This nonsense must stop

Yesterday, I confessed to my friends that till I met my boyfriend, all the guys I dated had some kind of forceful sexual intercourse with me. Ladies, you know what I’m talking about- the kind of sex where you don’t want to do it but he wants to and so he pounds away and you come out with bruises and tears. I thought I was alone but surprisingly, all my friends shared similar experiences. And that got me incensed. I’m pissed off that this is happening to so many girls in Ghana, Africa and the world at large. This nonsense must stop. I have reproduced my friends’ stories below. Feel free to share your own experiences and views in the comments section.

Afia’s story: Mr. O was the first boss I interned for while in university. He was 40 years, married with two kids and I was 20 years old. He would send me flirtatious texts and I felt flattered because my boss had a crush on me! One day, after office hours, he asked me to come into his office. When I sat down, he started telling me how he’d been pursuing me for a long time and asked me to take my clothes off. I didn’t want to do it but he was insistent. He said, ‘Afia, if you don’t take it off I will’. I took it off and he slept with me on the carpet. I wasn’t a virgin but he hurt me that day because he was rough and I really didn’t want sex. After that day, he slept with me whenever he wanted- I didn’t protest. I was such a child; I didn’t even demand anything except asking him to buy me ice-cream and pizza.

Stella’s story: I lost my virginity to my friend’s elder brother when I was in secondary school. I used to visit him in his university room and he gave me a card and teddy-bear for Valentine’s Day. Sometimes I’d let him kiss and fondle me and I was really in love with him but I wasn’t ready for sex. The day it happened, all his roommates left the room with some excuse as soon as I entered. Maybe, he told them what was going to happen? He started kissing me and that felt good but when his fingers snaked into my panties I felt uncomfortable so I said ‘Bro. K, I don’t like that’ (I actually used to call him ‘Bro.’ lol). He said ‘stop acting like a little girl, erh, what did you think coming into my room in that mini skirt?’ He eventually had sex with me and it was really painful. I cried when it was all over but I dated him for a year after that because I loved him.

Nkechi’s story: When I was in law school in Nigeria, I worked for a reputable law firm in Lagos and one of the partners kept asking me out but I wasn’t interested because he was married. We had our firm party in Christmas and I drank too much and became unsteady. There was no way I could go home in that state. He must have noticed the state I was in because in a flash, he signaled to me and told me, ‘Nkechi, you can’t go home like this now’ and then he made his secretary book a nearby hotel room for me and asked his driver to take me there. Almost as soon as I checked into the room, the door knob turned and there was this partner! He said ‘Ah hah, now I’ve captured you Nkechi!’ He had sex with me that night. I didn’t want to have sex but I was too drunk to push him off me.

Dela: My boyfriend in university broke my virginity forcefully. We had dated one year without sex and maybe that pissed him off because he claimed all his friends were screwing their babes regularly? One day when I visited him at home during vacation, he held down my hands and started pulling off my clothes, kissing me to keep me from protesting and then had sex with me. He married someone else a year later.

28 comments On This nonsense must stop

  • Wow.. So many not so subtle forms of rape we seem to be allowing.. I have had a similar experience to the girl in the mini skirt. I was alot younger, but still.. There has to be a way to enforce our NOs. Any ideas anyone?

  • @ Ozohu, it’s totally unfortunate that you had a similar experience to the girl in miniskirt. I’m sure most women reading this can identify with at least one story & that’s really very sad.

  • Sadly, I believe this is the way most women in Africa probably lose their virginity. I had always hoped for the candle light, chocolate and roses scene that M&B sold me as a preteen, but it was not so.

    Apart from a good old fashioned, knife fight, I don’t see how to stop this form of pervasive rape in our culture. You’re young, you think you’re in love, and this guy is on top of you telling you if you love him, you’ll have sex with him. I guess the only thing to be done is to advise our young women to determine their self worth early, try not to find themselves alone with a guy if he has been hinting at sex for a while, and fight like hell if he tries to pin you down and force you to do something you don’t want to.

    True love doesn’t hurt.

  • I am so glad this wasn’t my experience!So, SO GLAD.

  • 🙁 🙁 🙁 This saddens me…capturing and sharing our stories can be an important form of healing and taking back control. Thanks Ekuba for speaking to your friends and also sharing their stories with us.

