From the Editor: In an article titled The Case for Legal Abortion in Nigeria, Temi Giwa presented facts, figures, and strong reasons for legalizing abortion in Nigeria. One of the reasons she presented is that in spite of the fact that abortions are illegal in Nigeria, over 500,000 abortions are carried out annually. This figure was presented by Dr Obasanjo-Bello, the chairman of the Nigerian Senate Committee on health, but The Guttmacher Institute claims that the figure is higher, conservatively putting it at 610,000 abortions per year.

In this same article, Temi Giwa said that 142,000 women are treated for complications arising from abortions every year.

In 2013, women advocates all over Nigeria, jubilated when the Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, signed into law a bill titled “Imo State Law of Nigeria Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) law No. 12”. on the surface this law prohibited all forms of violence, but embedded within it was a proviso authorizing abortion on demand.

pregnancy-maternoty-photography-hertfordshire
Photography – Hertfordshire

There was an outcry from ‘Christians’ within the state, who have always promoted ‘abstinence’ and ‘morals’ as a way of curbing pregnancies outside of wedlock and within a few days the governor asked the State’s House of Assembly to repeal the law.

Our contributor, who wishes to remain anonymous, talks about her experience, her abortion.

Read on :-

I was pregnant, I was in my early twenties. I was broke.

The father? He’s not important in this story because this is the story of a foetus and I.

A young Nigerian girl of my age was supposed to be a virgin, the soul of purity. While you were growing up your first introduction to your yearnings for someone’s touch, for sex, was shame, you were NOT supposed to have those feelings, wanting to have sex was a thing of shame. So you rightly learn to associate sex with shame.

You were raised to be asexual, to be a sex object, desired by men. Men decide whether you are desirable or not, they decide your worth as a woman. The prettier you are, the higher the pedestal you are placed on. The prettier you are, the more unavailable you are, the more men want you.

As an object you have no right to feelings, you are supposed to meet one man, preferably the type described in Mills and Boons stories – the tall, dark, handsome and of course, rich man. You are supposed to FALL in LOVE with this man, the man is supposed to rescue you from a potential life of loneliness, of permanent singlehood and marry you.

You are NOT supposed to have sex. Even in the dark of the night when loneliness grips you and you instinctively reach out to feel a body next to you.

Your vagina is to be kept clean AT ALL TIMES, even if it means cleaning it with lime. You are not supposed to get wet at the mere sight of the object of your desire. The only time you are expected to have any kind of feeling is when a MAN, preferably your husband, is there beside you, when He wants to put his penis inside of you. Getting that dampness between your thighs is a SIN a mortal sin which is equal to DEATH.

So I broke all these taboos and slept with a man, who was not my HUSBAND. Not only did I become a slut, I also became pregnant!

Pregnancy is another thing entirely. Not only is it illegal in Nigeria, it is also considered a form of punishment by the society.

You’ve been a bad girl, you deserve to be pregnant, you deserve to have babies you cannot care for. You deserve to have your life ruined.

Women are bred to be carriers of babies. They are supposed to be receptacles of a man’s sperm. In biology classes, when you are being taught, along with about thirty other girls, about your body. You are taught about your REPRODUCTIVE organs. They are not called pleasure organs, these organs are supposed to be strictly for reproduction! Your breasts, nipples, vulva, your fallopian tubes… Nobody tells you about your nipples, the way they rise to attention when touched or kissed. Nobody ever mentions that the clitoris is the ultimate orgasm giver.

Even when the sexual act is being described, the biology teacher talks about how a man’s penis will rise, how he will ejaculate his spermatozoa into your tract so that those little devils can swim up to your eggs. The lecture is delivered in a voice that implies that this act is shameful, something to be done with a man in the dark recesses of the night, preferably under bedclothes, with your eyes averted in shame.

The man, ejaculates, the woman is laid out flat and bears it. You’re not supposed to enjoy sex, you’re not supposed to have orgasms.

And you daren’t ask your parents about sex! You’ll probably earn yourself a couple of slaps and lectures on how you should stay a virgin until marriage, because virgins are more valuable than non-virgins in the marriage market. You’re a thing, an object. You’ve been objectified from the moment the doctor looked between your thighs, spotted your vagina and announced to the world ‘it’s a girl!’

So there I was with this foetus inside me and the knowledge that I don’t want this foetus turning into a child, I cannot afford to have the foetus grow into a child because I can barely afford to feed myself. Do I actually want children?

