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Saturday, 8 July 2017

My rapist became my husband

By Yetunde Arebi

The Eid-Fitr holidays finally provided me the much long awaited opportunity to visit my friend’s friend. After reading a couple of stories on short lived marriages on this column, my friend had called me that she had a friend who was also interested in sharing her story with me.

We eventually made it last Monday. We had a great time as her story led to discussion on one of the most dastardly acts against womanhood, rape. Looking at Jude, from her collection of family pictures, one would never guess that the handsome, successful banker was capable of forcing himself on any woman. Yet, this is what his ex-wife claims he does for pleasure. So far, he has gotten away with his crime by careful selection of his victims, I’m told. As we left, all I could think of was, Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s song “One day go be one day”!! Yes, Monkey go go market and will not return. Nemesis will eventually catch up with him.
Ucharia’s story.

“My problem began after my service year when I met my husband. I was fortunate to get a job in a mortgage bank on the island with the help of my aunty. A few weeks after resumption at my duty post, a male colleague whom I’d earlier been introduced to as Jude, walked up to me. He told me how he’d spotted me walking down Adetola street earlier the previous night, adding that it was actually his second time of seeing me in that area. He asked me what I was doing so close to his house, I was quite surprised as I’d never ran into him before. I told him I lived there with my parents and we exchanged addresses. That day, he promised to drop me off after office hours. I was very happy as this would not only help save money but also save me from the rush for transportation. True to his words, he was at my table at the close of the day to take me home. He took me right to my doorstep after pointing out his street to me. We promised to meet at the junction for the journey to the office the next day. That was how our friendship began.

We would always meet and part ways at the junction.   Sometimes, when he was not going home straight, he would inform me stating whether his stop over would be brief or long so that I could find my way home. We became quite close and could discuss anything together,   from business, to family, to relationships. He was an extrovert, on the loud side. He kept quite a number of girlfriends and many of them soon became friendly with me. I would always tease him about them and even had a few favorites that I normally supported. But on the whole, he was not serious about anyone in particular. To him, women were just one of those things which made the world go round. Flying pussies he called them when he told   me about his escapades. Sometimes when the girls came looking for him at the office, and he was not around, they would always ask after me. Some of them would wait will, while others may leave messages. We were so close that some even thought we were dating. But the thought never crossed my mind. He was not my type.

One day, I ran into a friend’s brother who saw Jude and I together. He asked what I was doing with ‘jaw breaker’’, the nick name he was called while in secondary school. He asked if I really knew him and I said yes, he was my friend and a nice guy too. When I asked why, he said there was nothing, but he was only wondering what a girl like me was doing with Jude. I never suspected that he had something else entirely on his mind, until it happened to me. About five months after we became friends, I fell victim of Jude’s madness. One day, while on the way home, he told me he had to stop at a cousin’s place to deliver a message. It would be very brief and we would go straight home; if the guy was not around, he would drop a note for him.

The cousin he said lived somewhere in Shomolu area. I didn’t have to think about it before I agreed. On arriving there, his cousin was at home and Jude was happy. I had hoped that we would not meet his cousin so we could just drop the note and leave immediately. He offered us some drinks, and I grabbed a magazine. Soon Jude and his cousin excused themselves to another room to discuss.

They stepped out a few minutes later only for the cousin to excuse Jude and I that he wanted to get something at a shop down the street and he would not take long. I never suspected anything was amiss as I nodded and continued with the magazine.

A few minutes later, Jude walked over and sat on the arm of my seat. He asked what it was I was reading that got me so interested. I began narrating the story to him and suddenly, he ran his hand through my hair. I was shocked. He’d never touched me in that manner before. Something told me there was trouble. I told him I didn’t like it as he could roughen my hair style, and I didn’t want any rough play. He gave a short laughter with a funny undertone and I was scared of him. I summoned up courage feigning anger and asked that we go home. Then he held my hand with a firm grip and when I looked into his face it was a different Jude before me; his countenance has changed, and his eyes were fiercely red like someone that was possessed. He pinned me to the chair and forced a kiss on my lips. I felt assaulted and insulted by that action. I gave him a stinging slap across his face asking that he should get a grip of his senses. Rather than make him sober, it only made him wilder.   Jude succeeded in raping me that evening. His cousin did not show up all through the ordeal and even before we left the flat. Immediately he was through with me, he muttered, “s- – t, s- – t, what have I done? You must really forgive me, I didn’t know what came over me. This is the work of Satan. Please forgive me”. I was weeping profusely. I felt dirty and used. It was as if the whole world would know what happened to me once I stepped out. I couldn’t fight him anymore as I had expended all my energy already. I just asked that he took me home.

All the way he kept on calling my name and pleading with me for forgiveness but I didn’t utter a word. Our friendship was finished. But how could I face him at the office the next day? That night, I scrubbed my body so hard I thought it could erase what had happened, but I was wrong. I didn’t follow him the following day and equally ignored him at the office too. At closing time, he came to call me, but I didn’t answer. From that day, I stopped talking to him, people started asking questions, even at home, but I couldn’t bring myself to tell anyone what had happened. Going to the office was a problem initially but I soon adjusted and summoned up courage as there was nothing I could do about a transfer then. A few weeks after the incident my friend’s brother who knew Jude way back in secondary school told his sister that he was sure Jude must have raped me.

He was fond of doing it, he said and has a list of cases on his belt. I was eventually forced to confirm their fears after listening to the stories of Jude’s escapades with different girls. I swore never to have anything to do with him anymore. But Jude was persistent, he even confided in our boss and asked him to beg me and that he was in love with me and wished to marry me. But after the pleading from various quarters, eight months after the incident, I had to forgive him and we began dating seriously.

The courtship was brief as I got pregnant shortly after and we had to fix a wedding date.   Subsequently I got a transfer from our branch and settled down to married life. Jude was caring, more so, while I was carrying our daughter. He has not changed till now too.

But the main problem is that Jude is not settled. And I doubt he will ever settle down to be a responsible man nor change from his old ways. When I think about his case, I am sometimes tempted to agree with him that he has a spiritual problem and may be suffering from a curse. He has continued to pick up unsuspecting women and rape them. Many of them are well known to him as he befriends them. He once told me that he finds it difficult to accept rejection from a girl. Marriage did not do anything to help him to change.

A couple of months after our first wedding anniversary, I overheard a discussion in the ladies room at the office that burst my bubble forever. My husband had raped another colleague at his office. Jude had courted the girl in the same manner he did to me, only to lure her to some place and raped her. Colleagues just noticed that he and the girl were no longer friendly and on enquiry she confessed to one of her friends what had happened.

They wanted her to press charges but she refused, saying it would only make her feel worse. The girls expressed pity for me as one briefed the other of how Jude had raped me too. I felt sick from the pit of my stomach with shame and anger. When I confronted him, he did not deny but begged for forgiveness. From that point, I knew my marriage was over. Though we are now divorced, we are still friends because of our child. He is a good father and friend and I don’t know what comes over him. No one is going to catch him, he is too polished for that”.

Mmmm! Do have a wonderful weekend!!

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