepared to work hard and sacrifice, and, above all, don’t let anyone limit your dreams”.
I have friends who are passionately following their dreams and they inspire me to dust mine and activate it too. I think surrounding oneself with such friends and acquaintances help a lot. Some are delving into areas quite opposite to what they studied in school. Lawyer going into fashion and design, scientist veering into show business, accountants turned beauty artists, all in pursuit of their passions, their happiness. What then is stopping you my friend? If you have not discovered your passion, find it, ask people to help you identify it.
Let us shut this down with the words of Barry Williams.
“… The only advice I can offer is to find what you love to do, find the joy in it, and express yourself through your passion”.
TIRED OF LOOKING FOR A JOB…?
Have you been looking for a job as a fresh graduate or you need to augment your income? Then permit me to be a harbinger of good news to you. You have probably heard, read or even seen it before, but I want to lend my voice to the ones you have heard before now.
This is an inspiration I got from one young man, a resource person at a seminar I attended recently. Kolawole Jayeoba is a walking inspiration; every aspect of his life is inspiring. Maybe outlining a little bit about this guy will improve our appreciation of the issue at hand.
At age seven, yes, 7, Kolawole had delved into the business of buying and selling kerosene. According to him, in his village then, people had to travel very far to get to the petrol station. Seeing this need, he went about filling it. He began to buy kerosene in large quantity form this petrol station to come sell in his village, can you beat that? When he was narrating this, my mind travelled back to what I was doing at that age, you don’t even want to know.
By the time Kola was in the university, he was a real business man, anything marketable, from Our Daily Manna booklet to powdered/packaged beans, he was into them. That did not stop him from graduating as one of the best students in his department.
From his NYSC orientation camp in Imo state, he had already started looking for needs to fill and that was how before he finished his one year youth service programme, he had acquired a full functional business centre/cyber café, mentored and taught students on ICT, while doing other businesses, including organizing corporate trainings, even for cleaners!
Now, still within the age range of late twenties to early thirties, your guess is as good as mine on how far Kola has gone in life. He is already an employer of labour, married and living in his own house in the FCT, not an easy feat if you are a youth from a poor background in this country.
What did I learn from this encounter with Mr. Kolawole?
- Opportunities are everywhere, if only we can open our business minds and put on our thinking caps. For instance, the business centre he acquired was situated opposite his place of primary assignment. When he noticed that the place was always locked, he asked around and before you know it, he had met with the owner who he convinced to let him run it. When the business began to boom, the owner decided to sell it to him. It is time to look around us and find that need to fill in our immediate community.
- Passion! We often get asked what our hobbies and talents are, discovering what one is passionate about is a step to self-discovery, a step to financial freedom. The good book said that our talent will make a way for us, is that not why God gave us those talents in the first place? If you love talking, organize seminars, training on topics you are comfortable with. Talk your way into success instead of talking away your time. If you are good at creating things, the world is under your feet because there is no limit to what you can do, just find a niche for yourself. If you do not yet know what you are good at, what you love doing and can do effortlessly – ask your friends, parents, siblings. That maybe where your destiny lies.
- Huge capital is not a sine qua non to financial freedom, that can come as you expand. I was challenged by some of the students, even secondary school students that attended the seminar. They were already running their own small businesses. There are businesses that I learnt one can start with little or no capital. Kolawole narrated to us how he started organizing corporate training for cleaners that work in corporate world like banks and hospitals as a corps member. All he did was walk up to the ogas at the top, convince them of the need to train not just their high ranking staff, but even the cleaners. Funny enough, he had nothing spectacular to teach them, just attitude, work ethics, motivation and the works but he raked in his money and even got offers to do supplies for these organisations. There’s nothing wrong with little beginnings friends.
Lest I begin to bore you, let me rest my case with these summations:
- ACTION! The fruit comes from action, doing not just hearing. You can read this through, listen to the best motivational speakers, but without immediate action on what you learnt, it becomes a waste of precious time. Do not prevaricate and procrastinate, act now, start from where you are, what do you have in your hand? Start with it NOW! You will be surprised what turns up as you begin to put the knowledge you have gathered into action.
- Do not let fear or small, discouraging minds deter you. They will arise, often too, but you just cannot let them distract you, no way. Rather seek out people of great minds that will encourage and mentor you.
- Tame your mind. I have found out that this is one of the hardest tasks to undertake. Our minds are restless, and stubborn, likes to go where it will. To get it to focus on a particular thing at a time is hard but not impossible. It is in focusing that we are able to notice opportunities around us, think up ways to go about it and all what not. Taming the mind is another positive step in self-knowledge and self-improvement. There is no limit to what the mind can achieve if properly tamed. The Bible said that we should guard our minds for out of it flows the good things of life. I recommend this book, BATTLEFIELD OF THE MIND by Joyce Meyer, a great help in this area.
With that out of the way, I rest my case. But I must commend Kolawole Jayeoba for inspiring us, Innocent Idoko and his crew at the Noble Innocent Foundation for organizing this life changing seminar. God bless you guys real good.