His name was Jude* and I was 23 years old.
He was a jovial colleague and we got along quite fabulously. He'd always referred to me as his paddy. So, I was surprised when the day he asked me to come pay him a visit, the alarm bells in my head clanged furiously. Over the years, I have learned to trust my intuition implicitly. That's why I was genuinely troubled by such a strong, negative reaction.
Try as I might, I couldn't brush aside the feeling of unease. I told him, "No, I can't come to your place."
"Can't or won't?" he asked with a puzzled expression.
"Won't," I replied.
What am I coming for?”
"To just visit."
Weeks went by and I forgot about it. Until one day, when a female colleague mentioned that she'd gone to his house to get some stuff.
I asked, "Oh, you've been to his place?"
She said yes.
He was there, and said, "You think everyone's like you, afraid for no reason. Everyone here has been to my place except you."
I smiled and said, "I'm not afraid. I just don't want to come."
But a few days later, he announced that he was leaving on vacation. "Eketi, I'm leaving on Saturday. Just come by. You can go through my library and borrow a few books."
And for the first time in my life, I doubted my intuition.
I said to myself, "Maybe you're overreacting. After all, Daniella went there and she didn't look like anything happened to her. You've been so cautious since what's-his-name assaulted you, that maybe you've become paranoid."
I convinced myself that my gut was misfiring.
"Yes, I'll come. Tomorrow afternoon."
Stupidest thing I’ve ever said in my life.
Got to his gate by noon. As we went towards his apartment, one of his neighbours greeted him and gave him a thumbs-up. I wondered what it meant, but shrugged it off. Inside, it was a self-con. Bed in the corner, refrigerator, TV and home theatre, bookshelves, centre table, etc. It was a sizeable room, with an area cordoned off by a curtain, to create an inner room.
He said he was going to have his bath. He went to the bathroom. Five minutes later, I heard, "Eketi, please hand me my towel. It's on the chair by my reading table."
Instantly, the alarm bells went off again. I thought about leaving, but I didnt. Because you see, as a woman, one of the things you learn very early in and struggle with your whole life, is indecision in situations like this. For fear that someone will accuse you of overreacting. I took the towel to the door and looking away, I handed it over. He laughed and asked why I was acting shy.
I went back to the living area. There, on a low table, were several porn magazines. I'd never seen such magazines in my life. I chose an automobile magazine and began to peruse.
He came out of the inner room, wearing a pair of jeans, unzipped. At that point, I could barely breath, such was my unease. I looked away and said I wanted to leave.
"Why didn't you read the other magazines?" he asked, pointing at the porn stash.
“I don't read such trash."
He said, Trash? Do you know how much I pay to subscribe for them? They're very expensive."
I said that wasn't my concern and I wanted to leave. He snatched the automobile magazine out of my hands and flung it on the floor. Then he pushed me on the bed and tried to kiss me. I turned my head away.
"Guy, what's this? Abeg, get up! This isn't what I came for."
" Eketi, kiss me," he said, trying to turn my head to face him.
"No!" I tried to push him off, but he was much bigger and heavier.
He pressed his left forearm against my throat and used his right hand to forcefully drag my face into position. Then he smashed his mouth against mine and stuck his tongue inside my mouth until I gagged.
At that point, it dawned on me that I was in real trouble.
When he took out his vile tongue, he said, "Eketi, I must bang you today."
"Jude, I can never have sex with you. I am born again and you know it."
I never saw the slap coming. All I know is that I felt a sudden stinging on my face, followed by another one delivered with a backhand. My people, I saw stars.
“Don't you ever fucking tell me that fucking born again crap!” he yelled. These were his exact words.
"I don't fucking wanna hear it!"
The saliva in my mouth dried up and I nearly passed out from fright. Then I thought, maybe if I lay still, he'd lose interest. Wrong. He tried to take off my clothes. So, I started struggling.
The moment I began to fight him, he said, "Yes! Fight me, baby. I like my women to be like tigresses."
I spent the next hour fighting and begging; for my freedom, for my body, for my very life. But he was so damn strong! I tried to make sure he wouldn't get his leg between my thighs.
"Please, Jude, I beg you, don't do this. Please. I thought you were my friend."
He ignored me.
"Jude please, please, please..Please…."
He grabbed my hair, pulled it so viciously, my neck snapped back. I twisted my head and bit his hand. He smacked me hard across my face and tore at the neckline of my blouse.
"I must fuck you today. Don't bother shouting….no one here will help you. You've been teasing me with that pink gown you wear to work. That dress drives me nuts."
I started crying and begging him to stop.
At a point, he said that if I let him kiss me, he'd let me go. Naïve me, I believed him and acquiesced. But he didn't stop there, so the struggle began again. He paused again and asked me to fondle his penis, then he'd let me go. I wasn't falling for that trick.
I managed to break free and ran to the door.
Surprise, surprise……it was locked and there was no key. I nearly died. I dashed to another part of the room and he ran after me, and caught me. He held two of my hands behind my back with one of his huge hands. He then pushed my hands up my back, until I could touch the back of my head. My shoulders were on fire. I screamed in agony. That's when he slammed my head on the wall.
I literally blacked out for a few seconds. I'd seen stars before; this time, I saw an entire galaxy of lights.
Reeling with pain and powerless, he was able to drag me and slam me face down on his bed. Then he began to rip off my clothes. Right then, I knew it was over for me. As I felt air on my behind, I began to cry in earnest and said a prayer, in my language.
And just like that…..just like that, this man jumped off me.
"What the fuck are you doing?" he screamed. "Are you fucking cursing me? For what? What have I done that you'd curse me in thatlanguage?"
Time stood still. Then it hit me. This, was my moment. Quickly, I scrambled up, wailing louder and saying more incoherent stuff.
“Get the fuck out of my house!” he yelled." Stop that fucking cursing and get the fuck out!"
I grabbed my wallet, phone and ran to the door. Please, open it, I begged.
"Oh, baby, come back. I'm sorry, I didn't mean it," he said in a sudden turnaround, hugging me. I pushed him away and fell to my knees.
"Oh, God! I cried. Please Jude, not again. Just let me go. I promise, I wont tell anyone. Just…. just… let me go."
He opened the door and insisted on walking me out, said we were still friends.
For weeks, I had nightmares and often woke up in cold sweats. I wouldnt even let a guy stand behind me on any queue, let alone touch me. I couldn't tell anyone, because I knew they'd blame me. Why did you go to his house? Why did you wear that pink dress? Why didn't you scream louder? You ignored your intuition? Serves you right.
Whenever I saw him, my heart would start pounding. I'd run out of the room or sprint across the road. One day, he cornered me and said he didn't understand why I was avoiding him.
Sigh…… let me stop here. Can't write anymore…
By Eketi Edima Ette
RAPE IS INEXCUSABLE! ATTEMPTED RAPE IS AS VILE AS RAPE!!!