  • @ Malaka: Very wise words. An early determination of self-worth will certainly arm many young women with the assertiveness they need to fight such situations.
    @ Nnenna: trust me, you’re one of the lucky ones! Thank goodness you didn’t have such an awful experience.
    @ Nana Darkoa: and thank you for providing me with the platform to share my friends’ experiences with the hope of encouraging others. Almost all of them have read the post now and will post their comments sometime during the day.

  • Very interesting experiences.I sincerely believe I have experienced all of the above @ a point in my life,sad innit?never considered it as rape tho,just one of those.
    Now I know better and I have learnt to say an emphatic ‘NO’ and damn the consequences!
    PS:totally unrelated but does the number above 10 for a lady in terms of sexual partners make her a slut?say as in 30?too loose?how do u conveniently reduce?

  • It’s quite unfortunate that you have experienced all of the above incidents. Very sad indeed. I have experienced some of it and I never considered it as rape because I thought it was just ‘part of being a woman’. But I’ve now learnt that so long as you don’t give your consent and are coerced, it’s rape. I’m glad you’ve learnt to say no.
    My 2 cents on the number of people a woman (or anyone) has slept with is that it doesn’t matter. Some people will have sex with just one person till they die, others will sleep with more people. It is all due to the circumstances we find ourselves in & no one has the right to judge another. For example, people see prostitutes by the roadside & condemn them forgetting that most of them are there because they can’t even get food to eat. Let me ask you, if we all had to go hungry for days, how many of us wouldn’t explore the option of prostitution just to survive? You see what I mean? So the number of people we have slept with doesn’t make us angels or demons.

  • These stories are so disturbing and heartbreaking. I know so many women whose first sexual experiences were assault.

  • Oh gosh!!! dis is awful and got to stop.
    @ Ekuba: thanks for posting these stories to create awareness and boost up women’s confidence and guts to say NO when she thinks no and make herself heard and understood.
    And sorry to all the women who had to go through these abuses.
    Much love.

  • @ Nina: yes, it’s truly sad indeed. But what’s empowering is that it doesn’t have to go on anymore & we can do something about it by speaking up about it!
    @ Kora: truly awful, I’m very grateful to the women who gave me their permission to share their stories. I hope that it inspires a woman somewhere to know that she doesn’t have to put up with abuse.

  • This is really sad. Hmm… Can we have some mace and pepper spray , please? The saddest thing about this being what many women experience is that most have to keep it as a ‘dirty secret’ and sometimes never heal (emotionally). It’s one of the reasons I’m glad this website exists. Sometimes realizing you are not alone in your experience is enough to start the healing process.

  • @ gu8sie: I absolutely agree with you. Sometimes, like you, I wish more women had access to mace & pepper sprays but I am painfully aware that it would never occur to most women who are attacked in this way to attack back because they do not realize that they are being sexually assaulted since the culprit is their boyfriend or friend or boss etc.

  • From a guys point of view, it comes down to the mindset of society as a whole in Ghana. My personal experience with my brief stint in secondary school in Ghana was that; it was widely accepted and “no most of the time means yes.” Granted, this was in the early 90’s but reading comments on other blogs and news sites clearly shows that the sentiment still exist. I think the best way to erradicate this problem is treating it like MADD has with drunk driving. A lot of in your face campaigns, education, pressuring men in power to step up and join the cause.

  • @ Nana: you’re absolutely right. A massive ‘in your face’ campaign can be most effective in dealing with societal problems. For eg, I must say that I’m very impressed with the Ghana AIDS commission’s heart to heart campaign since it has helped to reduce stigma towards persons living with hiv/ aids in Ghana. A similar campaign by the Ministry for Gender, Children & social protection against the culture of rape/ sexual assault would be very beneficial.

  • Men have had their way for far too long in our society and need re-education. If you cannot learn to control urges you are not a man, but a male specie just like any animal. Reading the experiences above is difficult. They happen, but both men and women should be careful about such situations that could motivate such madness. But education, education, education is the answer. A law was passed to deal with this but it is increasingly being used negatively for blackmail by some.

  • @ Roots4life: you are absolutely right o! We all need education on these matters. Too many men (unfortunately especially from our part of the world) think that they are entitled to sex from any woman who’s pleasant to them. Just today, I had such an experience! I’m in school in a foreign country & made the mistake of allowing a West African man in my school here to visit me once (& since I was about to have dinner when he came, I gave him food as well). Afterwards, he started acting funny, demanding a hug, lying on my bed, saying he was going to spend the night there etc. so I had to let him leave. Can you believe that this morning at 8am (which is practically dawn in some Western countries as you know), he turned up @ my door without even calling before, claiming that ‘he was passing through my area’ & felt he should visit me! I refused to open the door & this has taught me to be more alert & assertive with men around me. Hmm.

