“I’m shaking and in tears as I type this” – Woman narrates chilling experience of rape at age 5


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A rape survivor, Abi Idowu, has recounted how she was sexually molested aged 5.

In a series of tweets on Wednesday, she narrated the chilling experience of how she was raped by a 16-year-old family friend named Bidemi while she was on errand for her mother.

However, she said she could not open up to her parents about the incident at the time for fear of being beaten.

Idowu wrote: “This is my Truth . I’ve spoken with my Brother and friends about this. Please I won’t be able to take any calls for now as I’m not doing so good . I’ve also explained why I’ve written this like this . Thank you .

“I’m sitting up in bed staring at my computer screen, trying to summon the courage to tell my story but in a rare moment, my usual articulate self is struggling to say something. I’ve struggled for years with the thought of ever sharing what happened to me.
“I would make references but for all my boasting of courage in conversations on other topics. I just couldn’t summon up the courage to tell my truth. Even now as I’m finally starting to type, I’m shaking and in tears.
“The events of the past couple of weeks got me into a really bad space and after speaking with my brother; a man who though is much younger to me, but whose opinion I truly value, he told me that he’d been thinking along the same lines about me and that I had his full support.
“I’ve decided to go against my initial decision to wait until the passing of my only parent before sharing my story and tell it now. In case anyone wonders why I’m writing my account in this format, I have spoken with my psychiatrist and psychologist.
“(Yes, I’ve got both & while I know the admission to this is taboo, it should tell you just how deeply I’ve been affected) & they advised that I put some distance in my account so that my brain doesn’t struggle too much with the pain & I find myself in abject despair as I’ve done before.
“When I was 5 years old going on 6 and we lived in Ikeja GRA in the early 80s ( it was very safe and everyone took care of each other’s children), my parent sent me to her best friend’s house to deliver a message.
“I was believed to be able to do this as I had started school when I was 2 years old and was quite sharp for my age. Besides, we lived at 14, Ladoke Akintola and this best friend, Mrs Oladipo, lived at number 13. It was a look left and right and safely cross the street errand.
“My own best friend who was her daughter was also there and the joy of being able to see her, made my legs go quickly over to their house. It’s interesting how when momentous events happen to us, the amount of minutiae we remember.
“My doctors say it’s the way our brains try to protect and process us from trauma. To this day, I remember being told not to be late in coming back. I remember going up the stairs, knocking on the door and being greeted by the eldest son, Bidemi as he opened the door.
“Somehow, I don’t remember seeing my friend. I asked for their mother, delivered my message and I remember, him opening the door and walking out with me.
“Anyone who remembers Ladoke Akintola in those days would remember that the meters were on the ground floor, tucked away in the back and there was a little cubby hole right under the stairs, where people could store things like bicycles, scooters etc if they wanted. The building blocks had 6 or 8 apartments (depending on each block).
“The Oladipos like mine lived in a 6 apartment block like ours, in the middle block, just like ours. I remember coming down the stairs and as I got to the bottom to walk out to the compound. I was grabbed from behind, a hand on my mouth and pulled into the cubby hole.
“I don’t remember having any thoughts but I remember the shushing voice of Bidemi , telling me not to shout and next thing, he pulled down my pants and raped me. This boy was a teenager, at least 16 years old.
“I can’t recall just how long or short a time I was in that cubby hole for, but I remember crying so hard and in a lot of pain. He finished, turned me around so I could see his face and he told me that he would give me a sweet and I must not tell anybody especially my parent because if I did, I knew she was going to throw me away (he said this in Yoruba and I will never forget the exact words,… wọn má ju ẹ nù (you’ll be thrown away).
“He told me that I knew my parent because she was known to be a no nonsense teacher who didn’t spare a wrongdoing. Her common line to me anytime I did something wrong or that irritated her was “I brought you into this world and I’ll have no problems taking you out of it” and with the way I was beaten, I believed her.
“I will not chronicle the ways I was beaten as a child but I can tell you that many many times, I either ended in hospital or a neighbour who most likely feared for my survival would burst into our home to rescue me.
“So when this boy told me not to tell my parent, I really thought it was maybe the right thing to do. I stumbled from him and started to walk home, in so much pain and then I thought of my father, my best friend who didn’t live with us as he was away on posting in the Nigerian Air Force, but who I knew I would have been able to go straight to to report and something would have been done.
“The next chain of events, I again remember so clearly and I have been told that it was where I got my proper introduction to never feeling safe. I climbed up the stairs, face wet (I know this because the house help who gave me my bath later that night asked why I was crying when I came in) and knocked on our door to be let in.
“My parent opened the door and gave me such a slap that I fell down.
“Dragging me up by my ear, I was pulled into the flat as she shouted at me that her best friend had called her on the telephone in response to her message which I had delivered a while back but of course I must have stopped to play. And I was told to get out of her sight.
“When I discussed the event with my parent recently, I asked how she missed the obviously dishevelled and tear soaked face of her daughter and her response was why didn’t I say something even after I had been beaten.
“I then asked her if she were in my shoes, she would have still pressed on to say something when I believed that she would have truly thrown me away and I had already gotten that treatment before I even said anything.
“There was no reply and the conversation died there.
“That rape happened that night and this boy having realised that he had gotten away with it as there was no repercussions decided to continue. Bidemi raped me every opportunity he got. He’d come to our house to get me once he didn’t (see) my parent’s car outside the house.
“My paternal grandmother lived with us but there was so much bad blood between her and my parent, she didn’t look out for me and would rather spend time with her numerous visiting cousins. My older sibling who’s 8 years older, considered me more of a nuisance and every opportunity she found to ditch me and go about her own business, she took it. (I understand now that it was mostly what happened with children with a huge age gap). This boy came to our house so much that the gardener noticed.
“Especially the day I was playing outside the block, jumping into the mango and fruit leaves that the gardener raked together, when I lifted my head and noticed him coming out and looking across the street to my block. My parent had gone out and I knew he was coming for me.
“I immediately ran into the upturned water tank outside the block and hid. The gardener must have clocked on when he came and started asking him where I had gone to. The gardener said he didn’t now and he went upstairs to our apartment to look for me and came back again and then left. I was about 7 years old by this time but when the gardener came to tell me that he was gone, he saw and I realised that I had wet myself in fear.
“From that day, whenever he could, when he caught him trying to take me with him. He would do whatever he could to protect me but sadly it wasn’t enough. When I was close to turning 10 years old, he had become so emboldened that he had now taken to actually coming into our home to molest me. My only safe haven from him was no longer safe.”

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