The OVI Journal

#StoriesOfAbuse: Julia's Story

Sep 04, 2022

OVI: How old were you when it happened?

Julia : I was 16

OVI: Describe the experience as best as you can.

Julia: I was a jambite, fresh out of secondary school. I started Jamb preparatory classes as soon as I graduated because my mom was certain that it would boost my grades. I used to be quite social then, so I made a lot of friends there, including this boy, Kelvin. He was tall and dark and he really liked music. I was into rap music then, so we always had a lot to talk about.

We became close friends with time, although I did not know him past the four walls of the school. We only ever talked in class, I didn't know what his life was like outside the school. One day, after classes, I stayed back with a friend of mine who wanted to update her notes with mine. We were at the ground floor, talking and laughing, when Kelvin walked in with some guys that did not look like students at the time. He walked to me and shook my hand, then told me he wanted to see me outside the class for a minute. I told my friend I would be back and went out of the classroom with him. He pointed to the staircase and unsuspectingly, I followed. All the while we were chatting about a new Nicki Minaj song.

When we got upstairs, I turned and observed that the guys he walked in with were following us. I instantly felt uneasy and turned to leave. Kelvin held my hand tightly and pushed me towards a small corridor. I wasn't sure what was going on but I wanted to scream. He held up his shirt and for the first time in my life, I saw a gun. Now usually, there'd be students at different points of the building, but it was after school hours and it was dead quiet. He asked me to follow quietly, and said he would shoot me if I tried raising my voice.

The realization hit me when I saw the bathroom door. I started to plead, begging him to let me go. Deep down I hoped he would laugh and say he was just teasing me, that he couldn't hurt me. But as I pleaded with him to let me go, I knew this was real. The boys stood outside the door and waited until he was done. I sank to the filthy floor and cried my eyes sour, in physical pain because it was my first time, and in emotionally turmoil because I had been raped by someone I considered a friend.

Before he walked out, he brought out a red piece of clothing from his pockets and told me it was an oracle. He made me swear to it that I would never tell a soul, and promised me that it I ever told anyone about what happened, I would die. The last thing he said as he walked out was "drink salt and Sprite." I hated myself.

I wanted to tell someone, anyone, but every time I remembered the oath I took, I couldn't even find the words. On the day I first opened up to a friend, I decided that I could no longer live with that burden. If it meant dying, then I would die. I felt like filth, like I didn't even deserve to live.

OVI: How has the experience affected your mental or emotional wellbeing?

Julia: Mentally, the first few years were hell. I suffered great PTSD and feared being around men. I grew a deep sense of distrust for every man around me and I felt like I was constantly at risk. I hated myself for a very long time and blamed myself for everything that happened.

OVI: What would you say are the repercussions of that experience in your life today?

Julia: It has gotten easier with time, but I cannot deny that I still feel that fear when a man looks at me a certain way, or when I find myself in a closed space with a man, especially one I'm not romantically involved with.

I wish I knew about rape. Before I became a victim, it used to seem like something out of the movies to me. I wish a heard more of these stories, because perhaps it would have been easier to deal with the abuse. I would have not spent years hating on myself, blaming myself.

I wish I had more faith in God. I wonder now how I let my abuser threaten me to silence, when I could have trusted God's ability to save me from whatever darkness I had been tied to. I felt like I was too dirty for God, and I wish I remembered that even sins red as scarlet could be made white as snow.

OVI: This. I'm sorry you went through everything alone.

I hope your healing grows complete in you. What would you like to say to those who might be going through a bad season due to sexual abuse?

Julia: It is not your fault. You are a victim, it is not your fault.

It became a lot easier for me when I let this sink in. You will think about how it could have been avoided if you had worn a longer skirt or taken a different route and you will blame yourself. But the first step to healing is realizing that it is not your fault.

You are more than that experience. It seemed like my world was ending when it happened, but I am still here, still pushing. It doesn't define you, and it will definitely get better.

Julia: ... he called two years later to beg for forgiveness. I told him that I had forgiven him long ago, because it was necessary for my own good. He talked about life being rough on him since the incident and wanted to know if I placed a curse on him. I told him that I didn't. Last year, I read on Facebook that there was a clash of cultists at Amarata (Bayelsa, Nigeria) and only one person died. His name was Kelvin. I clicked on the picture with shaky hands and it was him, in a pool of blood. He died.

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