More rape victims are assaulted by people they know. Stranger-rape is in fact not as common as the one your brother did to your daughter or the one your neighbor is currently doing to your kid sister. So, why did your sister not shout when she was raped?

She was never permitted to ‘own’ her sexuality. She could not even admit that it existed let alone have a choice in what to do with it. Her pre-marriage duty was always to dodge those penises otherwise she had herself to blame. That is why she was born, have you forgotten? So when she goes home with a friend and his penis decides to get swollen that day and he wants to put it inside her, it is her fault because she was there. She caused it. Her breasts jiggled and her vagina called out to him, wanting scratching.

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So he takes what belongs to him and at this point she has become a slut and no matter how she fights and fights him in the process, this is all her fault, what is she doing in this house, who will believe she never wanted this, can a girl not come to play video games without getting fucking raped, I will not shout, I will not shout, he will soon stop, he will realize this is wrong, he is the church youth leader, he is the student union secretary general, he is daddy’s best friend’s son, surely he will stop soon, silly boy – I know he will stop soon, look at his bony chest that sprouted hairs only last year – he will soon stop, the ceiling-fan is white, the ceiling is dirty, he will stop soon, why is that cobweb hanging so low, will a spider fall in my mouth, will it taste the tears that have gathered at the base of my nose, he is not stopping.

When your daughter was raped, she did not shout because sometimes when the person is being violated the soul takes a back seat, not wanting to fully acknowledge the horror, keeping the body comatose, willing it to be all over.
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When your niece was raped, she did not shout because she would be blamed for not succeeding at ducking. She would be asked what she was doing in that office, that house. She didn’t shout because she wanted it to be all over, quickly, and maybe they could all go back to pretending it never happened.
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She didn’t shout because he had rage in his eyes and she knew he would bang her head against the wall if she protested too much and she would soon be a corpse lying in the bush with no one to avenge her death.
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She didn’t continue shouting because when she started shouting and screaming, he beat her up and she realized she would need some energy to survive this assault. So she kept quiet through it all, hearing herself sob in her mind, and waiting for it to end.
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She didn’t shout because she loved him and rationalized that his actions had to have been of frustration, or maybe his bad friends put him up to it, he would beg for forgiveness soon so what would be the point in shouting and ‘disgracing herself’, when this would all end well eventually. All is well that ends well. It will be well. It is well.
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She didn’t shout because every time another victim had shouted, she was blamed for being raped. Strangers and friends ripped her sexual life apart, and her name was tarnished forever.

Sometimes the victim is not even sure she is being raped. She is fourteen after all and she reads Mills and Boon and she ‘knows these things’. She feels certain she is in love with this thirty-year old family friend and he has promised to marry her as soon as she turns twenty. Her parents who think him the perfect mentor for their daughter have originally delivered her into his hands. She is going places and she needs a guide like him – successful, cerebral. And take her places he does. He takes her to his bedroom every evening and mentors her by stuffing his penis in her mouth and bathing her face with his sperm. He wipes her face with putrid socks. And then he cries.
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He cries when he tells her he loves her and cannot wait for her to grow up which is why he is not putting his penis in her vagina – he is doing the decent thing by putting it in her mouth instead so that he can save her virginity for their wedding night. He begs her not to tell her parents because they would never understand – who understands it when young people fall in love? She is in love with him, right? He knows her father is a strict one and it will cause a lot of trouble for her if he ever finds out.

She is confused. This is not how Mills and Boon describes it. Harlequin romances usually have sixteen year-old heroines but she is fourteen, and here she is, her mouth tasting like plastic, her breasts hurting from his attentions and her head spinning. She comes back for more mentoring because she cannot stay away without raising questions. What will she tell her parents if she shirks her daily mentoring classes? Plus, she thinks she is in love with him and her love is enduring. Is that not what love is? Patient and enduring.
Very soon he will stop behaving in this way that confuses her and hopefully six years will pass very quickly and they can be married.

Then he gets married six months later and stops mentoring her. She is heart broken. What could she have done wrong? Was she not good enough? Maybe he just could not wait anymore. It is all her fault for not being ready. Maybe she should have given him proper sex? Everything is her fault. Then she grows up and one day it hits her – “I was raped”. Over and over and over and again. But who really cares? After all “did he put it in your vagina?” and “why didn’t you bite him?”, “why didn’t you shout?”.

Nkiru Njoku

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