It was a family meeting and I was in the middle of the discussion; simply put, the meeting was about me and all the attention my twitter rant was bringing into the family. Before I continue, I would like to say that things have escalated past the last time I told you about my twitter situation and I had to come clean to my family especially my mother because I was scared that my name was going to end up in the local or national news sooner or later.
I told them everything starting from when the hotel owner, Mr Adesiji kissed me without my permission and how I slapped him. My father and brother were furious; all they wanted to do was go and beat up the Adesiji man. Thank God for my mother, she was able to calm them down and so the family meeting begun.
I was in the middle of the entire discussion and trust my typical Nigerian parents, I hardly got a word in. the meeting was on how to deal with the trending situation on twitter and how to handle the Ministry of Women Affairs.
My mother wanted us to take the proposed meeting with the Ministry of Women Affairs; while my brother wanted us to confront Mr. Adesiji and my father said nothing because all he wanted to do was to go and blow Adesiji. So, we decided to follow my mother’s suggestion.
The next day my mother and I went to the Ministry of Women Affairs, we were immediately ushered into the office of the secretary to the minister. The secretary was a very haughty woman; who was ironical very nice to my mum and me. She gave me a form to fill and half way through filling the form I realized it was a complaint form. Like a form women fill when they want to report someone who had done them wrong to the ministry
“I am not here to report” I said to my mother who watched me carefully
“Asari, what are you afraid of? That a man who took advantage of his power and violated you will face the consequences of his actions?”
Her question hit me. Really? What was I afraid of? Attention? I love attention What else? Indeed, my mother was right; I was scared that he was going to face the music and I was going to be the person who changed the course of his life. “What will people say or think?” the thought of every Nigerian when big decisions are about to be made. And my mother still looking at me intently asked again.
“If you care about what people say or think about you, you will never do anything in this life” nawa o, this woman was just bursting my head with words; I knew she could read my mind so I stood up and went to fill the form on the counter close to the exit. I made it look as if I needed the surface to write properly but the truth was that I didn’t want to hear the truth.
After filling the form, I gave it to the secretary “please have a seat, you will see the minister shortly” she said her eyes on the work she was doing on her desk
“Ma, I thought that I was to fill the form and go?” I asked, my heart pounding at the mention of the minister.
“No, the minister wants to see you herself and talk about what happened to you” in that moment I felt my legs trying to run out of the office without my permission but I stayed strong.
If the minister met me and decided to take the case up; it meant that the worse could happen and that man could go to jail for sexual assault. He could go to jail for sexually assaulting me and suddenly it dawned on me. This is what a rape victim feels when they want to report their case to authorities, only a million times worse.
I used to be one of those people who could not understand why most of the victims of sexual abuse never wanted to report to the authorities. But sitting in the seat of a victim of what one will say is a small crime; I can feel all the emotions that comes with it, the feeling of shame, the fear of being judged, the fear of someone going to jail because of me, fear of losing my self-identity to this and constantly being defined by this incident
Now I know better than to judge sexual assault victims for not reporting their misfortune. Don’t judge until you know and you can only know by experience.