At exactly 6:30am my bedside clock alarm went off. This was something I ought to have gotten used to but for some reason the usual “cock crow “ring tone instilled a certain emotion in me. I couldn’t decide if I was beginning to panic or I was just afraid.
This emotion had become my reality for the past one week. Every morning when it was time to go to school; which was not so far from home, I began to feel very afraid and reluctant to go. My school was just two streets away from my house and I walked every morning by 7:45am to resume by 8:00am so as to avoid being punished for lateness.
My mum was a business woman at the time so she was mostly at home before I left for school every day unlike my dad that was never around in the morning when I wake up. She would brush my hair and pack my lunch and as an only child I was showered with so much love and affection by my parents but I was always aware of the silent prayers my mother said every night, sometimes she would cry, other times she would just pray and give thanks to God. My mother always prayed for more children and for the reoccurring miscarriages to stop.
In school, most teachers and students called me “omo mummy” meaning mummy’s boy. This was mostly because of the love and affection she showed me. At 12, I was in JSS2 but I looked like a 16 year old boy; which never stopped my mum from warning teachers about flogging me. One of the perks of my good looks and neat appearance was the appreciative glances I constantly got from girls in my class. Last Valentine’s day, I found a gift in my bag addressed “To my darling Opeyemi Alao from Titilope Oni”.
I liked Titi a lot, she was a beautiful and really smart girl. Titi came from an influential family and although she always wore the most expensive shoes and had a designer school bag, she was still very friendly and courteous. She had been a little friendlier some days before Valentine’s day but I hardly read much into it but on seeing the gift, I realized that she had been crushing on me for a while and her exchanging her seating position with Adaobi my former seat partner wasn’t really because she couldn’t see the board clearly as she claimed, it was because Titilope had started getting attracted to me.
Titi’s gift was a new video game, she knew I loved games and I had been talking about this particular video game for weeks. Knowing her, she must have set aside her daily allowance for a week to have been able to buy this game. Although it would have taken me a whole session to buy it and my dad had promised to buy me anything I wanted if I was in the first to third position in my class at the end of second term, he was a stern believer of one earning their reward. I wanted to keep it but it felt so wrong and I knew mummy wouldn’t approve, so I gave it back to Titi in class the next day and since then she began to avoid me. I really wanted to apologize to her but whenever I saw her I just couldn’t form the right words.
After school, I always stayed at my neighbour’s house because my mum was mostly at her shop and she didn’t like me being there because of the location; her shop was close to a major expressway and she didn’t want to expose me to what she felt was an accident prone location. Therefore I stayed with a family friend that lived close by after school hours. The Okoros were a family of four, they had a boy and a girl; Emeka and Nkechi who were also in my secondary school but they were older than I was. Nkechi was 17 and she was in SS3 while Emeka was 15 in SS1. We all attended the same secondary school, so we usually came back home together and I stayed at theirs till 5pm when my mum gets back from the shop.
On this fateful day, Emeka had told me that their Aunty Chika was home from the university on holidays. Aunty Chika was their mother’s younger sister who was then a student of the University Of Nigeria Nsukka, Enugu state. I remember seeing her for the first time during Christmas a few years ago when she was around for six months. She always liked to hug me back then and tell me to kiss her on the lips which I mostly reluctantly did… She would then tell Emeka to remove his trousers and proceed to touch his penis until he would start to cry. She would then flog him for crying and call him names like “cry cry baby”… Emeka hated that name and so did I,that was I never cried whenever she touched me. She would then take both of us out to buy us biscuits and beg us not to tell anyone about the way she touched us. We would agree and we never spoke about it to anyone, not even to each other. All these happened before she gained admission to study Nursing in the University, we never told our parents what Aunty Chika did to us…
The reason I didn’t tell my mum wasn’t because I was scared of her, it was mostly because I was scared of what she might do. Being the only child, I often saw my parents fight because of me and my mum was very overly protective of me. Although she was disciplined and never spoilt me, she just didn’t like that my father never treated me specially or talked about me like I was his everything. Mum felt this way because I was actually her everything.
I remember when I was about 7 years old, I once threw sand into the eyes of another child at the playground and although my mum later flogged me at home, she defended me and even picked a fight with the child’s mother while we were at the playground. My mum was known for always defending me, she would say things like “Ope, hope you can see the way I always support you… That’s how you must support your siblings when they eventually come, because I know they will someday, l’oruko Jesu“.
