In the last two weeks, we’ve talked about Taking Action about the Merry-Go-Round that Gender Based Violence has been thrown into. While we consider the different ways of how to be a part of this change, it’s important we keep sight of the matter. *Jane, a 25-year-old, once had a friend she always trusted and a social ecosystem she thought would have come to her rescue, until all that changed. She shares her story.
Friends are amazing. To some of us, they are the humans who pretty much give us something to look forward to when life happens, yet to some of us, the line between friends and family is so thin it’s non-existent. Sometimes it doesn’t even matter how long you have known one to call them friend… Because just like any other relationship, friendships are intentional and even greater friendships will stand the test of time.
But what happens then when it gets awkward? When all the love and merry in a friendship becomes bespoke indifference…?
When all you want to do is never see or hear from a friend who has been so close to your heart? What happens when a friend crosses the line and sexually?
Well, I would like to share my story with you.
My friend: why don’t we call him Kevo, oh wait then again let’s not call him Kevo, let’s try Mark? Right, Mark, it is.
Well, Mark invited me and many more friends for a kesha at his place. It was not my first time to attend the kesha. I was never a religious partaker of such, only when I felt I needed to… And this time was one of those. It was a great experience catching up with people and having time to you know… Pour yourself out to God.
It was 3 a.m. and I was sure I could not stay up anymore. We all gathered together to eat and socialize but with time, the laughter reduced, most peeps succumbed to their sleep. I could have gone home but I did not: it was too early/late to be outside so I stayed awake… Mark and I had so much to talk about in the presence of not so many ears so we went into one of the available rooms.
“How’s the family doing? And School? When are you going back? And your boyfriend? How are you guys holding up?” And I answered and we talked and talked but time did not seem to be moving. It’s just 4 a.m.
I figured it was okay to leave now so we stood up for what was meant to be a goodbye hug and for some reason it was almost like we were glued to each other. He did not want to let go…Was I scared? No, I was not. This is my friend we have hugged before but this one has been the longest yet I hoped it was coming to an end.
Of course, our bodies are 75% water but blood my people it gets hot and water cannot quench it. If you know what I mean. I became dumbfounded 15 minutes into the hug…someone’s heart rate was increasing and mine? My heart was freezing by the minute trying to make sense of what is actually going on and then the lights went out.
I could feel him getting hard and I did not want to imagine the possibilities of what could happen right there and then we were still on our feet, standing. I asked him to let go that it’s okay now and I can go home and like magic, he lost his voice (or so I thought). I still can never understand why I wasn’t able to move or get myself out of the room. He laid me on the bed and still my body was frozen still.
Why he did it I can never explain but I knew for sure this is not what I wanted. I managed to say, “Please don’t go inside me please please please, just don’t go inside me !!!!” I remember saying it over and over and each time, feeling more confident than the last time, but at that point nothing I said made him stop.
After what seemed to be forever… He stopped and whispered sorry then stood up, fixed himself up and left me in the room. I laid still on the bed, and at 6am I finally got the courage to get out of the room. He never spoke to me again till I left with the rest of the guys and went home.
Immediately I got home I just slept and three hours later I woke up to messages from Mark which I could not reply to at that moment. You see, the worst part was my perspective of the kind of man that Mark was. Please note that he was(is) a Christian (a man of faith) so after this incident, I was struggling to see the man of faith I knew and the man I was acquainted with that night.
So I did what we all do when we are in denial, I went on with life as if nothing happened. The only thing I managed to do is open up to my friend that night and begged her to die with this secret.
I was scared of reporting or talking about the incident with Mark to other people for a number of reasons.
One being, He was my friend… And I spent so much time being in denial that he would do something like that. He was such a gentle spirit, a man I admired and trusted there was no way he would do such a thing. I trusted him for so many years and in my head, he was not capable of doing such a thing… I guess I chose to see the best of him and not that one night… No matter how wrong it was at the time I was not in the right mind space to seek justice for myself.
Secondly, I thought of the impact this kind of vibe would have on his ministry…regardless of the fact he had crossed the line… I chose to see his followers and how this story would harm the ministry… Yea I know,’ how can I be thinking of that?’ I also don’t understand why I thought of his ministry. I guess I did not have the strength to go against him and at the ministry and the drama that would come with all that.
That being said you are probably wondering why I felt the need to share now.
Well, because many people have been hurt by those closest to them and sometimes it’s hard to think that someone you love and respect and know so well can rape you or sexually abuse you. I want you to know that it’s nothing you did wrong. It was all his(her) fault… They made a choice to defile you and so you can also make the choice to seek justice. I wish I would have done something then…
I later found out that Mark had done this to other ladies, he made them trust him and when they were most vulnerable he would go for the kill. He used the very same ministry to protect himself and maintain his image. Most of the ladies who came forward to report Mark were shut down by the other ministry leaders and so he still remains free from taking responsibility for his actions.
Many people fall for this trap where the perpetrator manipulates them into trusting them then take advantage of them. Worst still, there many other rapists hiding behind religion and so they take advantage of their positions and people’s perception of them. Others are protected by the ministry heads in order to save the churches image… And it is wrong.
Yes, God asks us to forgive, but God asks us in Micah 6:8 to do more
“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
Finally, if you have been raped or sexually assaulted, I want you to know that you can heal… I CAN TESTIFY that 5 years later I have learnt true forgiveness and healing. It may seem like everything is hopeless and wasted away but for sure as long as you are here now, there is hope. You will be one day find peace.
Wondering where you can get free medical treatment and psychosocial support as a survivor of gender based violence. Visit: http://gvrc.or.ke/ or call
+254709667000 or +254719638006 (For emergency cases)
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