I can hear some women saying stuff like, so why did you open your legs when you knew you weren’t ready? Like the Yoruba will say, “why did you r’edi (why did you do the grind) when you’re not ready.” The next question is ‘why didn’t you use a condom?’ but … nobody told you about condoms in those days, condoms are dirty. Good girls don’t carry condoms around, good girls don’t enter a pharmacy or a supermarket and looks into the eyes of the sales person and say ‘I want to buy a condom’ in those days. So you panic! Who would you tell? You daren’t tell your mother because you know she’d first strip you off with her tongue or any handy broom or stick – she might insist you have the baby, to ‘punish’ you.

So you start putting out feelers.

There’s always somebody who knows ‘somebody’ who’s had an abortion before. These people are without names or faces, because abortions are shameful things, abortions are like STDs … nobody ever admits to having one.

Then one of your friends comes to you with a slip of paper. On it is an address and the amount of money you need for the abortion. Not a single word is exchanged, not even a ‘thank you’ because you’re doing this to help out a friend in need, you are a good girl, good girls don’t get pregnant ‘outside of wedlock’.

The ‘doctor’ is a young man. He lives in a dingy building, there’s no light in this building. The doctor takes you into a semi-darkened room. He first asks for his money, after you give it to him and he counts it, he asks you the last time you’d ‘seen’ your period.

You tell him.

He asks if you’re absolutely sure because he needs to know the ‘exact’ date, so he can determine the ‘exact’ month of the baby.

He talks in a dead voice, a voice devoid of emotions. You’re a stupid girl who got pregnant.

You think about the last time you’d seen your period. You think about the fact that the ‘doctor’ was giving you some peculiar looks. You look straight back at him and say ‘yes I’m sure’ all the while wondering if you can trust him not to kill you.

You arrive at the conclusion that it will be a win-win situation, he kills you, you’re dead, who cares? You won’t be here to be shamed (yes, I was depressed, suicidal even).

Then you remember horror stories of girls who got infected and had their wombs removed, girls who can never have children again – another win-win … (I didn’t examine that feeling too closely).

He asks you again about your last period.

Yes, you’re sure that was your last period.

Then you remember HIV. You make a mental note to go for the test… but first things first…

The young man takes you to an even darker, dank room, the odour of something you can’t place your finger on, teasing your nose. He asks you to take off your jeans and panties, no don’t take off your t-shirt.

He asks you to lay on a long wooden table after laying a filthy, green wrapper on it. He asks you to lie on it, and spread your legs.

As you look into his immobile face and spread your legs, the self-hate nearly chokes you. Maybe it’s even better you die.

He spent some time mining for gold as he waited patiently for you to spread them wide enough. He palpates your stomach.

He’s not even fucking wearing gloves! You die inside, tears of humiliation, of shame roll down your face.

The tears stop as you feel something cold slide inside your vagina.

Please don’t make noise o! You don’t want the neighbours hearing you, he says as you feel something tearing your insides apart.

You open your mouth but nothing comes out. The pain is beyond anything you’ve ever felt before. It tears you apart. The pain goes on and on.

Don’t close your legs. His voice pierces your pain. Your head is bursting, you are sure you would die, you know this pain will kill you.

The pain goes on and on and on…

The pain is worse than closing a door on your index finger, worse than slicing your thumb with a sharp knife, worse than somebody punching you in the face…

At some point you must have fainted because the next time you open your eyes, he was standing in front of a basin you hadn’t noticed when you first entered the room, he was washing his hands. He was washing blood off his hands, your blood.

You’re bleeding.

He asks if you brought a pad. You shake your head numbly, it threatened to blow apart, so you stop shaking it.

He pulls an old toilet roll out of a drawer. He asks you to get dressed, he gives you the toilet roll, take as much as you want, he added generously.

You touch yourself, the blood is still gushing.

The bleeding will stop, please get up, you have to leave now. He unceremoniously pulls you off the table.

The pain clutched at your stomach as you tried to straighten up. But you refuse to make a sound, you absorb the pain, the pain is your punishment.

You unfold the toilet paper and roll it up, inserted the makeshift pad between your thighs. You pull on your underpants your trousers.

He gives you some pills and asks you to take them … when you get home.

You can’t remember how you left that dark space, you walk in a haze of pain. You board a taxi to your house. You half crawled into your room, on to your bed.

You find some water, swallow the pills, was about to roll back into bed when you realise your clothes are soaked with blood. Your blue jeans were now dark red, the edge of your yellow t-shirt spotting a thin line of red.

You pull off your clothes, half-crawled to your bathroom, pour water on yourself while leaning against the bathroom wall. You are crying, but nobody hears you. Nobody cares. You brought this on yourself, this pain.

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9 thoughts on “My Abortion Story – Eniitan

  1. what is the real message of this article? Is it to advocate against Abortion or support it? or is it to acquint people with what happens during sexual intercourse or tell the the young ones to be involved in it. The writer should have taken time to interprete the message from a reader’s point of view. One thing is definitely certain, whatever you sow, u shall reap. If you choose to live a careless life in the name of following your heart, u will reap the reward.