My dad hated when she made statements like this, he was more of an easy going person than mum. He was a construction worker and sometimes he had to work in other states and he often came home only during the weekends. He kept telling me to be a man and be strong because there was absolutely nothing wrong with being an only child. I knew my dad loved me in a different way than my mum and I embraced it and wore both their love like a badge everywhere I went.
When we got home from school that day, Aunty Chika was in the kitchen preparing lunch. Her niece and nephew hugged her excitedly but I hesitated a bit. This was partly because of the way she used to touch me and also because I had grown to be a withdrawn and quiet child. While I was lost in thought Aunty Chika had started to say something which I didn’t hear clearly, she then repeated it “ahn ahn, see my small husband that year o. Opeyemi you’re now a big boy o, see how handsome you are. I’m sure you will have a girlfriend by now”. Everyone laughed except me because the statement reminded me of Titilope and how she hasn’t responded to my greetings in over a month.
After having a delicious plate of rice and beans, Emeka and I were about to play when Aunty Chika called both of us. She handed Emeka a hundred naira note and asked him to go to the bus stop and buy her ice cream. Although it was common knowledge that the ice cream vendor hardly remained at a spot, he usually rode a bicycle and had a custom song playing and we only knew he was around when the song was playing close by. We told Aunty Chika this but she insisted he left and she even told Nkechi to follow him.
While waiting for Emeka to come back, I decided to relax in the sitting room. I picked up an Enid Blyton book to read just to pass time because I mostly hated to read. It wasn’t long after this that Aunty Chika came into the sitting room, she came to sit beside me and then she placed her hands on my laps… I began to sweat and feel a bit uncomfortable when she started rubbing my laps. I was about to talk but for some reason I could voice the words out. The memories of when Aunty Chika used to ask me to touch her breasts and the strange feeling I usually had when this happens, came back. I felt like I was glued to a spot and by now she had started to unbuckle my belt.
I held her hands and managed to whisper “Aunty Chika stop, my mummy said I shouldn’t allow anyone touch my penis”. She laughed and said “I want to show you something, just relax ehn, don’t worry you’ll like it… It’s very sweet”. At this point, I had begun to sweat profusely and I was visibly shaking. She wrapped her fingers around my penis and started rubbing it, at first I thought I was going to explode.
Suddenly it felt like I was swelling and about to burst, like a balloon that was continuously being pumped with air, my heart began to beat heavily and I felt so much pleasure and fear all at the same time. Everything was happening all at once, it was a feeling I never had before. I wanted to shout, scream, run and cry at the same time and then all of a sudden everything became calm. I hadn’t realized my eyes had been closed. I opened my eyes and saw Aunty Chika smiling and it seemed like I had wet myself but this didn’t feel like urine, it looked familiar…
When I wake up and my boxer, my groin area to be precise, felt wet and sticky, it formed a kind of circle or irregular map on it that doesn’t smell like urine. I know mummy sees it when she’s washing my clothes but she doesn’t scold me about it like she used to when I wet the bed in primary school. The only thing she has been saying is “you’re now a man o, don’t impregnate anybody o”.
Aunty Chika smiled and said “Opeyemi, I can see you enjoyed it, tomorrow it will be your turn to make me happy”. As I was about to ask her what she meant, there was a slight knock on the door, she opened it and Nkechi and Emeka came in. They were lucky to have seen the ice cream vendor after waiting for 30 minutes, they had gotten ten cones and Aunty Chika had given both of them two each and me four cones; Nkechi and Emeka grumbled about this, they weren’t happy and so was I. Aunty Chika took the remaining two and left without saying a word. I later shared some with Emeka but he gave me a knowing look and somehow I became ashamed of myself. I felt dirty, when I got home that evening I went to bathe again but I couldn’t stop thinking about what Aunty Chika did to me and how sweet it was. I suddenly wanted to feel that way again.
During devotion the next morning, mum preached about the story of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife; how Potiphar’s wife wanted to seduce Joseph and how he refused. I was shocked, I felt like someone had told mummy about what happened between Aunty Chika and I. All of a sudden mummy was still and she started staring at me, she shook her head and said “Ope did you hear what I just said?” I was lost because I hadn’t been listening; I shook my head and muttered “no”. My mum said “I asked you to lead us in prayer, you’re here looking like zombie”. I let out a huge sigh of relief and said the prayers.
