Elephant in the room

I was speaking to a friend the other day at as we sat on bus to the Mall on the spintex road, we grew up in the same neighbourhood and i hadn’t seen her in a very long time. She had grown so beautifully and was full of smiles, i must confess the possibility of taking her on a date had crossed my mind but i has just pushed the thought back.

She wanted to know where i had been all these while, and why i hadn’t gotten in touch and all. She wanted to know everything i was up to. We spoke for close to an hour and i got the sense she was glad to have seen me, and likewise i was glad to see her as well.As we got off the bus i asked her if she wanted to get some food at the mall as i was going to meet up with some friends and i wasn’t sure if they had yet arrived.

We got there and ordered our meals, as we waited i remarked how glad i was that she is doing so well, she gave a deep sigh and said “Benji things are not as they always seem.”. Why do you say that i asked. Then the words started pouring out as though she had piled up so many of them and she couldn’t take it any more and wanted to scream it out loud. There she was, glad to have found a friend she could be herself around and confide in.

image taken from cmq.org.uk

I’m embarrassed to say this, but was raped a couple of time since you left the hood by a friend, and its been difficult for me to relate to the opposite sex since then. Am so sorry i replied, should i leave? She smiled and said no Ben please stay its fine, i haven’t told anybody this and i don’t even know why we are talking about it but it feels good talking to you. I asked her if she wants to talk about it and she started.

We were at my aunt Ajele’s house most of the time while my mum worked. I was best friend with this guy whose name lets say was Kweku. He would take us in to his room and rape us. I don’t think I was the only victim, since I saw a few of my other friends walk out of his room, sad and confused from what he had done to them.
I’m even too afraid to share this with my mum.

My aunt didn’t really pay attention to us since she was always occupied with her orders to bake cake for clients, i guess it must have been hard on her. I don’t know if she knew that her friend’s son has been raping us repeatedly or if it was something acceptable. I really don’t want to know. Sometimes i feel she knew but just wasn’t  bothered enough to find out anything about Kweku’s sexual behaviour.

Being a child who had no knowledge about sex made it difficult for me. I mean, how was I to described it to anyone at that age? At this point i could tell in no time the tears would start falling from her eyes so i had stopped her halfway, i drew closer to her and  tried to console. Am very terrible at consoling people by the way and i don’t think i did a good job but she smiled and said don’t worry am over that now,  I am gradually learning how to forgive and be able to trust.

Her story makes me think about all the victims out there who cant gather such courage to seek help after such cruel circumstances.This is the kind of society we live in Sadly, more children are raped more by their close friends and relatives more than from a random stranger. The women and juvenile unit of Ghana records alarming incidents of rape and sexual abuse each and everyday and yet we sit and fold our arms and look on as the situation gets worse by the day. You dare not accuse a family member of rape since you would be the object of hate by close friends and sometimes even family members. Break the silence and SPEAK UP. Very firm and deterrent laws should be passed to protect the young and innocent victims, of what use is a country that cant protect its  citizens?


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