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    1. This response is vile.
      The writer should have taken the time to interpret the message from a reader’s point of view.
      One thing is definitely certain – whatever you sow, you shall reap.

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    2. I think the purpose is to share a story that never gets told because it happens anyways. If we tell ourselves the truth that abortion is a reality that many young women confront then maybe better health systems to take care of unwanted pregnancies will be provided. I also think this story will help others who have probably gone through the pains, guilt of abortions not feel alone because someone has shared their story.

      I do not understand the part of what you sow is what you reap. Do you mean like when you have sex then you become pregnant?

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  2. Well, while the conclusion of the whole conversation wasn’t evident. I think the message is quite evident, am a Christian, and a sin is a sin…but should we based on that judge ‘some’ and say they deserve to have their wombs destroyed or die? I don’t think even Christ would have supported that…M(r)s Funke, while you are right – ‘whatever one sows, one’ll reap’ – you are not in a position to judge. Quite alright prevention is better than cure, and that’s why our schools and parents should talk more about sex and it’s consequences, not talking (properly) about it has been constituting a big problem for ages. I don’t support pre-marital sex, but a person who so does and wants to abort I feel should not be denied proper health services and I don’t think God’ll be against that.

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  3. as a woman even if we were nt told,we shld knw dat wen we open it up for dem and dey pour it there we alone will bear the consequences.

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  4. Its messed up that women are punished for being human, what punishment will the man who equally derived pleasure from the deed get. They were both equally ‘wrong’. Africa is a fucked up society where imperfect and flawed humans validate themselves by judging other peoples mistake. That being said, as women, we have to be smarter than men when it comes to sex, mistakes are much more costly for us than for the men. WE OWN OUR BODIES. So we must control what goes on with it as much as we can. We do not owe any man a reason for telling him to get and use a condom because it is not his body neither do we owe him a reason for saying NO because he will probably abandon you when biology happens.
    Africa needs to raise awareness as to what constitutes rape, maybe that way women will be more open to saying a big NO when they are not interested. Women need to be taught that rape occurs if she does not give her consent, so as a woman know that the moment you say NO if a man still has sex with you he has raped you, so never be afraid to shout your NO, make it as clear as possible that you are not interested because the clearer you shout your NO, the higher the chances to getting him locked up for the offence. Free Legal aid should be provided for such women. – This will reduce unwanted pregnancy, and maybe even serve as a solution to overpopulation.
    When sex is consensual women need to be comfortable practising safe sex. No one should not be judged when the go to a supermarket to get the protection they need and the protection should be affordable. Women need to develop an ‘I dont care’ attitude because the same people who judge you for buying condoms are the same people who will laugh at you when you are pregnant, and those same people have probably had sex before. Also its not their business what you do with yourself
    Having sex is not a criminal offence. Maybe it is a sin in your religion, but there are too many religions on this earth and it may be perfectly acceptable to have sex before marriage in another religion. Only GOD can judge us as to what is a sin and what is not.
    That she made a mistake does not mean she deserved to suffer.

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  5. It is awful that the writer had to go through that.

    Save your sanctimonious rants.There is no reason for abortion to be illegal. The religious and moral arguments do not hold much water. Abortion should be legal and if your religion or moral convictions oppose it, then don’t get one. People should not be held to ransom because of other people’s hypocritical views. A woman who does not want a child, or who is unable, for whatever reason, to take care of a child should not be forced to do so.

    One major problem with how people view abortions is that they think only wayward girls get them. While this may be true in some cases, it is not always so. A married woman may get an abortion, a woman’s birth control may fail, there might have been sexual assault/incest involved, the environment may be unsafe for a child, the child may have some serious deformities, the mother’s life may be at risk, the list goes on.
    Abortions are quite common, even the people who are against it may have had abortions before. Such is the level of sanctimony and religious guilt.

    During my National Service, we had a lecture on safe abortions. I was so impressed and surprised that such a thing could happen in this hypocritical society. According to the medical expert, having a safe abortion is 200 times safer than carrying the baby to term. A safe abortion here meaning, abortion carried out by certified medical professionals in a quality environment using the required tools. (This is not to say that people should abort their babies, rather than carry to term.)

    Abortion is still not the nicest word, and does not evoke nice images. I still advocate for abstinence and birth control over abortion, but I understand and support its necessity.

    I wrote way more than this without realising and had to cut it down.

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  6. I don’t understand why this writer sounds like a victim of some sort. U already wanted to try sex out, u did , wats the Ultimate result of sex asides the instant pleasure? Then why make it around like legalizing abortion will make the procedure any less painful.

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