On my way to school the next morning I met Emeka, he said Nkechi had gone to school early, so we both walked together. Emeka asked me if I was okay, he said I seemed quiet. I wanted to change the topic to a football match or just anything to avoid his scrutiny. As we began to approach the school gate, he tapped me and said “you can tell your mummy, she will believe you unlike my mum”. I paused for a while, I was about to reluctantly speak but the school bell rang just in time to save me, Emeka and I both quickly ran to our respective classes to drop our bags and join the assembly.
Every day after school for two weeks, Aunty Chika kept touching and kissing me. She promised me that she would teach me another thing that is even sweeter than the ones we have been doing. So one Friday evening, she took off her clothes and removed mine and asked me to put my penis inside her vagina… Which I did and she told me to move my hips, I didn’t understand so she used her hands to coordinate my hip movements.
I had sex with Aunty Chika that night but sometime after that I refused to be alone with her and I always made sure I was with Emeka. Aunty Chika suddenly stopped making references to me, she probably thought I was going to tell my mum and before the month ended, I was told that she had gone to stay with another relative in Aba.
One Tuesday morning, Emeka and I were on our way to school when I discovered that I was pressed and I begged Emeka to please wait for me to pee. While peeing I experienced a terrible pain that I had never experienced before, I wanted to scream but I felt I was a big boy and didn’t have to scream. Urinating throughout that day in school was hell for me.
When I got home that evening, after dinner I went to pee again and this time I had noticed some brownish discharge on my boxers, it didn’t look like the one I released when I was with Aunty Chika, so I shouted “Mummy come and see!!!” When my mum arrived, I was already in great pain, I wanted to urinate but for some reason I couldn’t just release it.
My mum had started shouting in Yoruba “Omo mi kilo se e!!!” She rushed me to the clinic after carrying her bible and my dad’s car keys. We arrived the hospital that evening at about 8pm. St. Agnes memorial clinic was our family clinic and the doctor was a good friend of my parents.
We waited in the lobby that night, both of us holding each other while crying and familiar nurses comforting us. We later went in to see Doctor Adigun, he calmed my mum down, asked me to undress and he examined me after which he told a nurse to take my blood sample to the lab after scribbling a note for her.
Dr Adigun asked me several questions right in front on my mum which I answered, I explained everything that happened between Aunty Chika and I. My mother had stopped crying and she had started to look really scared, I had never seen my mother so scared. She turned to the doctor and said “will he be okay?” Doctor Adigun explained to my mum that I most likely had gonorrhea but that we had to wait for the results to be out. We were given some drugs for relief and the doctor promised to call my mum after two days to give her the results.
On our way at of the hospital, my mum was really silent, I was scared of what she would do, I felt like she might beat me up when we get home so I started crying and begging her not to beat me. She looked at me and said something I will never forget “Opeyemi, you’re a child and this is not your fault. Just promise me that you will never tell anyone about this, not even your dad and if anyone touches you like that again you must tell me okay?” I nodded in affirmation and let out a huge sigh of relief.
The next morning I woke up and went to school to write my midterm tests, the drug Dr Adigun gave me had relieved me a bit. I didn’t even do my tests well because I was really scared and mummy said I shouldn’t tell anybody so I didn’t. After school that day mummy came to drive me to her shop, we stayed together and I read for my tests the next day. When it was time, we closed the shop and went home to sleep.
On the night before mid term break, our fears were confirmed and the tests results pronounced me positive to gonorrhea. At this point mum had already been expecting this so she paid for my treatments and I started my treatments immediately. The pain during urination began to disappear within two to three days of taking medication and before seven days I felt much better. Mummy ensured I took my medicine after I had finished and the doctor had tested me again to see I was fine, she discarded all traces of drugs or test results and when daddy came that weekend we acted like nothing ever happened.
As a victim of sexual abuse, I couldn’t understand why my mother was ashamed to confront Aunty Chika or even report her to her relatives. Mummy just acted like there was no serious difference, the only thing that changed was I never went to Emeka’s house to stay after school. When his mum asked, mummy said it was my dad that made the decision. I saw Aunty Chika on Facebook recently under the “People you may know” category. I just wished Mummy had exposed her. I wonder how many young boys she might have infected. If you are a victim of sexual abuse, please note that it wasn’t your fault and as a society we need to start punishing these offenders. Above all, learn to forgive because it makes you free, I have forgiven Aunty Chika, but will I ever forget?