  • LOL@Ekuba
    So for all the women, where/what place would you feel comfortable going after a guy forces themselves on you? As in to report it or get help?

  • ‘Alert and assertive’ – That is the way to go in all circumstances. You never know who is the next moron in line. Fun should not lead to hurt. Take the steps carefully.

  • @ Nana: hmmm, you’ve asked a very important question. Speaking from a personal experience, I wouldn’t feel comfortable reporting after a man assaults me. Some years ago, I was visiting a friend at his apartment when we were attacked by armed robbers & I was sexually assaulted. I didn’t report it because a female friend of mine who reported a rape told me she went through a lot when she reported- she spent a long time in a government hospital where a test was performed on her with cold, metallic tools (she said it made her feel raped again), she was made to sit with other victims of rape & everyone there knew she had been raped, she had to make several trips to the police station, talk to several policemen about her experience & some of them implied that she was to blame for not being careful (eg. of statements ‘erh, you too, why did you allow him into your hostel room? you girls should be more careful o, now look at what has happened to you, hmm’) & pay the investigators money for their taxi trips, she had to cut classes to go to court several times since the case kept getting adjourned & her story was published in the newspaper with her name too so many people started calling her & asking ‘I heard you were raped is it true?’ . I couldn’t face the embarrassment so I just kept quiet & didn’t tell anyone which made me feel suicidal at times 🙁 But recently, I talked to a friend about it, & also to my therapist here in my school so it’s not a secret anymore. I think a lot of women feel uncomfortable about reporting rape or sexual assault.

  • My heart goes out to you Ekuba, no one should have to go through this terrible ordeal. Hopefully this forum is helping you vent/deal and help others in similar situations. We need to look into having a comfortable space with people who will at least listen to victims and be there to support in any direction they decide to go. For now, I am here for anyone who needs to talk.

  • God, Ekuba.

  • @Ekuba – I have had the task of assisting a battered girl make a report to the police and he experience was indeed horrible. As a man, I felt ashamed by how insensitive the police acted in handling the issue. The girl ended up being stressed the more. Some people just do not understand that in such times there is no room for uncouth behavior, but rather choose to mock at such low moments. A trip to a DOVVSU office will attest to this. Yes maybe some are professional in their discharge of duties where such gender violence is concerned, but more often than not it is he’ll for women when such things happen. I fully understand the fear Ekuba expresses about reporting a rape. There is the need for real professional sensitization of the police to appreciate confidentiality when these reports are made. Without it, few women will report these things. So sorry Ekuba about your experience, but if there is something I have sensed from your posts on this site, it is that you always persevere. You shall always win in the end. You are in my thoughts and I wish you well.

  • @ Nana, Roots & Nnenna: sorry for my late response, it’s because I’ve not been here for a bit since I fell sick. Thank you so much for the commiserations. I’m very glad to inform you that by God’s grace & with the assistance of my therapist, I have improved greatly. My only prayer (and what I’ll try to do when I come back home this year) is that our African countries can get to the point where we have readily available resources for abuse survivors like shelters, psychological assistance, medical help etc. I worked with children who had been defiled (in Ghana) & some of them could not even take the medical tests( to prove that they were defiled) because it involved payment of some money. I’m sure the situation has improved now (because this was back in the early 2000s and Ghana has progressed so much since then). God richly bless you all for being so kind & sympathetic to me & for the support. It really means a lot to me.

  • Really saddens me and yet because many women from the African diaspora still do not talk openly about sex this continues to happen. Nonsense indeed.

  • @ Lois: yes o! imagine if I hadn’t gathered courage to tell my friends I wouldn’t have known my story was common! Ladies let’s speak up!

  • Seriously when i read some of these stories, i weep and regret some of the stuff i did. Like having sex with a prostitute and paying her. Yes one may say she was selling it and you paid for it so why regret but the point is i could have helped her rather than having sex with her in return. Some of these experiences need serious attention cos it causes some ladies to form opinions about GUYS and it stays with them for life. Nana, do you have counselors for your readers? cos i see that as a necessity

  • @ Yaw: & that was exactly my reason for writing this post. We all have the tendency to forget that the people we interact with (men or women) are humans, with feelings & stories. Hopefully, posts like this will encourage us all to treat one another with kindness & respect.

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