She struggled fruitlessly against the would-be rapist, who was way stronger that what she could resist.
The short pot bellied man, probably in his early 50’s, pushed her down against a medium sized mattress lying on the floor, while she pushed, kicked, scratched, bit and shouted untill she exhausted all her fighting ideas and efforts.
She became too weak to resist, the man overpowered her and hurriedly tore her blouse; as though lacking sufficient time to loosen the buttons. He looked no better than a saber toothed tiger hungrily pouncing on its prey as he lustfully had his way with her.
In no time, he had satisfied his carnal lust on the 17 year old teenage girl.
Rolls of hot tear drops protuded effortlessly from her eyes as she felt the warmthness of the blood flowing from her broken hymen.
She cursed her fate and bit her fingers in regret, her hope of keeping her virginity and dignity as a well trained and cultured African girl was just chattered against the rock of the inhumane sexual act called rape.
She remembered how she had always bragged to her friends about the resistance she pulls up against boys and men seducers alike and determination to preserve her virginity for the prince charming that she deserves. A dignifying decision her mother had praised and encouraged.
But now someone she calls “uncle” has just done the most animalistic and illegal act in a daylight.
She could not say which was more painful, the hardness of the manhood fiercely piercing her hymen or the betrayal of trust coming from a family friend, the man being her father’s close friend.
She had left the house very early in the morning to hawk Fufu (Nigerian swallow food made from cassava) to her customers before the sun’s heat rises to it full potential.
This she does every morning while she sells roasted corn in front of her father’s house in the evening time.
It was a regular routine for her to branch at her father’s friend house every time she hawks fufu across the streets, being a regular customer.
But this fateful morning, the man had cunningly requested to be served in his room, to which she innocently obliged as she was ignorant of his evil intentions.
“Only if my dad had allowed me to further my education rather than hawk round the street.” she painfully regretted.
Though she had been an exceptionally bright student while in secondary, being one of the topmost 5 in class out of 70; her dad who was a hardened traditionalist, believed that female children are not to be invested so much on, since they are finally going to end up in a man’s house as an housewife.
“Tufia!!, It is a fruitless waste of effort and resources” he would bellow, spitting out a mouthful saliva to show his feeling of disgust every time his wife appeals on the matter.
She remembers she would run into the room and cry her heart out in disappointment, silently praying for a miracle angel that will change her father’s mind.
Her mum would eventually come around to encourage and sheer her up, promising that she will not rest until she makes enough money to sponsor her to the higher institution even against her father’s wish.
Sadly, her mother could not fulfill her promise because she passed out after a brief illness.
It was just few months after her final paper in secondary school that the tiny ray of light hosting her hope of further education was outrightly smothered by her mother’s untimely death.
Nonetheless, she had resorted to hawking to be able to save some money, which might be one day sufficient to further her education into the University.
With intense sobs and whimpering, she slowly arose from the mattress and drew up her blood stained pant and skirt. Struggling to stop the flow of tears with her torn blouse.
Who would she relate her predicament to? Her dead mother or an uncaring father?
The raper wore his trousers and zipped up as fast as he had removed it. He suddenly became sober and regretful.
Seeing that he had made a mess, he quickly dipped his hand Into his left pocket and withdrew some some money which he handed over to her in a bid to appeal.
“To hell with your money!!” She bellowed as she lifted her swollen red eyes and planted a piercing look on her raper, with an expression that sends a message of pain, hatred and revenge.
This sudden outburst of rage from a teenage girl as young as his daughter threw him of balance and left him shaky with fear of the unknown.
He watched mouth agape and dumbfounded as she carried her merchandise and walked out of the house jamming the door behind her.
She filled her mind with new resolutions as she walked down the street.
Though she had been a victim of sexual harassment and denied her right to education, she refused to wallow in the murky waters of immorality neither the ugly mud of illiteracy.
The sad encounter fired up in her bones a greater zeal to further her education in order to bring her raper and every other out there to justice.
She swore on her breath to arm herself with the necessary education and skill to fight for the right of African girls like her.
SHOUT OUT TO THE AFRICAN GIRL
Dedicated to the late Elizabeth Ochanya Ogbanje